MokiTouch for Microsoft Surface hackathon!

With the recent release of the new Microsoft Surface tablet and Windows 8, we set out to build the first kiosk app with remote management. But in true MokiMobility form, we did not just set our developers at the task during regular business hours, we organized an internal hackathon and challenged our developers to come up their own kiosk app for Windows 8, building and improving upon the features they thought the app should have. The only 2 requirements were: use the new Surface tablet and integrate remote settings management.

Two different teams were formed and each set out to build the best MokiTouch kiosk app for Surface. The first team went to work building all of the core features of MokiTouch on Windows 8 while the second team made building new features their priority. Both apps came out as excellent examples of the way you could use Surface and Windows 8 as a kiosk or digital signage.

Team 1 had the most complete app, with full remote settings management and app environment monitoring built in. They also included a few innovations on handling custom buttons and playlist elements. Team 1 pulled out the victory and each team member walked away with a Surface tablet.

In their work for the top prize, Team 2 created several new features that employed the camera in a few ways. Team 2’s app included a new motion-detection feature and QR code support. When the tablet detected motion through the camera, it would playback a video. Users could display a QR code from their smartphone to access personalized content and Administrators could access app settings by displaying an administrator only QR code. Team 2 was given the Innovation Award and a cash card.

I interviewed both teams to document the features of their apps and their impressions on working with the Surface and Windows 8.

Team 1 (Grand Prize winners) – Jared, Sam and Dave

Team 2 (Innovation Award winners) – Ryan and John

MokiTouch for Surface still requires plenty of development work to be ready for primetime, but we are off to a good start. Each of the teams loved developing for the Windows 8 platform and said the hardware was quick and responsive. You will see more Windows development from the team over the coming months.

What this hackathon demonstrates is the power of using a platform for remote settings management and tablet solutions like kiosks. The tablet kiosk market is nascent and will continue to change at a rapid pace, new devices and solutions are released all the time. Without a platform such as MokiManage, tablet kiosks will stick with the one or two devices and OSes that are already built or start from scratch every time to support each new device and operating system that comes along. MokiManage was built to extend to any platform and solution with a minimal amount of effort. These two teams just started scratching only the surface of what is possible, but still covered a tremendous amount of ground in a short period of time. With each new device, OS and opportunity the platform continues to improve and change, especially when you push the platform developers in new ways.

Which platform do you think will win in the kiosk space: iOS, Android or Windows?

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About the Author: Matthew Brown

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