Hackathon Shows That Miami Tech Talent Is Not ‘Some Destination,’ But Here And Growing

Written by Brian Brackeen

Miami tech talent and local businesses and investors converged June 12 and 13 for the eMerge Americas Hackathon.

Teams had 24 hours to tackle complex challenges presented by industry-leading API sponsors, build their project, and present their demos to a panel of judges. They competed for $6,000-plus in cash and prizes.

Buyers, entrepreneurs and investors from across the Americas and the rest of the world attend the hackathon event — the official hackathon of the eMerge Americas Conference, according to eMerge.

This year, Miami facial recognition firm Kairos presented with Visa at the hackathon.

Kairos is an artificial intelligence company. Through computer vision and machine learning, Kairos can recognize faces in videos, photos, and the real world, making it easier than ever to transform the way businesses interact with people.

From Medium. Story by Brian Brackeen, CEO of Kairos.

The energy around the more than 100 laser-focused techies creating sophisticated innovation in just 24 hours was electric.

Tech champions

The SilverLogic, the winners of the Visa challenge presented an app using a recently released Visa API which tracks sales. Their app for iphone would identify retail stores in close proximity to the user — and give them information about sales/specials happening in those locations.

The Boca Raton software engineering company won first place at the 2017 eMerge Americas Visa Developer Hackathon. This is the third year the team wins big at the annual tech conference. Photo: Palm Beach Tech


And STEM HQ, the winning team for the Kairos challenge (who just happen to be a group of incredible high school students) presented a nametag and dashboard for Royal Caribbean staff using Kairos Face Recognition and Emotion Recognition APIs.


The nametag, which is equipped with wifi and face & emotion recognition capabilities — would enable Royal Caribbean staff to immediately identify passengers and other staff, as well as enhance their human resources and marketing functions by gauging which staff and activities are most positively, and negatively, received by guests. Wow. Right?!

What it meant to us

At Kairos we love engaging with local talent and being a part of events like the 2017 eMerge Americas Hackathon, which showcases Miami tech.

This year’s competition was a success in its own right, having had the most entry applicants, teams, and attendees since it began three years ago. Yet it was great for Kairos, too, as it gave us a unique opportunity to see how devs and designers view our product in terms of creative use and technical implementation.

Teams pitching their ideas to the judges. Photo: Medium

The insights we gained around their experience help us to better understand how customers interact with our product. And we live for user feedback!

Bianca Monaco of Wyncode Academy echos Kairos sentiment when she says:

“The eMerge America’s Hackathon interest and success marks the continued growth of our ecosystem in Miami. Often, we discuss Miami tech as some destination we are seeking, but events like the eMerge Hackathon show that it’s here and it’s growing.”

I’m already excited for 2018

When a competition brings together a diverse gallery of Miami tech talent and local businesses in the spirit of innovation — we all win.

So congratulations to all the winners, thank you eMerge Americas for organizing such a cool event, and see you all next year!

This article was republished with permission of Brain Brackeen, CEO of Kairos.

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