TAD Hack is a yearly hackathon about programmable telecommunications. I have, since, 2012 been involved in startups and companies where telecoms played a pivotal role. Either in the form of WebRTC, or "proper" trunk lines. It is this skill set which has given me a stage at TAD Summit, and WebRTC conferences in Paris, London, and beyond!

So, when I discovered there was a hackathon to explore new telecom technology, and build something fun and interesting I jumped at the chance! Or, more precisely, I jumped on a plane to Lisbon to particate... and then again a year later to Berlin... and so on. To date I have participated in 4 hackathons and won on all 4 occassions.

This, then, is a short breakdown of the hacks I have created:

  • 14 total hacks
  • 12 prize-winning hacks
  • 11 different prizes
  • 8 hacks winning global prizes
(Sometimes the prize was shared with another team... sometimes the prize was shared with another of my hacks!)

I also wrote a long form blog of the TADHack 2021 event.

NOTE: All presentations were planned, written, and created in roughly half an hour before giving them. So please excuse the rough and un-planned feel of them; that is the norm for a hackathon.


In brief...

2021 : Wizard Chess, Podcast Annotator, and Colloquia11y

2020 : Spotify On Hold and One Stop Shop

2019 : Who Calls Me?, Simwood Node Library, and Fighting Fantasy

2017 : Apifonica Node.js and Rome - Reach Me Anywhere

2016 : Vodka and Backup Call

2015 : Note to Selves


2021 - Remote

For full details see the TADHack blog of 2021 winners

Wizard Chess

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Play chess with your voice, making it accessible for those with visual impairments or less able motor skills. The code is a basic Node app, running on a server which starts by making a Telnyx call to the conference room, which symbl.ai then joins. From there, anything said into the phone is processed by symbl.ai and passed via websockets to the web page. Computer moves are relayed by voice in the opposite direction to only the human player. (In earlier drafts the voice spoke to everyone, including symbl.ai, but since the moves the computer spoke were invalid for the human, nothing bad happened!)

This has the advantage over the browser's in-built speech recognition code, since the algebraic notation is parsed more intelligently here. (Only C4 confused it, as it was called SeaFood!)

We had intended to use sentiment analysis to vary the game AI, depending on how the player responded with their words, but we ran out of time.

Winner: London prize

Winner: Global prize


Podcast Annotator

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Hands-free note-taking while listening to a podcast stream.

You first start a podcast from the webpage, which initiates a call to your phone. (But it could also be triggered by DTMF tones.) At this point you can listen to the podcast, and say things like "Good point" and "must look that up". These phrases are transcribed and added to a timeline for later review. Once the podcast ends, this review is sent via SMS.

This needs tender care, because the podcast audio can bleed into the microphone, causing the podcast itself to be transcribed instead of your annotations.Luckily, we found a way of sending the speech to only the necessary participants.

Winner: Global prize

Colloquia11y

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Accessible conferencing solution (using TTS and STT)

It makes the conference available to all by allowing some users to interact via text message (both to "hear" the chat, and respond) while others get the audio experience.

One major piece of work was connecting a UK Telnyx number, with the symbl.ai conference, since only US numbers are currently supported. We solved this by buying two numbers, and connecting both to the same conference. (This means, as UK folk, we're only paying for a UK phone bill!)

We can improve the text component by including translations for specific participants, or expanding acronyms.

Winner: Global prize


2020 - Remote

For full details see the TADHack blog of 2020 winners

Spotify On Hold

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

It plays customised hold music, as determined by the user's phone number. Our Avaya voice number pretends to be a supplier call centre. But instead of supplying a static XML with 'bland music.mp3', we have a dynamic endpoint that cross references the users phone number and their Spotify account, to dynamically provide their own music. This makes them less frustrated about needing to wait. Once an agent is available we use the API to interrupt the call, and dial the agent directly.

Runner-up: London prize


One Stop Shop

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Everyone has a phone, but not everyone has the same app or cumbersome web page login. So, by combining Avaya and DialogFlow, we can use speech recognition to aggregate the shopping requirements from multiple people in the same house. Then, when the designated shopper leaves the house, they tap the appropriate NFC tag by the door which immediately reminds them (via voice) to take their mask, and sends SMS to everyone else that the shopping trip has begun. This outgoing communication is handled by Simwood. Everyone then has time to add new items, before the shopper arrives at the shop and they receive the complete shopping list via SMS.


2019 - London

For full details see the TADHack blog of 2019 winners

Who Calls Me?

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Inbound call reputation scoring and steering. It looks at the number, and dynamically reprograms the call routing to either busy, or the correct number.

WINNER: Simwood global prize


Simwood Node Library

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Wrapping the Simwood API in a node Library. This was used in around 10 hacks from around the world, and so proved its real-world value within the first day!

WINNER: Simwood London prize


Fighting Fantasy

by

Steven Goodwin

Interactive fiction by SMS. I re-built a 'Fighting Fantasy' book using an SMS API, allowing people to read and play in an original and unique manner.

WINNER: Telesign global prize


2017 - London

For full details see the TADHack blog of 2017 winners

Apifonica Node.js

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

A node library to make accessing APIfonica easy. This was used in our second entry, Rome.

WINNER: Apifonica global prize


Rome - Reach Me Anywhere

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

A way of contacting someone, in a variety of ways, depending on the time of day. This connected also to Slack, email, and SMS.

WINNER: Apifonica global prize


2016 - Berlin

I wrote a full report on my time at the Berlin TADHack.

For full details see the TADHack blog of 2016 winners

Vodka

by

Steven Goodwin

Overcome the hassle of testing Tropo with a local debugging tool.

WINNER: Berlin prize


Backup Call

by

Steven Goodwin, Lily Madar

Access your emergency contacts from any phone. A cloud-based IVR, with connections into Google calendar, and other online services.

WINNER: Cisco Spark / Tropo Global prize


2015 - Lisbon

For full details see the TADHack blog of 2015 winners

Note to Selves

by

Steven Goodwin, Rianne Goijarts

A WebRTC based to do list, where you could phone in your 'todo' item, and the sevice would remember it, along with your geo-location, for later reference.

WINNER: Acision prize

WINNER: ApiDaze prize