23. November 2016

May the hacking begin!

After a day in the post-hack-delirium, normality reigns in the Kauz office once more. Now, we would like to pass in review our exciting weekend at the hackathon #insurhack in Cologne.

The sporty backdrop, steeped in history, of the RheinEnergie stadium (“Usually Modeste and Hector shower here!”) and the massive amount of highly motivated participants impressed us. After a half hour greeting, inter alia, with the mayor Henriette Reker on the Friday evening, the main event was about to start: May the hacking begin!

Excited and full of expectations we were lead to a fantastic work area: flooded with light and equipped with flip charts and bulletin boards. Moreover, every corner of the room offered a snack and beverage bar. Exactly what you need for your creative proccess. We were allowed to start immediately, and so we did more than willingly.

Our Project: An Insurance Bot

With us we brought a recently developed insurance module that allowed us to be technically and linguistically ready to process insurance terms and premium calculations. Our concept for the weekend was conceived on the preceding Friday: an insurance chatbot with an extensive set of skills, such as insurance consulting and conclusion, as well as the acceptance of damage claims. This would prove as a big undertaking that needed to be completed within two days. Already, the following Saturday caused our team members a lot of stress, as our system proved to be more difficult to connect to our newly and yet unfinished API (application programming interface) than we had imagined. Still, our IT experts programmed their way out of that seeming misery thanks to an intense consumption of energy drinks and ginger bread! Despite the lack of sleep and physical excercice, the next 24 hours passed by quickly. Every team worked hard on their innovative ideas and hoped to implement their ideas into a presentation.

The Hackathon’s Finish Line

The Sunday after at 1 pm would mark the end of our development time. A huge screen displayed a countdown until the beginning of our pitch presentations. Finally, two giant zeros adorned those screens. Hectically and marked by the restless weekend, some people punched in the last lines of code or practiced their presentations between automatic coffee machine and foosball tables.

2:22 pm, it was our turn. With impressive acting performances, two of our colleagues entered the stage and entertained the audience with a relatively prosaic insured event. The enthusiastic reactions of the audience was proof to us that our idea and execution was very well received.

After another two hours full of interesting concepts, the award ceremony was imminent. We were hopeful til the very end, alas it was not meant to be. At least three other concepts impressed the jury more than our charming insurance assistant.

Yet, surely we did not completely fail. Our strong team spirit and the impressive results, that we managed to achieve in this short amount of time, have made us very proud. The hackathon gave us the courage to master major projects such as this.

There are also bots that hack. More on faker bots


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