Bletchley Park Mansion OTA11 – photo by Michael Dales

After a one year hiatus, we are now planning the 7th Over the Air, for the 25th and 26th of September, 2015.

The 6th annual Over the Air took place on Friday & Saturday the 27th & 28th of September at Bletchley Park. For two days we were based at Station X, hacking in the shadows of the WWII Enigma & Lorenz code-breakers, and hanging out at the home of Colossus the world’s first programmable computer….geek heaven!



Ariel Waldman’s opening Keynote “Hacking Science & Space Exploration” at OTA12

Over the Air is a unique tech-agnostic event for and by the developer community,  featuring technical workshops where attendees can roll up their sleeves and tinker with new mobile & web platforms, operating systems, APIs & open hardware. The tutorial sessions feature real business cases, new insights and a healthy dollop of inspiration.




Inside the Mansion OTA12 – photo by Martin Cunningham

Attendees are invited to stay overnight so that they can work on ideas, apps and hacks on the fly – to be entered into the various Hack Day competition categories and demo’ed on the second day. It’s a great vibe of bean bags, gadgets, knowledge sharing, hacking & lots of good fun.

Hacking on the Lawn at OTA11





Because the event is free to attend (other than a small £5 donation to a related charity) we completely rely on the generosity of our sponsors to cover our costs and keep the event free to attend. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, please get in touch with margaret at overtheair dot org.

What’s Over the Air?

Over the Air is an event that defies easy description. It’s a celebration of creativity. It’s a festival of all things mobile. It’s a place where attendees can learn about technologies, trends and techniques. It’s a sleep-over. It’s a two day party. It’s an event where practitioners of creative and technical disciplines can come together to learn from each other. It’s about recognizing software development as a creative discipline. It’s an opportunity to build new relationships. It’s a space where you can build cool stuff and show it off to an appreciative crowd. It’s all these things. And by the way, it’s free.

We promise the following: if you attend, you will learn about stuff you didn’t know about before, will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with people you haven’t met before, will be inspired, and possibly amazed. By the end of the day Saturday, you will definitely be exhausted. We’re not saying it will change your life, but we’re not saying it won’t either.


Over the Air was developed as a concept between a group of like-minded people off the back of the highly successful Hack Days in 2007 and 2008, and the clear need in the mobile industry calendar for an event that was by developers for developers. Instigated by Daniel Appelquist – Over the Air is the creation of Dan, Margaret Gold and Ian Forrester. Matthew Cashmore joined the pioneering team at the last minute to save our hides and has been part of the core team ever since. Ian has since moved on to be a cheerleader from afar, and a number of people have played key organising roles over the years. (namely Jo Rabin, Steve Wolak, Tim Haysom, and Helen Keegan)

Our philosophy is simple

  • it’s about the community, not the organisers
  • it’s not commercial and it’s not fan-boy
  • it’s about creativity, experimentation & letting the imagination reign
  • and it’s gotta be free


Over the Air 2011

…was a truly amazing gathering of creative and talented developersinformative and passionate speakers, and companies that are wonderfully supportive of the whole community. Not to mention the weather. Wow, the weather! (An October record apparently)

It’s exactly this buzzing combination of community & creativity & energy that makes all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes absolutely worth it. When I see that first stream of attendees arriving at the registration tables, I always think “it’s yours now, my part’s done”.

In fact, we hit a new record ourselves: over 600 people came to the event over the weekend, with nearly 500 with us for lunch on Friday. For any of you that were at the Friday evening Ignite Bletchley Park talks, I think you’ll agree that an epic amount of pizza was consumed as well! The head-count in the Mansion at 2:00 am (which doesn’t include those in the Marquee or in tents on the lawn) was 120. Amazing.

Although OTA11 was free to attend as always, we did ask attendees this year to make a small donation to the Bletchley Park Trust, and we’re thrilled to announce that we managed to raise (at the time of writing this post) £2,293.77 on their behalf. (Please note that the National Museum of Computing is a separate charity, who would very much welcome your support as well.)

We’re also chuffed that the BlueVia team chose OTA11 as the time and place to not only debut their new BlueVia t-shirts, but also to launch ConnFu (which is still in closed beta).

There is an Over the Air Group Pool over on Flickr, if you’ve taken photos, please add them there.

Many of you have taken Instagram shots, like this glorious view of sunrise over the tents on the lawn taken by mdales – we hope you upload those as well.

We’ve asked all of our speakers to upload their slides to Slideshare and tag them ota11 and overtheair; as well as adding them to Lanyrd. Feel free to add stuff to our Facebook Page as well. For those of you who missed it, you may want to check out the Twitter feed to get a feel for the goings-on.

2011 Blog Coverage

Adam Cohen-Rose’s Workshop Session Notes at OTA11

Ubelly’s Interview with Lyza Danger Gardner 

Ubelly’s write-up of Day One at Over the Air

Simon Judge on Over the Air and Kirin

Caroline Mockett’s blog post about attending OTA11

Stephen Nicholas on his QuickR entry

Giorgio Venturi on Cracking the User Experience at OTA11 

Ashley Burton’s OTA11 Mobile Web Notes and Wrap-up

Dan Murphy’s post on the Pearson Blog

Novoda on their Wearable Build Status Bot

Andrew Savory on Over the Air 2010, 2011

Tom Hume on Andrew Betts’ talk about the FT  iPad web app

Tom Hume on Open-sourcing Kirin at OTA

Franco Papeschi on One Day at Over the Air 

Dale Lane on his competition entries at Over the Air 2011 

Dale Lane on using BlueVia APIs


2011 Media Coverage

Forbes - Bletchley Park Coders take on the Mobile World

BBC Internet Blog - Camping in a Digital Public Space: Over the Air 2011

The Fonecast - I’m no developer, but I still fell in love with Over the Air

Huffington Post - Hackers get Hired at Bletchley Park

TechCrunch - Mobile devs need to get to Over the Air this week

Guardian Apps Blog - London to become mobile centre of the world – for a week 



David Vella’s “hastily put together video” on Vimeo.

Bill Thompson’s Ignite Talk on YouTube

Terence Eden’s Ignite Talk on YouTube



Audio report – The Fonecast - Interview with Dr. Sue Black, Daniel Appelquist & Paul Johnston


Who comes to Over the Air?

Curious who comes to Over the Air? Here is a break-down of job titles from 2009 & 2010:

These are the places that people come from