ISPIRT Foundation, responsible for building public digital infrastructure in India and Sahamati Foundation, the non-profit organization who evangelized the nascent Account Aggregator (AA) ecosystem, organised the first-ever AA Hackathon in India. This hackathon was intended to drive awareness of RBI’s new legal entity Account Aggregator (AA) framework, a set of protocols designed to give individuals and businesses greater control over their data.
The 4-week long hackathon, conducted entirely on Airmeet, brought thousands of participants and 600 hackers together to learn, build solutions and drive the success of this new paradigm for data governance in India.
Throughout the hackathon, there were periodic masterclasses and office hours sessions. In these masterclasses, experts from the AA industry presented on topics such as AA technical architecture, security, UI design, and successful use cases. There were some office hours sessions which enabled hackathons participants to ask questions to mentors and receive personal feedback.
At the end of the hackathon, teams presented their final projects to a panel of judges. The judging panel, which consisted of leaders from the world of fintech, banking, AA, and venture capital, selected the winning teams. More than 35 venture capital investors attended the final presentations with the online demo.
Challenges (And Solutions)
Aaryaman Vir, a volunteer at ISPIRT Foundation and co-founder Prophetic Ventures, says “Typically hackathons are organised over an intense period of 2-3 days where developer teams are required to build a prototype of their idea within the short timeframe.
However, we wanted to conduct a long-form hackathon as we find it works better for more in-depth learning and quality deliverables. We were focused on making it more than just a hackathon, so we conducted more events around it like masterclasses, webinars, interactive sessions, contests and more. Therefore online events would be the best platform to host such an extended hackathon during these times.”
Challenge 1: Switching from physical to virtual event
While they knew that virtual events are a perfect fit from the flexibility, convenience and reach perspective, moving to virtual seemed a little overwhelming at first. They had esteemed hosts that included thought-leaders and experts from the industry and wanted to experience to be very professional and seamless. Also, onboarding such a massive speaker would be a daunting task.
Aaryaman pointed out that, “Airmeet is built to mirror physical events. Its rich feature set allows you to replicate every possible scenario whether backstage interaction with the speaker or networking post-event, into the virtual world.”
Here is what makes it possible to switch to virtual events on Airmeet without any hiccups:
- Intuitive UI/UX and design
- Smooth and simple onboarding
- Excellent customer service. Great support team available 24/7 to help before, during and even after the event.
- No download required to host or attend an event
- Supported on all modern browsers
- Robust security and privacy architecture
- Superior HD-quality, lag-free video and audio
Challenge 2: Support 600 concurrent hackers in different event formats
Aaryaman says, “We were initially looking at Zoom as the leading candidate for our event. However, we quickly realised that it has several limitations and might not be ideal for our use case.
We had a series of different sessions spread across the 4-week long course, including a keynote session by Mr Nandan Nilekani, technical masterclasses by industry experts and team presentations. These were all different event formats and needed a lot of user engagement. However, with Zoom, we would have to set up a different meeting every time.
Secondly, Zoom might prove to be the right choice for a lecture or broadcast, but we needed an event platform that supports a few-to-many event format. There would be a panel of judges or a group of members in a team presenting to a broad audience, which meant few-to-many event format support was a must-have feature.”
(Read: Airmeet vs Zoom)
- Backstage – Meet and prep with your speaker behind the stage via this feature.
- Social lounge – A much-appreciated feature, social lounge allows you to network with people during a networking break. Attendees on the same table can join in a video conferencing for better interaction and connection. Once done on one table, participants can move on to another table.
- Raise-Hand – Similar to an in-person event, you can choose this feature to ask a question and share the stage with the speaker via live-feed.
- Q&A – It offers a dedicated window to ask questions, upvote, sort by popularity and manage answers. The most upvoted question is prioritised to the top of the list for quickly addressing the next questions.
- Chat – Public and private chat allows better interaction with high safety and security.
- Session-recordings – Safely record your event sessions and extend the life of your event by repurposing the content and sharing it with your audience.
Challenge 3: Stream pre-recorded videos on final judging day
The hackathon teams were required to showcase their final product via a pre-recorded video, and the judges would ask questions based on the video. However, the only way to do that was via sharing screen option and playing the video from the presenter’s screen.
When they pointed this out to the Airmeet team in early July, we promised that a feature to play videos is in the pipeline and will be rolled out before the final call for project submission. And as expected Airmeet rolled out the feature to stream pre-recorded videos before the judging days began in early August.
Teams presented their projects to the panel of judges by playing a video. Q&A followed each project for review and better understanding. We saved the day!
“Airmeet is built to mirror physical events. Its rich feature set allows you to replicate every possible scenario whether backstage interaction with the speaker or networking post-event, into the virtual world, seamlessly.”
– Aaryaman Vir, Volunteer, ISPIRT Foundation
Aaryaman says, “We are planning another Hackathon in the coming month and have integrated with Airmeet for it too. Airmeet, in a very short time, has become the go-to events tool for us. I feel like the Airmeet brand ambassador as I have helped onboard many people personally onto the platform. Way to go Airmeet team for an all-in-one platform for every event hosting need!”
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