TADHack 2021 - An Exciting Time to Share Innovations

Sep 21, 2021By William King

TADHack (Telecommunications Application Development) has been around for a long time, and focuses on innovative ways to use code to surface and send all sorts of interesting information in real-time. We have this institutionalized system of telecommunications networks that share status information, location information, and personal information, almost all of which has been digitized to one degree or another. Using real-time communications protocols, the crowd at TADHack produces fascinating work, year over year, by simply tapping into and navigating existing systems and frameworks.

The Inherent Fun of Creativity in Action

I’m impressed by the multiple project purposes the participants of TADHack submit. A lot of times, the projects that inspire me the most are when a TADHacker combines two very different pieces of technology to create and/or show something that’s never been shown before. This kind of thing happens just about every year.

Another thing that happened not too long ago - people developed their own RTC-enabled apps that didn’t rely on the user joining Skype or some other proprietary communications system to make a call to another person. DIY telephony, in the hands of the right developer, became real. That happened at TADHack, and we still see the ripple effects today in existing commercial and open source efforts.

TADHack for Social Projects

A third project I like to see when it comes up, although not directly related to TADHack, is something that has potential to help a lot of people in one way or another. These projects enable access to something people don’t have, or help folks do something they couldn’t do before. A great example of this at TADHack 2017 was among the hackathon prize winners:

In this TADHack presentation on YouTube, Thomas Howe worked with legal aid organizations in the region to make legal assistance available via messaging services. These services were then made available to homeless, mentally ill, and other under-served people in the region.

Thomas’ premise: When a person’s socio-economic standing suffers, getting legal aid becomes more difficult. First, one’s need for legal aid increases. Second, the ability to pay for said legal aid decreases. His project focused on making legal aid more accessible via text messaging and some AI technology. Here is someone using technology to participate in a social cause that they believe in. It’s irrelevant whether you are passionate about that cause or not, what’s important is the fact that technology is helping to advance that cause.

Lockdown: If You Need It, Make It

I’m super excited for this year’s hackathon. Here’s why:

We’ve all been sent into lockdown because of COVID, and most of us haven’t had a ton of human contact or interaction in the last 18 months. People like me start thinking about creative ways of using communications avenues in these situations, and we’ve all had a lot of time to think. I fully expect and am anticipating some really interesting things people have done to enable themselves to better work from home without losing fast access to all of their workplace tools. VPN, especially applied to voice and video, was a real problem right after the pandemic hit; it just slowed everyone down. I’m super curious to see what people have come up with in the RTC world after spending so much time remote.

From the Subspace angle, and without giving away too much about what people are planning to do with Subspace at the Hackathon, I will say that we have TADHack participants on the network, and I’ve seen some very fascinating use-cases for WebRTC technology. In particular, geographic distance and hairpinning seems to be something people are very interested in mitigating.

Although I won’t know it until I see it, and the themes always change, something always stands out at TADHack. One of two things usually happens at this conference that make me take notice, and that represent real innovation:

  1. Someone does something that we thought was several years away from possible
  2. OR, they accomplish something in a weekend that would have previously taken a team, a group of testers, QA automation, and 4 weeks to get done

Here’s the perfect lockdown project that would make me take notice:

  • Someone has created a robot that could navigate down the street, controlled by RTC functionality, with a SIM card installed.
  • This robot can initiate an internet call back to the controller’s computer, who can then hold a voice and video conversation with a random, or even specific, person on the street.
  • Sort of like a low-tech re-run of that Bruce Willis movie “Surrogates” without all of the CGI and mortal danger.

I fully expect someone to have done something crazy like this, and it’s possible that we will see it this year.

A few resources for you to look at as you get ready for the weekend:

In the meantime, don’t lose your chance to use our network free of charge to add stability and performance to your project at TADHack. This group of hackers could well benefit from the free access, and we’re always looking for feedback from smart people. Win-Win.

We’ll see you at TAD Hack 2021! Get on our Calendar to get you set up with your free access. It only takes a quick conversation and then you're in!


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