The second annual Hackomotive competition presented by Edmunds.com is starting today, with participants from many different sectors of the automotive industry attending. Consumers, automakers, developers, technologists, and others in the automotive industry are expected to attend the three-day event being held at the headquarters of Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, California. The goal of Hackomotive is to bring together innovators to develop "the best products and ideas that promote a better car-shopping experience for consumers."
Last week, Edmunds.com announced the panel of judges, consisting of seven tech, marketing, media, and automotive business leaders from across the United States. The complete list and bios of the judges can be found on the official Hackomotive Web site. The panel of judges will select the winners of the competition who will be awarded cash prizes; the grand prize for the first place winner is $20,000. The second place winner will receive $10,000, and the third place winner will receive $5,000. In addition, Edmunds.com is offering to accelerate one of the companies to help them scale and get to the next level.
Developers can find Edmunds' APIs (Vehicle, Editorial, Dealer, and Inventory), True Market Value (TMV), and New Vehicle Configurator Widgets, API Console, API Status, API documentation, Affiliate Network, and other tools for developers on the Edmunds developer site. Ismail Elshareef, senior director of open platform at Edmunds.com, explained to ProgrammableWeb that providing Edmunds.com data to developers is a key component to achieving the company's goal of "helping shoppers find the car that meets their every need." He also explained to ProgrammableWeb that:
"We here at Edmunds believe strongly that innovation is fostered best through openness and transparency. It’s the same approach we’ve taken with car buying and selling since we launched our first Web site in the 1990s, and we’re building on our message of trust by entrusting our data with the developer community. We’re opening up our data because we want to give developers the ability to explore its potential to make car buying and selling easier. You can use the breadth and detail of the automotive information available through the Edmunds’ API to create mashups, mobile apps, visualizations, and other data-consuming applications that will provide an added dimension of user experience for the average car shopper or dealer."
The Hackomotive event offers a chance for tech start-ups, developers, and others in the tech community to see firsthand how Edmunds applies their "Trust by Design" process to tackle problems, something that the company does on a daily basis.
Edmunds.com is presenting a free Innovation Workshop for a select group of individuals that coincides with the Hackomotive event. Workshop sessions include Millennial Trendspotting, Search Engine Optimization, Customer Interaction, and Email Marketing. There is also a training session led by Matthew May called "Trust by Design" that teaches Edmunds' "4-step solution-based approach to solving problems and improving processes." There is a YouTube video by Edmunds.com that touches on how the company uses "design thinking" to develop new product ideas to serve customer needs and problem solving.
In the video, the Grant Product Development team at Edmunds.com explains that design thinking is used in a variety of product development processes and describes the five steps used to "understand and solve our customers problems," including:
- Emphasizing with the customer's needs.
- Defining the problem or the customer's perceived pain points.
- Brainstorming and coming up with new ideas to solve the problem.
- Prototyping -- The team builds models, flowcharts, and so forth to show each other ideas for solving the problem.
- Testing -- Take the ideas, mockups, and anything else designed and vetted among the team into the marketplace and gather data to see if the solutions work.
Hackomotive starts today and ends on Thursday, February 27. At the end of the final day, the winners that have met the judging criteria will be announced. The Hackomotive Web site lists the judging criteria as improvement to the existing car-shopping process, perceived trustworthiness of product, likelihood of real-world adoption, quality of product, and quality of presentation.
Elshareef summed up the Hackomotive three-day event for ProgrammableWeb, describing it as:
"Edmunds.com’s Hackomotive is a unique event that pairs the bright minds of the tech industry with the problems of car shoppers and dealers. We believe a good product is an innovative one rooted in trust and transparency. The winners will be the teams whose products promote a less stressful and more joyful experience. Buying a car should be exciting and easy. We believe the same innovation that developers use to make other parts of our lives easier can be used to make car shopping an enjoyable experience."
By Janet Wagner. Janet is a Data Journalist and Full Stack Developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization, and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.