When Kaltura, the company whose open-source video platform is used by everyone from the World Bank to Columbia Business School to HBO, asked me to be a judge for last week's Video Experience Hackathon, I was quick to say yes. With $50,000 in prize money, it was a sure bet to draw people with some cool ideas. So last Wednesday, on the final day of the annual Kaltura Connect conference in New York City, I sat down with IBM cloud services CTO Mac Devine, Sherpa Digital Media's Ben Chodor, and Zohar Babin of Kaltura to take a look.
The hackathon had taken place over a 43-hour period the previous weekend. By the time we got there, the 12 teams that submitted working applications had been narrowed down to four finalists. We were asked to judge them on four criteria: innovation and creativity (how original is the idea? does it offer a real solution in the market?), polish (does it feel hacked together, or is it well thought out?), design and user experience, and use of software tools provided by the sponsors—Kaltura, cloud hosting company Rackspace, and automated voice transcription outfit VoiceBase.
The point of something like this—and the reason Kaltura was willing to put up $50,000 in prize money, with Rackspace offering another $25,000 in hosting credits—is not just to see what people can do under pressure but what ideas they have. A lot, apparently. In the space of half an hour, we were presented with four Web and/or mobile apps that leveraged everything from facial recognition to head-tracking to augmented reality to 360-degree video—sometimes all in the same program. It was not an easy choice.
Send in the drones: Kaltura in the Clouds, at the Kaltura Video Experience Hackathon.