There is no doubt that this weekend’s 24-hour Open Government Tinkerstorm was a huge success! A conference room full of passionate open government developers came together along with city leaders like Bill Schrier, Seattle’s CTO, and Robin Friedman, former Seattle Emergency and Disaster Management Director. Tropo, Socrata, and Amazon AWS sponsored the event and remained on hand to help and guide the event participants to success. In the end, all of the entries developed and deployed are available as open source and were produced for the benefit of the citizens of Seattle.
Reflecting on the event, I wanted to share an interesting observation that I had during the course of the contest. The winners of the iPad, Amber Case and Aaron Parecki, were not originally in the contest. They were hanging out with us at the event working on their totally awesome side project called GeoLoqi. Halfway through the event, Aaron looks in my direction and says that he is interested in integrating Tropo SMS with GeoLoqi. Several minutes later his iPhone buzzes with an SMS and he looks at me and Amber and says, “It worked! GeoLoqi just me an SMS notification triggered by my location!” This was certainly very exciting for all of us but it the event gets more interesting…
Amber and Aaron left to get some sleep and came back in the morning for breakfast with an idea to enter the contest. Their idea was ChatterCast, a mashup of Tropo, Socrata’s data.seattle.gov, Instamapper, and GeoLoqi services. Basically ChatterCast subscribes your phone to real-time 911 call data provided by http://data.seattle.gov. ChatterCast alerts you based on your location of 911 events happening around you.
This is a great example of how someone with an idea can not only win a contest only after getting started in the final hours but how anyone with an idea can change the world. Tropo’s ease of use makes it super easy to communicate with telephones via voice and SMS or even IM and Twitter with a couple of lines a code. There’s no reason not to add telephone support to your existing web applications to make them even more powerful in this mobile and social age we live in today. So what are you waiting on? Sign-up for Tropo today and change the world!