Azure Government Los Angeles Hackfest + Training Recap

Steve Michelotti

We are excited to share that following our first two successful HackFests in Sacramento and DC, we have just completed another successful event in Los Angeles, hosting 72 attendees! There was a lot of buzz in the air as the Microsoft Team set the stage for the HackFest by providing overviews on Big Data, Cognitive Services, Xamarin mobile development, and deploying both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Of specific note, the attendees showed a great deal of enthusiasm around bot frameworks after being introduced to CHIP, LA’s virtual assistant. Big Data and Cognitive Services were also quite the attention getters.

Once briefed, the attendees broke into a dozen teams and began to consider what solutions they were going to tackle in the HackFest. After some brainstorming the teams presented ideas for solutions such as:

  • Helping park visitors identify flowers, plants and other items with Cognitive Services
  • Providing a Chat Bot for construction status, library services, and airport services
  • Visualization of Crime Data with Power BI and Data Visualization
  • Using photographs to determine if items are recyclable or not using Cognitive Services
  • Correlation of arrest records with Power BI and Data Visualization
  • Facial recognition of patients for Emergency Medical Services
  • Leveraging Azure Storage and Cognitive Services to enable more efficient public records requests

After the teams presented their concepts, they were off and running with their newly configured Azure Government subscriptions. The teams worked diligently from the afternoon through the early evening on day one and were anxious to keep at it on day two to prepare for their upcoming presentations.

We were honored to have guest judges join us to review and evaluate the various ideas developed and presented. Joining us were Joyce Jinde, Assistant General Manager/ Deputy CIO, City of Los Angeles ITA, and Jeramy Gray, Assistant Executive Officer, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. After reviewing all the team submissions, the judges were very surprised by how much the teams were able to accomplish in such a short time using Azure and its services. Additionally, the judges were impressed by all of the creative and practical ideas the teams presented.

When all was said and done, Joyce and Jeramy had to make some tough choices on who would claim the prizes. Please note, all solutions presented were very impressive, but the judges finalized on these three to go home with the trophies.

First Place: Libraries – Library Services Bot \ Mobile App

This mobile app leverages Azure Cognitive Services to help library visitors receive information that librarians would generally answer. Questions such as operating hours and book check-out status can now be managed via this newly developed app. The solution was developed by a group with no MS Development or Azure experience, purely open sourced focused resources. This is a testament to how quickly the MS Stack and Azure can be adopted. Additionally this mobile app was developed by two people in just a day and a half.

  • Allan Padilla and Michael Oey (not pictured)

Second Place: LAWA – LAXie

This chat bot solution, was developed to provide LAX visitors with information regarding the airport facilities, construction and additional valuable travel related information. Some of the data provided in the solution was done so via integration with real time data flight status systems. Very impressive progress for such a small team with zero Azure knowledge to start.

  • Carlos Zuccarini
  • Serna Roaldno
  • Sika touch (Remotely)
  • Fabian Raygosa (Remotely)

Third Place: DA’s Office – Public Records Act Request Bot

This team imported huge .PDF documents into Azure Storage and then applied cognitive services to index the content of the .PDF documents. This enables the DA’s office to respond to public records requests in a timely, efficient, and accurate manner. This solves the current business problem where if the requested records are not provided in a timely manner, the requester is entitled to all public records whether they are related to the original request or not.

  • Annabelle Dacones-Zrostlik, Gary Chen , Yazmin Martinez

A very big THANK YOU to our guest judges and to all of the attendees who made the event so much fun. In an effort to share and showcase all the great work done, we will be recording the presentations from each of the teams in LA so that we can post and share amongst the community. Please keep an eye out for that update so you can see all the great ideas developed at the LA HackFest!


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