When we first learned about COVID-19 back in Dec-19, we learned about all the dangers of international travel and possible contagion. Fast forward to Mar-20 and we were looking at the news every day about all the death, pain and sadness spread into the world due to coronavirus. We also see the news saying daily an economic recession is coming, small businesses are shutting down, people are losing their jobs. We are complying with the physical distancing and #stayathome movement but we knew we wanted to do something more to help people that were even more severely affected by the crisis. In 20 years we will tell future generations that when we were in our 20s, the whole world shut down and we had to stay and work together to help each other. We saw the #HackTheCrisis movement and we knew we wanted to participate and take action. Initially, we thought about helping small businesses stay afloat during the crisis, by building a platform to give them the opportunity to fight back against the crisis, share their ideas, stay connected with their customers.. ...On top of that, we knew about Hackathons before but only one of our team members has previous experience participating in a Hackathon She did it last weekend. The other three of us are very passionate about technology, business, UX, finance and how it can all be connected to help others; so we thought this will be a good training ground to see how to develop an app in 48 hours and that we were going to learn a lot and have fun doing it. We were wrong. Hackathons are hard. We did improve our skills, knowledge and RESILIENCE. Developing a working prototype, pitch deck, algorithms, business plan, video and making everything work together whilst working electronically in two different cities is definitely an experience we will not forget. There was more than one crisis in this #HackTheCrisis. We even thought we had 2 crises to hack, making Teleport happen and coronavirus.
What it does
Teleport allows you to virtually travel the world whilst helping small businesses stay afloat. From the business perspective, it helps you stay connected with your customers and ensure business continuity amid COVID-19 restrictions Initially we only wanted a platform to give business the opportunity to share ideas, but after our interviews with business owners, we realise there was a massive demand for being educated about the digital transformation - this is why we but an emphasis on this in the business owner app. We were worried that the traveller wouldn´t want to think about traveling in this time of crisis, but we realised after talking to some users that some people were impacted by the crisis in different ways. Some people had their honeymoon plans canceled, others were planning their dream trips for months and now they can´t do it, they can´t share this experience with their loved ones, and they can´t exchange their culture with others, so they would want to do it virtually now that they are in isolation
How we built it
We focused on the front end and build the prototype using Design Sofware. We incorporated the feedback from surveys, calls, interviews, and polls into the prototype to make it user-friendly and to tackle the pain points of the users. For the back end, we used Random Forests and NLP to develop a chatbot so that people could use it into the prototype.
Challenges we ran into
Our first big challenge was choosing a name, we spent hours trying to choose between “Travel the World Around 80 mbps”, “Surfing the Nest”, “The E-dyssey”, “Mercury” and finally “Teleport”. In a more serious note we did experience many challenges: 12:15 Working remotely Be able to communicate our ideas and understand the point of view of each other and of our users Receiving feedback from the mentors and questioning for hours if our idea was good enough or if we should have just deleted all the codes in Google Colab and prototypes in Sketch Trying to incorporate mentors feedback Done interviews with users and with small business owners and applying that feedback into the prototype, code, deck, business plan, and video Understand that some of the team members have to sleep 8 hours PER DAY Had to develop a product video without a script just a few hours before final submission Had to explain to a team member that he didn't need to save the Google Slides in a USB “just in case”
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Our first big accomplishment was choosing the correct name. That aside, some of our main accomplishments in these 48 hours are: Develop a data-driven working prototype that incorporates multiple rounds of feedback from the mentors, user stories key learnings and feedback from the interviews we did to the users Create a video that incorporates feedback from others
What we learned
Learned more about ML algorithms, NLP, Random Forests, etc Learned to work as a team
What's next for Teleport
For now, rest after 48 hours of hard work. But we also thought of developing new features such as: -VR Travel Experiences -Using AR to augment their travel experience and be able to touch things that they are seeing -Improve our ML algorithm and our chatbot -Work with fashion and food/ bars - get people their “holiday outfit” they can wear and a “holiday food pack” they can experience as part of the virtual travel experience -Collaborate with local musicians to have their jingles in our videos
You find further information about the working-results in the video section above and by following these links: Video: https://vimeo.com/404222625 Slide deck: bit.ly/teleport-slidedeck
Clickable Prototype: Business owner App: https://www.figma.com/file/gDzEjQj6ctbAmsFBs9TTeB/Untitled?node-id=5%3A434 Traveller App: https://www.figma.com/file/gDzEjQj6ctbAmsFBs9TTeB/Untitled?node-id=5%3A355
Github: https://github.com/The-Financial-Fox-AU/Teleport We collaborate using Notion: https://www.notion.so/hollyle/Project-Virtual-travel-Experience-bd759916f79c4efeacd32224bf672136