I recently got back from AWS Re:Invent. I got in to Vegas early so I could do my usual NFL betting, play some poker, and watch some shows. I should have played less poker though as I showed up to the Hackathon a bit groggy which was not a great way to be a team player. We were given free Echo Dots this year and teamed up with organizations to try and find creative ways for them to use the smart devices. We were teamed up with FIA, or Federation for Internet Alerts, and it went fairly well. The end result for most teams was the request of ‘push notifications’ to these devices as some organizations, like FIA, provide the most value by telling you when a tornado or other natural disaster is occuring nearby. However, one team did come up with the very smart use of asking Alexa where the nearest emergency shelter was.

Towards the end of the Hackathon as things were settling down I met up with my coworker that was on another team collaborating with a different sponsor. Turns out we had a mutual situation in the sense of family members currently under hospice care and shared an idea for using these Echo Dots to facilitate that. I think we have a real opportunity hear to make something useful.