Revel Systems is the creator of a Point-of-Sale system built around the iPad. This highly versatile replacement for a cash register has 25,000 installations to date, mostly in small businesses. They recently inked a deal with Shell to build a system that will cover fuel and convenience store card payments, managing pumps and fuel inventory, loyalty programs, and convenience store inventory.
Participants in the hackathon were given sandbox access to Revel Systems servers which manage these capabilities for stores and for customers. (The "sandbox" is designed to behave exactly like Revel's live servers except it is populated with fictional stores, customers and transactions. Sandboxes are typically used for development and quality assurance.)
Hackathon teams were given hundreds of pages of documentation for the sandbox at 6pm on September 8th, and then had until 4pm on September 9th to use it to build customer-facing applications.
The Saint Mary's Team consisted of Jung Kim (Senior), Rahul Murthy (graduated), Sanjay Shrestha (Senior) and Rui Li (coworker of Sanjay's). The team-members were already showing their penchant for entrepreneurship and honing their rapid development chops getting their BookRack app ready in time for the beginning of the fall semester so that hundreds of Saint Mary's students could put up used textbooks directly for sale to one another.
Jung, Rahul and Sanjay learned Mobile Software Development in Prof. Brian Hill's Spring 2016 Math/CS 190 Course, which used Apple's Swift language, iOS operating system, and Xcode development tools as a basis for learning to develop mobile apps.
For the competition, the team built a customer-facing iPhone app, and loaded it with features that are relevant for Revel Systems' new partnership with Shell.
The app uses location services to find nearby stores. It shows customer-specific recommendations based on prior transactions, it allows people to pay for their gas and other items directly from their phones, and it shows customers increases in their loyalty points with updates immediately following each transaction.
Additional app pages — not shown above — allowed choice of gas station pumps and showed fillups in progress.
At the end of 13 hours of continuous coding, the team was exhausted. They had forgotten to make the standard sacrifices to the demo gods, and they were not ready when the clock started counting down the time allowed to show their app. Because the demo wasn't as good as it could be, as the awards were read, they were thinking that at best they might get 3rd, and when 3rd was awarded to another team, they were feeling ready to zip up their backpacks and go home — with a renewed determination to get their demos more rehearsed for any future opportunities!
As the drum roll for the $6,000.00 Grand Prize winners finished, they could hardly believe that their team had been chosen! The team is grateful to Revel Systems for creating this opportunity and to the Saint Mary's Math & Computer Science Department for dedicating itself to the development of its Computer Science concentration. They are spending their winnings on upgrades to their computing hardware.
The team is the four left-most people in the above photo. Left-to-right, they are: Jung Kim, Rui Li, Rahul Murthy and Sanjay Shrestha (holding award). Photo Credit: Be My App Events.
Sanjay Shrestha and Jung Kim are easy to reach with their stmarys-ca.edu email IDs, which are ss42 and jsk4, respectively. Please email them with congratulations or questions. The Math & Computer Science Department Webmaster, Chair and other faculty are listed on the Department Contact Page.