Lextech’s Apple Watch hackathon delivers

February 3, 2015

  • Jessica Smith

Lextech hackathon focused on Apple Watch for enterprise

Recently dozens of Lextech team members gathered for our 2015 winter hackathon. The focus this time around was Apple Watch enterprise apps, an iOS super challenge, considering that the full SDK hadn’t been released, and we only just found out the Apple Watch release date. The hackathon winners’ prize? Naturally, Apple Watches for each team member.

It was an ambitious charge, and the seven teams delivered some incredible pitches. Some pitches were so outstanding that we’re working on developing them further, which means we’re keeping them under the hood for now. Suffice it to say that grocery stores, field services, manufacturing companies, and anyone interested in energy savings should keep an eye out for marvelous app concepts in the very near future.

Lextech Apple Watch Hackathon

Lessons from the Apple Watch hackathon winners

When we spoke with the winning team, Team Terminus (our web team), they shared some practical advice, advice that was largely instinct since for three out of four team members it was their first hackathon. Lessons from the winners:

  • Organize ahead of time – Form your team a couple weeks before the event and brainstorm ideas
  • Assign roles – Team Terminus had a team captain and each member had specific roles. Although roles, delegation, and workflow depend on team member background experience, having a general distribution of labor will clear up confusion about who’s doing what and keep everything on track.
  • Keep it simple – we know the best apps are intuitive, well thought out and designed, so simplicity is the hallmark of the best apps, especially hackathon apps, which are created in a very short amount of time.
  • Improvise & focus on what you can do – With a five team member limit, it’s difficult to build a team with every tech and business development skill set. Terminus team member Sarah explained how they overcame a skill set challenge,

“To overcome this learning curve [of not being native iOS developers] we leveraged the idea of hybrid apps. Using Cordova, we were able to develop a native app that communicated with the Apple Watch app but with languages we were familiar with as a web team. Developing the native app was just as important to us as the Apple Watch app.”

  • Practice, practice, practice – One of the biggest challenges of a hackathon is the lack of time, especially true of our 12 hour event. Terminus made use of every moment and noted that they made time to practice their presentation…right up until the last second!

We had a good time. Congrats to team Terminus! We can’t wait to not only see your Apple Watches, but your apps!

Have you participated in a hackathon before? What advice would you give? What’s the best pitch you’ve seen at a hackathon before?