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What the Hack? Teams from 9 Countries Survive AirAsia’s First Regional Hackathon

Photography: Alex Chia & Ariff Shah Sopian

We did it! Participating teams, judges and Allstars gather on Day 1 of Airvolution.
We did it! Participating teams, judges and Allstars gather on Day 1 of Airvolution.

Twenty shortlisted five-member teams from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka and Australia landed in Sepang for Airvolution’s first edition, which aimed to spur innovation through the creation new products or solutions.

Of the three challenges revealed beforehand, the one tackled at the RedQ event was the task of profiling AirAsia fans based on their digital social footprints to improve customer experience.

On-hand to guide and offer advice to the participants were mentors from AirAsia’s ICT department, as well as MDEC Stakeholder Engagement and Partnership Programmes Head Azreena Azizan, ServisHero Business Development Head Suresh Tan, and Telekom Malaysia Innovation Lead Maznuddin Zainuddin. Specialists from AirAsia, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure were also ready to offer resources and assistance.

Teams converge for the live demo and presentation on Day 2.
Teams converge for the live demo and presentation on Day 2.

Running on T&Co coffee and Red Bull, these tech talents made it through the 18-hour hackathon with impressive results. The event culminated in a live demo and presentation to a panel of judges, including eight jury members from AirAsia, headed by Chief Data & Digital Officer Shanti Nikunj and Group Chief Information Officer Declan Hogan, and two judges from the Asean region, Dr Karndee Leopairote of C-ASEAN Thailand and Kawin Tangudtaisak of LINE Thailand. Criteria for judging included impact, creativity, design and execution.

Team Aviato basks in the glory of their win, flanked by AirAsia cabin crew.
Team Aviato basks in the glory of their win, flanked by AirAsia cabin crew.

Singaporean team Aviato rose to the challenge and presented a solution that profiles users in real-time based on Instagram photos and likes, resulting in targeted destination and food offers matching the user’s preferences. As the winning team, Aviato took home RM25,000 in prize money; 100,000 AirAsia BIG Points; and five return flights to any AirAsia destination.

As AirAsia strives to be a fully digital airline, expect more initiatives and programs like Airvolution in the months to come.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at that exciting weekend at RedQ.

Where it begins: a red carpet welcome at the registration counter.

Where it begins: a red carpet welcome at the registration counter.

The panel of judges gets briefed on the ground rules.
The panel of judges gets briefed on the ground rules.
A Malaysian team is all smiles while awaiting the announcement of the challenge.
A Malaysian team is all smiles while awaiting the announcement of the challenge.
Ready for a hack attack: AirAsia Group Head of Risk & Government Relations Attila Emam, Group Chief Data & Digital Officer Shanti Nikunj, Group Chief Commercial Officer Siegtraund Teh, AirAsia Berhad CEO Aireen Omar, and AirAsia Head of Communications Aziz Laikar
Ready for a hack attack: AirAsia Group Head of Risk & Government Relations Attila Emam, Group Chief Data & Digital Officer Shanti Nikunj, Group Chief Commercial Officer Siegtraund Teh, AirAsia Berhad CEO Aireen Omar, and AirAsia Head of Communications Aziz Laikar
Amid a sea of activity, a moment of focus
Amid a sea of activity, a moment of focus
Participants sampled the flavours of Asean with Santan and gave their meals a thumbs up!
Participants sampled the flavours of Asean with Santan and gave their meals a thumbs up!
Forget the airbeds. Wrapped in red blankets from the AirAsia comfort kit, teams pulled an all-nighter.
Forget the airbeds. Wrapped in red blankets from the AirAsia comfort kit, teams pulled an all-nighter.
The AirAsia cafeteria lounge overlooking the klia2 gates is a good place for inspiration to take flight.
The AirAsia cafeteria lounge overlooking the klia2 gates is a good place for inspiration to take flight.
AirAsia Chief Data & Digital Officer Shanti Nikunj addresses the teams on Day 2.
AirAsia Chief Data & Digital Officer Shanti Nikunj addresses the teams on Day 2.
The team leader from Australia presents the fruits of their labour on judgment day.

The team leader from Australia presents the fruits of their labour on judgment day.

Girls can code! Whoever says tech isn’t for girls clearly hasn’t met the young women of Airvolution. #girlscandoanything
Girls can code! Whoever says tech isn’t for girls clearly hasn’t met the young women of Airvolution. #girlscandoanything
Smiling on a working weekend! AirAsia Allstars who made the event possible, from crew, organisers, judges and volunteers
Smiling on a working weekend! AirAsia Allstars who made the event possible, from crew, organisers, judges and volunteers
Congratulations, Team Aviato!
Congratulations, Team Aviato!

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