Innovative teams at this year’s ATEC Developer Challenge showed how state-of-the-technologies such as augmented reality and big data analytics can expand the functionalities of digital payment platforms far beyond simple money transfers.
Held October 11-12 in San Francisco, the Challenge featured teams of top university students, experienced developers, startup founders, serial Hackathon winners and other assorted hopefuls.
Peter Ma and Ethan Fan (team Futuristic) stunned the venue with their AR-powered demo and won Best Creative Idea Award. Their project, based on Alibaba’s subsidiary digital payment platform Alipay, transformed website product images into virtual 3D entities viewable on a smartphone screen. Users could rotate and change the perspective of the virtual product, and click a button to proceed to a shopping interface.
Stanford students Rui Liu and Alice Zheng (team RADIAnt) won the Best Social Value Award category with their shared economy model, which used Alipay’s big data analytic tools to optimize the shared usage of physical spaces for parties, events and so on.
ATEC (Ant Technology Exploration Conference) Developer Challenge was a session in the Alibaba Computing Conference co-organized by Synced Technology, China’s leading machine intelligence media outlet; and online payment provider Ant Financial.
Ant Financial provides over 520 million annual active users in China and internationally with popular services like Alipay; Yuebao, the world’s top money market fund; and Huabei, a credit product that offers loans of 1,000 yuan ($161) to 30,000 yuan($4,550).
The competition challenged teams to build Alipay mini-programs that were judged on creativity, social & commercial value, and user experience. Ant Financial sees the Challenge as an opportunity to explore innovations for the betterment of Alipay. Alipay partnered this year with US payment processing firm First Data, providing access to the American market and more than four million retailers.
The ten local teams in the final round of the Challenge had 24 hours to complete their projects. Their five-minute demonstrations were scored by a panel of four judges: Kaisheng Yao, Senior Staff Engineer at Alipay US; Adam Kell, Investment Partner at Comet Labs; Yuming He, Senior Expert at Alipay; and Amit Aggarwal, CTO of AI startup Bloomtech.
“It was really exciting to see all the different applications, and I was impressed by the demos and the techniques each team put together in 24 hours,” said Adam.
Winning teams received a cash prize of US$10,000 and an Ant Financial advertising and promotion award valued at US$40,000.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen