MEF is official partner of TADHack, the annual global telecoms app developer hackathon. This year the Tadhack team is bringing mini events to London in April and Chicago in October. Here TADHack founder and Telecoms industry veteran, Alan Quayle, gives us the lowdown on the London hackathon.
What’s TADHack WebRTC London all about?
TADHack (Telecom Application Developer Hackathon) is focused on developers, technology and creativity; it’s much more than simply providing a venue to hack. Its about quality networking and lots of promotion for those involved. We have a dream team of mentors for TADHack WebRTC London including Tim Panton, Sam Dutton of Google, Matthew Hodgson of Matrix.org, James Body of Truphone, Philippe Sultan of Apidaze, and Jean Deruelle of Telestax. It is a great opportunity to spend quality time with WebRTC practitioners and thought-leaders.
To win one of the seven $1k sponsor’s prizes developers need to build on their platforms or simply show WebRTC solving a problem that users would be happy to use, as explained by Tim Panton. All hacks are recorded and promoted on the TADHack YouTube channel, some of the videos from last year have been viewed over 1500 times, and we’ll write weblogs on any developer who submits a hack to help promote them and their business.
Developers will also get access to the Global WebRTC Summit, which I am chairing. The TADHack-mini London winners and runners up will be able to pitch at the Global WebRTC Summit for greater exposure and hopefully a deal to two. The thinking behind all this promotion is simple: if we can help developers be more successful by using telecom capabilities it helps the whole ecosystem. For example, ipcortex, winners of the Google TADHack prize last year, are involved again as our promotion helped grow their business. We’re having a real impact helping developers.
TADHack is unique as it enables developers and the industry to compare the different platforms side-by-side. The sponsors of TADHack WebRTC London are Apidaze, Google, Kandy.io, Matrix.org, Telestax, Truphone, and University College London. They are prepared to put their money where their mouth is, no slideware, no glib marketing phrases on “enabling service innovation.” They understand the importance of working together to build this ecosystem, and they do not hide behind private hackathons, they demonstrate what they claim is real by developers creating cool stuff with them in an open event.
Also we accept remote entries, as last year, so you do not need to be physically in London to take part. So register today!
Why are you doing it?
Jackson from informa, who runs the Global WebRTC Summit, asked me; and I simply haven’t learned to ‘just say no’. Well, it’s more complex than that. As I described in my summary of TADHack last year, WebRTC is an important ‘gateway technology’ to broader telecom capabilities. Also IIT RTC ran TADHack Chicago in June, and loved it so much they wanted to do a hackathon associated with their RTC Conference last year. Unfortunately there was not enough time as we were organizing a TADMeetup in Singapore, in a parallel with another Informa event. A big thanks to Colin Miles and Wish Ronquillo from MoMo Singapore for making the Singapore TADMeetup such a success. So after that, when Jackson asked it just made sense as we were already planning a TADHack-mini in Chicago for October. As I said, it’s a bit complex.
The simple fact driving TADHack is bringing people together to learn, share, code and create is great fun for everyone involved. I’m really looking forward to the conversations and insights shared at the event. Its important to note that WebRTC isn’t a ratified standardized yet, and even when it is there is much work to be done. Its still early days, and we should not kid ourselves that real-time communications is easy. There is much learning to be done by everyone in the ecosystem, and the best way to learn is by doing with the people building the platforms, this is what TADHack uniquely provides.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Raising cash. It’s been tough, even given the amazing success delivered last year. Some potential sponsors simply want to run their private events, some are simply happy to spend vast sums of money on MWC, and others do not understand why marketing dollars should be used to build an ecosystem – a raising tide raises all boats. If you agree with what we’re trying to do with TADHack, we need your support, follow and retweet @TADHack, ask your marketing teams why they are not supporting TADS, let your contact network and communities know about TADHack, and get involved to help promote how adding telecom capabilities to your apps, services and business processes is cool. And as the owners of Uber and Airbnb have shown in the latest Forbes Rich list it can make you a billionaire!
Why do you use the term Telecom Application Developer, does any developer want to be associated with Telecoms these days?
I get asked that a lot. Telecommunications is so much more than the regulated telecom operators. Skype led the way and so many more have followed creating multi-billion dollar businesses. For example, what Uber and Airbnb have done for their businesses using telecommunications to remove human latency is relevant for all applications, services and business processes. We’re reclaiming the word ‘telecommunications’ back, it is an exciting time to be involved in telecommunications as its become democratized by the Internet, all developers and entrepreneurs should be aware of the potential it offers.
What are you looking forward to at TADHack WebRTC London?
Three things: creativity, networking, and insights. The ideas pitched never cease to amaze me; creativity is not limited to the Bay Area, its everywhere. Networking is one of the most important aspects of the event. We have mentors at the event who will be helping developers create amazing hacks, and are targets for networking. Insights come from sharing with people of diverse background and interests. We’re bringing people from many industries, students, as well as comms experts together. This diversity enables unique insights that will create new business opportunities.
Please register for TADHack WebRTC London, or for the Global TADHack in June. I guarantee you’ll learn, share, code and create; plus have lots of fun and make new friends through being involved.