EPF Students flew off to the 2018 Singapore Airlines Hackathon final

Publié le 20/11/2018

A team made of two students from EPF Engineering School and two students from Télécom Nancy and Télécom SudParis flew off to Singapore to play the final of the Hackathon organized by Singapore Airlines. They were the only French team to be preselected amongst 780 teams from 74 different countries !

Organized by the Agorize platform, the 2018 Singapore Airlines AppChallenge gathered over 1500 participants from all over the world around major issues affecting the airline company. Laurine TOROSSIAN (Class 2019) and Louis JOHANET (Class 2017) both from the Engineering & Digital technologies major joined forces with Katia GIL GUZMAN and Pol ENAULT, also engineers, in order to create an application prototype that could answer the following question : How can the passenger selection and compensation process be improved in the event of overbooking ?

The team implemented a draft web app in September and made a video detailing the concept. The idea is to make available a clear list of compensations to passengers in the event of overbooking. Thus, passengers can make themselves known if they want to free a seat up at the last minute and act knowingly. This provides satisfaction to the passengers but also saves time for the ground crew who does not have to deal with the overbooking situation individually. The app, called “Let it fly”, playing on the literal and the figurative meaning of this phrase, enables passengers to book an alternative flight, hotel or free services (restaurant, local activities) on their own, before actually leaving the airport.

The concept seemed to have convinced the jury as their project was selected for the second and last step, which took place in Singapore. The airline assigned a mentor to the team in order to guide them in their project. The four engineers had another 2 weeks to elaborate on their idea and continue the implementation of their prototype, thus giving birth to a mobile hybrid app besides the website created initially.

After having landed in Singapore on October 26th, the EPF team had some time to make the last adjustments to the presentation and rehearse one last time before being interviewed by the grand jury made up of Singapore Airline’s CEO as well as VPs. The pitch and demonstration of the app went smoothly and the jury’s questions didn’t unsettle the team. Competition was tough in the finals and all the teams (start-ups for some) presented detailed and innovative projects. “Let it Fly” ranked fourth and received Jérome THIL’s (Innovation VP) congratulations.

Although they just missed the podium, the team was able to decompress during the networking session organised after the event that aimed at overcoming jetlag and controlling adrenaline rushes. It was essential to exchange with the Singapore Airline participants in order to make a strong comeback during the next challenge !