The Accedo Hackathon

By Niklas Björkén, Director of Innovation, Accedo

For a tech company like Accedo, it is pretty important that we keep innovating. Our innovation and engineering teams are constantly looking for new ways to engage customers and improve user experiences. However, we realised something: We are all video consumers and some of the best ideas come from outside of those teams. That was why the innovation and engineering teams here at Accedo got together and hosted a hackathon in our Madrid office.

One thing that was important for this hackathon is it was open to any employee from the Europe and Latam team. Having a mixture of skills would make for an interesting range of ideas and that was something I was especially excited about. The long day (9am – 8pm) was fuelled by a flow of refreshments but also by a buzz in the room as the teams worked together to come up with the next big idea.

We gave the teams the remit that they could work on anything they wanted, guided only by the requirement to show off a demo at the end of the day and to target four different judging criteria that would be used by a panel of judges to select a winner. These criteria were:

Innovation – How creative is the solution? Does it represent out-of-the-box thinking?

Technical achievement – What technological problems had to be overcome to create this product?

Application– What kind of an impact will the solution make?

Relevancy – How relevant is the solution to Accedo’s current or potential future business?

After a hard day of work, all the teams finished in time and showed off four very different ideas:

1.   A video player innovation that offers information about which actors or actresses are on-screen at any given moment, as well as information about which song is currently playing in the video. The demo was built for Android TV using Google Vision AI and Audd.io.

2. An audience response measurement innovation capable of profiling a viewing audience based on demographic and emotions. The demo uses the webcam to detect the user’s current facial expression, which can then be used to determine how the user is feeling about a certain scene in a movie. The demo was built for YouTube’s HTML5 player using Webcamjs, AWS Rekognition, IndexedDB, Chartjs and Accedo One for analytics reporting.

3.    An Amazon Alexa integration allowing a multiplayer voice-controlled quiz to take place across different devices. The quiz was implemented to demonstrate that a multi-device setup controlled by Alexa was possible, thus enabling various video-related use cases as well, like controlling a video player for example. The demo was built using Accedo One, Alexa Skills, React, ExpressJS, AWS hosting and Namecheap DNS.

4.    A social VOD extension allowing a video player to also record, share and play crowdsourced reaction videos. An example use case could be a soccer game where fans of the sport can post their own short video reactions to big events in the game without leaving the app. Other viewers can then see those reactions alongside the match, providing a powerful social component to a VOD sporting event.

All the ideas have merit and were really thought out but there has to be a winner, and, on this occasion, it was the automatic actor & music lookup service, with a polished demo that could already appeal to customers. The Amazon Alexa integration did get a prize for best presentation, which was humorous and even co-hosted by Alexa herself!

All-in-all it was a great day with everyone putting in a great deal of effort while having lots of fun and definitely something I’m keen to repeat in other offices around the globe.

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