They may not be the most athletic bunch, but they’ve cracked the code when it comes to giving sports fans the best Super Bowl experience imaginable. It has nothing to do with football, but thanks to a group of software developers, the year’s biggest sporting event just got even better.
A few weeks ago, a group of nearly 60 software developers descended upon New Orleans for the Codemkrs Super Challenge. The goal was to create apps that would enhance the visitor experience in New Orleans during Super Bowl weekend, after last year’s event in Indianapolis wasn’t so great for people who weren’t familiar with the city. Eight teams worked for 48 hours straight to create apps that would help visitors get around and get a real taste of the unique New Orleans culture.
Travis Laurendine, Codemkrs organizer and entrepreneur, is essentially using the Super Bowl as a way to highlight the technology and skills he and the app developers are using to make New Orleans more fun for you. Yes, the goal of the event was to enhance the visitor experience; However, Laurendine’s goal is a little more long-term. He says New Orleans is a place where you can turn an idea into a company, and the eight ideas constructed during the 48-hour app programming session aren’t simply for Super Bowl weekend, but these are ideas that have potential to become businesses.
When you think of Bourbon Street and the Super Bowl, apps and technology probably aren’t the first things that come to mind. But Travis knew that those two things would be the key to a successful fan experience, and on top of that, may even create a lucrative new trend.
Travis assembled programmers and developers and named the group Codemkrs. The goal was to make New Orleans a more tech-friendly place for visitors coming in town for one of the year’s biggest sporting events. The Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee and the New Orleans Super Bowl Technology Committee were both quickly on board, since Super Bowl weekend isn’t just for the visitors; it’s an opportunity for the local economy to capitalize on the tens of thousands of people willing to spend money on a unique cultural experience.
And to make sure the app developers didn’t miss out on the culture they were trying to sell, Laurendine brought in bands to play throughout the weekend, and on top of that, he also had his father provide a local favorite dish – jambalaya.
So after 48 hours of straight app programming and a little taste of the Nawlins culture, Travis and crew had come up with a variety of new apps tailored to New Orleans during Super Bowl weekend.
Eat Now Nola
First place was awarded to Eat Now Nola, an app that tells you the wait time at local restaurants. The app’s restaurant profiles provide users with all the info they need about each establishment: location, website, phone number and estimated wait time. The app also gives users the option to rate a restaurant’s wait time for other users.
The app is aimed at solving one of the specific challenges visitors faced last year in Indianapolis, when some restaurants had extremely long wait times, while others were empty. The app will promote local restaurants that may be off the beaten path, but give visitors the experience they’re looking for. And if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry, the Super Bowl Host Committee will be providing event volunteers with tablets and the Eat Now Nola app, so they can tell visitors where to head!
Second place was awarded to Gigs Guru – an app that helps music fans find live music shows and concerts – also known as gigs – throughout the New Orleans area. The historical Southern city is known for its music scene, and with hundreds of bands playing every night, the app provides users with locations, times, and information about the bands, including contact info like Twitter handles.
Digital Tip Jar
The third place award went to another app tailored specifically toward New Orleans’ famous music scene. Digital Tip Jar allows users to tip their favorite musicians online using a credit card, since people rarely seem to carry cash these days.
The Codemkrs group is working to sign up more than 100 musicians that will be performing throughout the weekend. Plus, these two apps will be fully integrated, allowing users to access a band’s digital tip jar through the Gigs Guru app listing!
At the end of Super Bowl weekend, a final prize will be awarded to the app that gets the most users. The developers behind the app will receive business support to help them further develop the design and the app’s capabilities. Plus, they’ll get to pitch their app to an angel investor pitch competition on the Monday after the big game.
But that’s not the end of the Codemkrs plans. The group will continue to organize hands-on technology events with the hope of highlighting skilled programmers and developers that are enhancing the way we experience events and the cities where they take place.
Click here for the full list of apps created by the Codemkrs Super Challenge.