Google Analytics Hackathon in London – Retrospective

On March 25th, the Google Analytics Premium team hosted the first Google Analytics Hackathon in London. 18 developers from several agencies worked on the Google offices for a full day session of ‘hacking’. They connected devices like motion sensors, cameras, Raspberry Pi mini computers and even helicopters to send data to Universal Analytics using the Measurement Protocol - using “simple” technology to simulate real world applications.

The goal of the event was to help agencies innovate and think out of the box about how to use the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol with to collect valuable data from other sources than just websites and apps. Each group received a hackathon kit’, consisting of Raspberry Pis, motion detectors, cameras, Google Glass, smart watches, barcode scanners, credit card readers, Smart Things home automation sets, beacons, some basic python scripts, documentation and one Android controlled helicopter.

The teams were free to build what they wanted and came up with great solutions. Here are the most innovative ideas:

  1. A helicopter enthusiast racetrack: Hobby pilots swipe their member cards to log to the system and fly a remote controlled helicopter along a racetrack - Google Analytics successfully measures lap times and stores them with the pilot customer ID.
  2. The burglar alarm: Detects a burglary using real time events in Google Analytics with a motion detector and a camera.
  3. Healthy cat: Decides how much you feed your cat at night based on how many times the cat entered and left the house as measured by Google Analytics..

Here are some of the feedback we received from developers.

“It was an inspirational session and we already started experimenting with measurement protocol more and come up with some innovative ideas tailored to our clients” - BadriNarayanan Srinivasan, iProspect UK.

“Something to highlight about the event was the chance to work with new and interesting technologies (bar code and card scanners, Android watches, Google Glass) and to integrate these with Google Analytics. Learning about new applications to help integrate GA/the use of the Measurement Protocol with Android and iOS apps was also awesome” - Jeff Lukey, Periscopix

“The day was brilliant and organised very well. It was great to be given such a wide range of technologies to try and use” - David Nwosu, DBi