When the four of us sat down to discuss ideas & problems that we want to solve this hackathon, there was consensus about this particular problems - knowing about events that are happening around us at a given time.
The area of events was something we felt could use a lot of work in terms of the way they were marketed Currently it is very difficult to find an event if you're not searching for it on Facebook or if you're not lucky enough to see it on you news feed because your friend has liked it. If you happen to step out of class and you have about an hour to kill, through Trivents, you can instantly figure out what events are going at that time or even later that day.
What is Trivents
Simply put, Trivents makes events easier to manage and register for. By creating an event on Trivents, you have the option of automatically making an event on Eventbrite, Google+, MeetUp etc. based on the information you submitted on Trivents. We can even retrieve information from a Facebook event (with just the URL) and post to all other social medias. We are, therefore, it a one-stop event creator with free social marketing.
The other reason that makes Trivents special is it's QR code system & hassle-free registration. Every event has it's unique generated QR code that whoever wishes to go for, can just scan it and send it to our messenger bot. The messenger bot confirms the event and in-turn takes in information such as your name and email (automatically) and specific details such as food preferences (which vary by each event). Typically this information is required at the time of registration/check-in at the event. Taking in this information, messenger replies back with a personalised QR code which can then be scanned at the event check-in (and retrieve details you put in the bot). This optimises the efficiency of event sign in and substantially reduces queue waiting times.
How we built it
We built out our web app using the Meteor.js framework and maintained a MongoDB backend for both the app and the Facebook messenger Bot. We used the Facebook Graph API extensively along with the Eventbrite Post API and Google's Map and QR Code, Location and Places APIs. The Facebook Messenger Bot is hosted on a Heroku server, where the Facebook Messenger API communicates with the bot via a web hook. It takes in many forms of inputs, including text, pictures, and button pushes. It generate out QR Codes from the Google QR Code API, and reads QR Codes from the Zebra Crossing API. It also utilizes the DocuSign API to accept a user's signature for event waivers.
Challenges and what we learnt
There were various technical challenges throughout the development project. Whether it be debugging, new modules, Google maps API and especially internal server errors, but slowly and steadily we overcame all of them, and this is something we're extremely proud of as a team.
Throughout this project, all of us have learned significantly. All four of us were pushed outside our comfort zone to learn a new programming language, platform or an API. Alongside technical skills, we also learnt how to effectively collaborate as a team, ask for help and get things done.
Trivents is currently focused on UC San Diego and San Diego events, but eventually we would want to expand to other colleges, cities and countries. Furthermore, we intend to add a "roaming mode" through a mobile app wherein if you are within one kilometre radius of an event you get push notifications. At the moment, we're using Facebook's Messenger API for scanning QR codes and registering for events. However, in the future we want to be a completely stand-alone mobile and web application with our own QR scanning logic. Also, we want to become smarter (possibly by using machine learning methods) by understanding the user's preferences and in-turn display those events that match with the user's liking more prominently.