Automated Insights, Inc.

Automated Insights and Amazon Alexa Host Conversational Language Hackathon

Posted by Automated Insights on Feb 2, 2017

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Hackathon Full Color Logo

On January 24 and 25, Automated Insights and Amazon Alexa hosted a hackathon to find ways to bring conversational natural language to Alexa skills.  

Teams from around the country, including the Associated Press, Bankrate, GreatCall, Lincoln Financial, NASDAQ, Omnitracs, PowerSchool, TIBCO, TicketMaster, Sling TV, STATS, and ReverbNation gathered in Durham, North Carolina to teach Alexa new NLG skills.

Teams were tasked to create and demonstrate cutting-edge integrations utilizing both Wordsmith and Alexa. During the event, projects analyzed company stocks, evaluated soccer plays, reported on a loved-one’s well-being, shared a child’s academic status, suggested television shows, music and concerts, and prepared a financial advisor for a client meeting.

“Typically, integrations have focused on what a user can say to Alexa, not what she can say back.” -- Krijn van der Raadt, Vice President of IT and Software Development, GreatCall
Lock Paul Hackathon

Paul Cutsinger of Amazon and Locky Stewart of Automated Insights

The winning team, Omnitracs, showed how trucking managers can ask Alexa about driver performance. Data scientist Ramprasad Renganathan sees the human voice as an increasingly important user interface in his industry, especially given safety concerns with devices on vehicles.

Omnitracs Hackathon


“Wordsmith will play an important role in how we communicate with our customers in the future.” --Ramprasad Renganathan, Data Scientist, Omnitracs

Coming in a very close second place, GreatCall utilized Wordsmith and Alexa to help keep loved ones safe and provide an easy to use way of checking in. Users could ask Alexa about their loved one's activity levels, safety, interactions with others, and their location.

Great Call Hackathon


Rounding out the top three, PowerSchool used the integration between Wordsmith and Alexa to provide parents with incredible spoken insight into their children's academic life. Users could ask Alexa about completed assignments, grades, and even stay on top of their child's lunch balance. 

Powerschool Hackathon


The Alexa-Wordsmith event is the first event between Amazon and Automated Insights, with an additional event planned later in the year. Automated Insights also hosts NLG hackathon events with partners in cities across the country.

To learn more about the latest hackathon, check out our Alexa page.