App to protect taxi passengers wins hackathon

MANILA, Dec. 12 (PNA) — CabSafe, a Windows Phone app which lets users send vital information about their taxi ride, won grand prize in the Nokia Imaging Hack last December 1.

The hackathon, held at the Palet Express office in Makati City, was organized by Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet) in partnership with Nokia Philippines, Microsoft Philippines, and HERE.

The CabSafe Team said their app was a response to the deluge of alleged crimes involving taxis reported on social media.

“Aside from an SMS message telling your loved ones the taxi’s name, plate number and where you’re at, the CabSafe app also provides your loved ones with live updates of your exact location on the app’s map. You could log on to our website, use our reference code, and track the cab’s exact movement,” the team explained.

Users of the CabSafe app can also post photos of the taxi driver, plates, and other images on the website. They can also rate the service of the taxi and comment on their experience. This feedback feature could warn other taxi commuters on which cabs to avoid and which to patronize.

The developers of CabSafe, Michael Concepcion, Dominic Tuazon, and Gabriel Avila, won two Nokia Lumia 925 smartphones, one Nokia Lumia 1020, and a one-month co-working space at Palet Express. Second place went to Capturo, an image editing app for artistic and marketing people, developed by the one-man team of Jason Mari Josol. He won three units of Nokia Lumia 720.

When asked why they joined the hackathon, the CabSafe Team, all young IT professionals, said, “We love coding. We enjoy it and we plan to build a startup company someday.”

They were also very appreciative of Smart DevNet’s hackathons. “It was a great experience. These hackathons help sharpen our skills as developers. Smart DevNet is very supportive of us. They provided everything we needed.”

Paul Pajo, Smart DevNet evangelist, explains why the Nokia Imaging Hack is first of its kind.

“We wanted to find out what developers can do with that power at their disposal. Nokia’s imaging API (tool for developers) has 52 filters and the Nokia Lumia phone’s camera has a very high megapixel count. Combining the APIs of Nokia and HERE, a very powerful mapping and navigation platform, we wanted to see what processes and applications can be developed from these.”

The HERE API, also used by German luxury car manufacturer BMW, is now used in mapping the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Norbert Allan Aquende, manager at Nokia Philippines, was happy to collaborate with Smart DevNet for this hackathon. “Smart DevNet is very innovative in supporting hackathons, in supporting developers. Nokia was able to reach a wider audience when it comes to developers. We expect to see more innovative applications in the events we have with them, especially apps that take advantage of the features of our phones in terms of imaging and mapping.”

Christoper Misola, technical evangelist at Microsoft Philippines, agrees. “Smart DevNet is one of the largest communities for developers in the Philippines. They’ve just started last year but they’ve grown to 5,000 developers. Nokia makes the Lumia 1020 API open and available for developers to create their own apps working on top of the Windows platform.”

Lonel Labit, HERE Philippines project manager for regional map and content, believes in providing Smart DevNet participants with powerful tools like HERE maps. “Exposing our APIs to developers would let them develop new apps, building really compelling applications that make sense of the real world.”(PNA)