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Apps World

FEATURED SPEAKER - The value of hackathons to advance business - an interview with Zeebox's Anthony Rose

With $1,500 up for grabs for the best use of its API at Apps World North America’s TV Hackfest Zeebox is most definitely a company that believes in the value of hackathons to advance its business.

Zeebox co-founder and CTO Anthony Rose believes hackathons provide an invaluable source of ideas and innovation that can’t be beaten and, that most importantly, can provide the out of the box thinking that allow a company to differentiate itself from its competitors.

Rose is a judge and sponsor of the TV Hackfest at Apps World North America following his involvement with the TV Hackfest at Apps World Europe in London in October. “In London almost all of the projects made use of Zeebox’s APIs and we were really pleased to see it looks like we are delivering really useful functionality,” says Rose. “People came up with fantastic concepts at London. One of the winners was Quizzle which used the Zeebox API to understand the ads that were playing on TV and created an app that showed you had watched an ad – a fun way to gamify the ads that won the prize for best commercial application,” he says.

“Another app, Social Cuts, won best design and used our Buzz API to find the most popular TV shows -- ie those that are trending - and then allowed you to play those on demand. Meanwhile the best overall winner was for Telly Love, a dating site that brought together people watching the same show using Zeebox’s APIs and matching people based on their viewing habits. The Zeebox specific prize was for Wait for Me – a bookmark for bringing in social experiences around catch up content,” says Rose.

Rose says the value of hackathons comes from their ability to surprise – even for those that have long been part of the industry. “What’s delightful about hackathons is that if you are in the business yourself then you think you have explored all the ideas and then along comes something like the dating app that you would never have thought of,” he says.

So what is he hoping developers will come up with at the TV Hackfest at the San Francisco show? Rose says he doesn’t want to give too much away. “It’s important for me to not have ideas for what the developers should do lest I temper their creativity. I want to seed some ideas but after that I would just love to be surprised,” he says.

“When we sit and watch television we all have thoughts of what the television of the future might be – is it that you shout at it, throw things at it or do something else? What I am looking forward to is the platform we have created making it easier to deliver those dreams,” he says.

If you are interested in taking part in the TV Hackfest at Apps World North America in San Francisco next month (February 5-6) there is still time to register for your free place. Rose will also be a key speaker within the TV and Multi-Screens Apps conference track with a presentation on participation TV – the merger of the first and second screen. Book your ticket here.