30 September 2016 – Five NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) Silicon Valley students have won US$10,000 worth of American Express Gift Cards, sponsored by SAP Hybris, for demonstrating the best use of Graph APIs at the API World 2016 Hackathon.
The API + Integration hackathon was held in San Francisco, California, USA, on 10th and 11th September 2016, as part of the API World 2016 Conference and Expo.
Third year Computer Science students, Mai Anh Vu, Cheah Kit Weng and Chua Si Hao, together with their NUS Business School teammates Rafikah Halim and Suphasak Udomkichdecha, were among eight teams to take on the ‘graph LoVE - Load, Visualize, Extract’ challenge sponsored by SAP Hybris, where contestants were tasked to ‘use the power and flexibility of YaaS micro-services around commerce and customer profile graphs to react and interact with customers in a more personal way’.
The team built KingFashion, a white-label, augmented reality mobile app that gamifies the shopping experience of online customers. The idea was derived from the perception that online shopping can be impersonal and monotonous if customers are simply browsing through standard webpages. “KingFashion lets users go through an immersive experience of browsing and trying on clothes just by using the phone camera and screen. We give users recommendations based on their personality, previous purchases and preferences, in order to provide a better match,” explained Vu, on behalf of the team. “Our vision for the product is to become the future of online clothes and apparel shopping. Customers are able to enjoy shopping through the convenience of their homes, while not compromising on being able to ‘try on’ the items. Businesses such as retailers can guarantee a lower return rate from customer and less operating costs on physical stores.”
Besides winning the US$10,000 prize, Team KingFashion’s pitch to the judges was featured on the event’s live broadcast—theirs was one of only five teams that were featured. “While the technology was the highlight of the show, what ultimately sold the idea was our solid business model and a strong vision for the marketability of the product. In addition, our implementation of the APIs provided was well thought out and met the appraisal criteria of the company that awarded us the prize,” said Vu. “The product fused elements between fashion, augmented reality and a hint of personality. I strongly believe that these points made the app stand out because it managed to target people’s touch points, especially the judges,” added Si Hao.
Describing some of the challenges they faced during the development of the product, Vu said, “Augmented Reality (AR) is a relatively new field and thus we had many unknowns stepping in this direction. As the programmer tasked with building the facial and body recognition feature of the app, I spent a lot of time researching on the technology needed for our idea to become a reality. However, it felt great standing at the very edge of modern technology, and this motivation has kept me working tirelessly to get the product ready for demo.”
“We were all very thrilled to win our first hackathon ever, especially in San Francisco. However, what added on to our elation was the fact that our idea was validated and has a great potential of becoming a real product. We are poised to bring this product beyond the context of the hackathon, and will be working in the foreseeable future on this app,” said Vu. Chiming in, Si Hao said, “It was delightful. I could tell that all my teammates had put in significant amount of effort. It would have been a great experience even without winning anything, but the prizes made it have a good closure.”