Over the weekend, we held our fourth Comcast NBCUniversal Hackathon – and the first for our NBCUniversal International businesses. As with all hackathons, we focus on specific themes for our businesses; and in London the theme was “The Future of Content Creation, Distribution and Monetization in a Connected World.” The hackathon took place at The Impact Hub Westminster on June 6th and 7th.
The Grand Prize winner was "Golden Ticket," a social, frictionless, and personalized experience created to help users gift digital content. True to hackathon tradition, the “Golden Ticket” team met for the first time at the hackathon, where they brought together complimentary expertise of software development, product design, and entrepreneurship to build and successfully present the winning idea. The team included Marcel Goga, Glen Cooper, Dean Bryan, Piotr Klarowski, and Peter Mechelsen (pictured above); they took home £8500 cash and more in prizes – including an authentic robot hand prototype from Sci-fi thriller, "Ex Machina." All in all, the teams competed for up to £10,000 in cash and prizes, as well as the opportunity to pitch their ideas to our NBCUniversal Media Labs.
Thirty-one prototypes were built over 24 hours, including three prototypes by the Media Labs team, who not only helped the participants, but also “hacked” along — all with an average of 1.5 hours of sleep. Media Labs team member Teddy Ortega holds the distinct honor of non-stop coding without any sleep at the past three hackathons — London, Orlando, and Los Angeles.
Engaging and connecting with London's thriving technology ecosystem to help us innovate for our global partners is essential for our global media and technology company. The enthusiasm around leveraging our content in conjunction with our Gold Sponsor Dailymotion, as well as technology partners including IBM Watson, Oculus, and Rovi was outstanding and we look forward to incubating several of the concepts developed.
Frictionless social transactions that allow for more personal experiences was a winning trend at this global competition. In today's rapidly changing world, the growth and adoption of a service are dependent on simple concepts that help us stay connected to our social circles. The 25 teams – with 120 participants – leveraged this concept as they employed technologies from companies mentioned above, as well as Leap Motion, Spreadfast, Pixoneye, FindAnyFilm.com, Unity, WIREWAX, Stringwire, Apigee, and Chirp.
Full list of London Hackathon winners include:
• Grand Prize/"Gifting Digital Content" Challenge Winner: "Golden Ticket"
"Golden Ticket" encourages electronic gift purchases by allowing users to wrap digital content in a personalized message.
• NBCUniversal International Digital Distribution "Social Transactional & Impulse Purchase" Challenge Winner: "@suggest_movies”
“@suggest_movies” leverages Twitter to allow for frictionless social media recommendations and purchases.
• NBCUniversal International Digital Distribution "Driving Social Interaction Within A Subscription Service" Challenge Winner: "Lounge"
“Lounge” allows subscribers to interact, leveraging live event and social functions, while watching movies with friends.
• Universal Pictures "Next Generation Advertising" Challenge Winner: "DiscoVR"
"DiscoVR" leverages Oculus to allow users to consume content within a virtual marketplace.
Top business leaders from NBCUniversal International joined me to help judge the best ideas. They included:
• Rob Bell, EVP International New Media, NBCUniversal International
• Brandon Di Massa, VP International EST Development, NBCUniversal International
• Johnny Fewings, Strategic Development, NBCUniversal International
• Andrew Jordan, SVP International Operations & Technology, NBCUniversal
• Pedro Barros, Business Development Director, NBCUniversal International
Also, Kathryn Parsons, CEO & Co-Founder, Decoded from London joined us as an external judge to lend her perspective, helping us zero in on the best ideas.
This fourth Comcast NBCUniversal Hackathon comes on the heels of our media and technology company’s competitions in Orlando, Los Angeles, and the inaugural competition in New York. The successful events resulted in the hiring of developers and product concept incubations in the NBCUniversal Media Labs organization.
Media Labs is an internal incubator and accelerator dedicated to technology led innovations across our business. Our team works very closely with academic research groups,
start-up companies, and the global venture capital community to accelerate technology innovations and to help develop new business opportunities for the company. Media Labs is staffed with top technology thought leaders and hands-on implementors of innovative ideas.
Additional information on the hackathon can be found at http://nbcumedialabs.com/hackathon/.
Looking forward to continuing our Hackathon journey to help accelerate innovations across our businesses.