Sunday, 19 March 2017 18:33

Singapore team Aviato wins Asia hackathon


Team Aviato from Singapore was on Sunday adjudged winner of the AirVolution 2017 hackathon organised by the low-cost airline AirAsia in Kuala Lumpur on the weekend.

The task set for the 20 teams that participated was to profile AirAsia fans based on their digital social footprints to improve customer experience.

The Singapore team comprised Durwin Ho, the chief executive of Driven; Puay Beng Hong Albert, co-founder of Learnly; John Goh, software developer at Driven; Choo Yan Sheng Jason, software developer at MindFi; and Kevin Kwa, founder of Stylo Industries.

Ho gave a slick presentation to provide a solution to the problem at hand, one that caught the attention of the 10-strong contingent of judges.

He told the media after the result was announced that it was somewhat easy for his team to work together as this was their second hackathon. However, when asked, he said that they did have squabbles over technical matters all the time.

team aviato big

Winners all: (from right) Durwin Ho, John Goh, Puay Beng Hong Albert, Kevin Kwa and Choo Yan Sheng Jason.

Ho said the team divided up the work, with the business strategy to solve the problem being his job; Albert and Kwa looked after the user interface, while Jason and Kwa did the coding, with Goh making a contribution towards the code as well.

Asked whether there would be any issues around IP in the event that AirAsia asked the team to develop what they had presented as an actual solution for use, Ho said there would be no problem, as this was done outside their working hours.

He was satisfied with the facilities provided for the hackathon, which was held in the AirAsia office close to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. "There are times when you want to have a small nap just to refresh yourself, there are times when you want to eat, or to have a drink," he said. "And it was all there for us."


The 13 women developers who participated in AirVolution 2017.

AirAsia chief data officer Nikunj Shanti said the competition had been close with not too many points separating the winners from those who had finished in the lower ranks. Forty points were allocated for each of five categories like UI/UX, usage of APIs, and so on.

He expressed satisfaction with the standard of the solutions presented and said the competition would be back again, though the format could well change.

Asked why there was no team from China participating, Shanti said the second Singapore team, named Raven, was made up of Chinese nationals who were all living in Singapore.

The actual hackathon ran for 18 hours from 2.30pm Malaysian time on Saturday (5.30pm AEDT Saturday) and finished at 8.30am on Sunday. Beginning at 9am, the 20 teams were given six minutes each to present what they had created, with two minutes being set aside for the judges to ask questions.

A total of 97 developers took part, with one team from India, Codeminators, having only two members as the other three had pulled out at the last minute. A total of 13 women participated.

The writer attended the hackathon as a guest of AirAsia.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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