Working remote has some unconventional consequences. A big one being its very common to have never met in person the people you have worked side by side with. Its a strange sensation to recognize a voice you’ve heard almost daily but not be able to apply a face. It turns out that many people don’t look at all like what you have imagined them to be.
To have some fun and meet our coworkers, our company hosted its first “colocation week” in Dallas, TX. After a 24 hour meet and greet, we all sat down on our new teams and sat together at the same table for the first time. It was a blast! Aside from a few major issues (hotel Internet, and Dallas being a dry county come to mind!), we did a lot of good.
This evening marked the end of our a 30-hour hackathon to compete for the grand prize of taking home a Google Glass dev kit.
It was hard work, with us stopping the night before at 2am, only to get a few hours sleep and jump right back into coding. Our team pitched the idea of brick and mortar stores integrating iBeacons (Bluetooth LE) devices to target proximity based offers and suggestions. The resulting app had some fun mechanics, that I’d love to see make it into stores:
- Personalization and announcement when you walk into the store with your device
- Assistance in locating goods at an aisle level
- Scan as you go shopping
- Integration with online payments to avoid checkout lines
There were strong tie-ins for the business side as well, with foot traffic analysis and hyper relevant offer targeting. The screen show is the Android activity returned as a user enters the geofencing of the first shop’s aisle.
It was tough to jump back into Android development after a few years, but it came back. Java is the language that just won’t die.
We had an awesome team, and its wonderful to work for a company where everyone is as motivated as you to deliver something kickass. Hopefully we will get a chance to work with some of these technologies.