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First MoSync Hackathon in Pakistan a Success

Guest Blog by Hammad Tariq
Hammad Tariq is CEO of Incubator Pakistan and Director of IOLogics Limited, United Kingdom

The first ever MoSync Hackathon in Pakistan, organized by Incubator Pakistan in collaboration with MoSync, was held on 28th April, 2012 in historical Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan. The event was first of its kind and received great attention by the developer community. Professionals from the software industry and talented students from various universities participated in the event and vied against each other. Apart from increasing the awareness about MoSync, the key purpose of this event was to gather the mobile software development community on a single platform and injecting some pace in the growing start-up culture among the pupils and experts of field in the cultural capital of Pakistan.

Watch the video from the event below.

According to Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) statistics, Pakistan’s global IT share is estimated at $2.8 billion (annually) including global sales revenue of $1.6 billion. It is my personal estimation that Pakistan earns about the same volume of foreign exchange through informal technology sector (freelancers, oDesk/Elance based small companies etc.). According to PSEB, Pakistan has nearly 1,500 formal ICT based companies and according to my personal experience of working with local industry, almost half of these companies are working in the field of mobile and telecommunication technologies now.

Pakistan is generally considered as a an attractive outsourcing destination for foreign companies thanks to the availability of cheap infrastructure and labour but the experts here have rolled up their sleeves to offer more than just outsourcing, and according to an industry capability profile report by PSEB, the business culture is rapidly becoming more startup friendly. This is evident from last year’s progress in which DeNA, a large Japanese mobile games publisher, acquired a Lahore based game studio while another Hong Kong based publisher of mobile and social gaming applications, 6waves, will market made-in-Pakistan gamesdeveloped by Mindstorm Studioson Apples app store under its label in addition to social games from Pakistani game development companies via its gigantic Facebook user network.

Thanks to the growing interest among software developers to shift their careers towards mobile development and MoSync offering a robust cross-platform mobile application development environment for all the major smartphone platforms, this first-ever MoSync Hackathon in Pakistan was a sought-after event.

Prior to the event, we organised three student workshops in local universities to create awareness about MoSync among the students. Proceedings of these workshops were published on Facebook and LinkedIn and generated an overwhelming response. Surprised as we were, we had to limit the numbers of participants for the MoSync Hackathon and create a waiting list for people who registered late.

The Hackathon started at midday on Saturday, 28th April and concluded at 1 am on 29th April. 18 teams participated and the venue was nearly full at its capacity of 100 people. The event started with a short introduction of MoSync and explaining the concept behind the Hackathon, followed by a quick tutorial about the MoSync SDK. Afterwards, participating teams were left with their developing and coding skills for ten hours while Incubator’s development team was on-hand to help participants. The MoSync team in Sweden was online to provide technical support via MoSync's IRC channel and Skype.

The event concluded at about 2pm with nine Hackathon teams presenting their apps, followed by awarding prizes for the best apps.

The judging criteria were as follows:

  • 25% Weight - Ability to clearly articulate business plan
  • 25% Weight - Viability of business model
  • 25% Weight - Originality of idea
  • 25% Weight - Fully functioning mobile app

The prizes in respective order:

  1. Nokia Lumia 800
  2. HTC Desire HD
  3. iPod Touch 8GB

The name of Hackathon winners and their applications:

1st Prize: Usman Ur Rehman Ahmad for 'Earthquake Explorer' app

2nd Prize: Safwan Ahmad for 'Game Engine for MoSync'

3rd Prize: Team lead by Jawad Abbas for their 'Converter for Engineers' app

All app submissions are accessible at:

http://www.mosync.com/content/submit-your-app-mosync-hackathon

The proceedings of the event are available at: https://www.facebook.com/incubatorpk

With all the enthusiasm and encouragement received during the first Hackathon, we are planning to hold another similar event and regular MoSync meet-ups in Lahore after the summer break. Plans are also underway to organise a Hackathon for students sometime during the winter. Stay tuned for more.