Interviews with our Sponsors

We asked a few of our sponsors about why they get involved in Hack Days:

“I have attended several hack days and developer conferences in the past years and I find them a great way to share knowledge and experiences, get feedback and to learn new things. You can always get docs, specs, presentations and almost everything else by searching online, but the human factor of live events always gives me something unexpected and valuable.” – Emanuele Bolognesi,  Head of AppsFuel

“We want to connect with developers, gather feedback on our APIs as well as gain knowledge on what other content developers would like to see on our platform.” Deborah Akinpelu, Pearson 

“The enthusiasm and knowledge of the people I meet is always inspiring and I learn so much.” James Rosewell,

It not only helps us reach our target audience and speak to developers who want to hear from us, but is also a nice way to give something back to the community” Terence Eden, InMobi

Does involvement in Hack Days have an impact on the further development of your products and services?

“Absolutely. Being involved in hackathons allows us to get a feel for not only what type of content we should work towards offering but also which data structures are more preferable and easier to use by developers, e.g. XML vs JSON”. – Deborah

Yes. We meet our customers (other developers) face to face and learn what challenges they have and hopefully what they like (and don’t like sometimes) about our products.” – James

“We use it for product feedback and user testing”. – Terence

“As you know we are currently working on AppsFuel, the new marketplace for HTML5 mobile web apps, recently launched in beta. AppsFuel‘s mission is to create a profitable ecosystem for developers. This is why it’s crucial for us to create tools that developers need to help them make their apps successful. So yes, meeting other developers at hack days such us OTA will inevitably have an impact on our own development decisions.” – Emanuele

There are a lot of different views on what defines Innovation, how it can be achieved, and how to nurture and support it within organisations. We think that the kind of creative tinkering, new learning, and collaboration that takes place at Hack Days lays the basis for future Innovations in the mobile industry and beyond. What are your own approaches to Innovation?

“a) Understand the problem really well, b) find a design that’s better than anything else, c) work really bloody hard to make it happen, d) listen to feedback, e) keep improving.” – James

The freedom to try (new) things in collaboration with the developer community. – Deborah

How do you see the role of developers in the future of the mobile industry?

They’re key – but in a long tail sense.  Pick up enough of them and hope that one becomes the next Angry Birds 🙂 – Terence

The mobile apps explosion has completely changed the role of the developers from supporting players to leading actors. Hugely successful products such as Instagram (or Angry Birds, Tap Tap Revenge and so on) were created by small teams of developers.Unfortunately the closed nature of native apps stores has already started creating problems for developers, that’s why we are betting on HTML5 with AppsFuel. This is the technology that will create the biggest opportunities in the near future. – Emanuele

We see developers moving away from platform-specific app development as cross-platform capabilities evolve. – Deborah

At the centre. The mobile industry is where the PC industry was in the early to mid 80s. Software will make or break multibillion dollar products and developers write the software. – James

What do you think is the key to a great app or a great mobile website?

A great user experience is very important. Listening to users and fixing bugs as needed or wanted is also key to a great app or mobile website. – Deborah

Everybody agrees that mobile apps should be simple, easy to use and must focus on a specific features. Some people say this does not apply to websites, but since people now mostly browse from smartphones or tablets, that’s not true anymore. The border between web and mobile web has disappeared and the difference between web apps and websites is fading. – Emanuele

Understanding what the user wants. Avoid pissing off your customer. Luck. – Terence

Understanding context. As just one example; where is the end user and what are they most likely to want where they are at this precise moment. – James

Do you have a view on the “next big thing” in the mobile industry?

Yes. The 100s of millions of web sites that don’t provide a good mobile experience being upgraded to support the small mobile screen, and mid sized tablet screens by relatively low skilled developers and end users. Ow. And machine to machine (smart meters, vending machines, etc) doubling the number of active mobile connections in the western world in only a few years. – James

No doubt about it: HTML5 web apps! – Emanuele

Micro-payments. People won’t pay 99p for a new set of levels – but they will pay 9p for a single level.
Internationalization. Developers from poor countries targeting rich countries for a big payout. – Terence

We envision an evolution of ‘App Stores‘. – Deborah

What changes would you like to see happen in the mobile industry to really accelerate innovation?

Reduction of the 30% fee from app stores. – Terence

Tizen, WeOS, Mozilla OS, others becoming a commercially viable alternative to Android with the huge budgets required to gain mass market adoption. I can but dream. – James

WebGL on mobile, full support of HTML5 and CSS3, including device APIs and the removal of browser vendor specific solutions. This will create an open and incredibly powerful cross-device development platform. – Emanuele

Thank-you for your time! We hope you had a great OTA12.

HMGCC is Gold Sponsor of OTA12

We are thrilled to announce that HMGCC is a Gold Sponsor of OTA12

There are few more important jobs than ensuring that our Government’s communications systems in the UK and around the globe are highly effective, pills completely reliable and totally secure. That’s exactly what our diverse team here at HMGCC do, discount ensuring that, generic sale in a digital age, our Government’s cyber security is assured.

A creative powerhouse and centre of excellence, we work across the whole product lifecycle, from research and design to development and production. We deliver bespoke communications systems, applications, hardware and software to meet our customer’s unique requirements.

Be sure to visit the team in the Mansion throughout the entire event!


BlueVia is a Gold Sponsor of OTA12

We are pleased to announce that BlueVia is a Gold Sponsor of OTA12.

BlueVia is the new global developer programme from Telefonica that helps developers take apps, seek web services, and ideas to market. Through BlueVia, we are working hard to expose powerful Telefonica capabilities in a simple, frictionless way using web technologies like RESTful API’s and OAuth. We hope you will take our tools and create innovative new products and services. Telefonica can assist you in taking your product to market, or you are free to distribute it in any way you wish.

Ground breaking business models mean that BlueVia offers you multiple opportunities to monetise your ideas. Develop and test your ideas with thousands of Telefonica customers via BlueVia’s beta catalogue. Truly understanding the needs of real customers ahead of launching your product is vital to avoid those deadly one or two star ratings in app stores.

OTA12 Programme

Friday @ 11:15

Francisco Jordano of Telefonica will be presenting the workshop Presenting the Open Web Device at 11:15 in the Drawing Room in the Mansion.

Friday @12:15

Dan Appelquist and Thomas Curtis will be presenting the workshop BlueVia: Year in Review and Looking Ahead at 12:15 in the Drawing Room in the Mansion.

Friday @ 17:00

Sam Machin and Kevin Prince of BlueVia / O2Labs will be presenting the workshop The Lab: Demo Cool Things!on Friday at 17:00 in the Marquee.



Friday @ 18:00

Nick Mullen of Telefonica Digital will be presenting the worksh0p The Making of TU Me on Friday at 18:00 in the Drawing Room in the Mansion


[hr]The BlueVia Marketing Tool Kit


A huge thanks to our Dinner & Drinks Sponsors

We are really grateful for the support of Future Platforms, Marmalade, Padajo, Sponge, and Twilio in helping to cover the cost of Friday Night Dinner & Drinks!

[hr]Future Platforms

The clever team at Future Platforms are Over the Air regulars – showing off their prowess in designing, developing & launching lovely software products for mobile phones, with an emphasis on collaboration, participation & playfulness.  Future Platforms has recently been named in the top three in the independently curated 2012 list of the World’s Best Mobile App Developers.

Check out their Hack Day entries in previous years: Project Bluebell at Over The Air 2009OctoBastard at Over the Air 2008

Future Platforms on the OTA12 Programme @ 3:30 on Friday

James Hugman will be presenting the workshop Kirin: A Single Page Web App, with a Native UI at 3:30 on Friday in the Drawing Room in the Mansion.

Enter the Kirin Challenge on the Hack Day Programme.


Marmalade makes software that lets developers build and distribute cross-platform applications quickly, easily and without compromise. Our true cross-platform technology provides the best performance and the best portability – and all within the industry’s most open and flexible development environment.

That’s why tens of thousands of the world’s leading developers use Marmalade. Leading publishers includingElectronic ArtsSquare Enix and Konami; OEMs such as SamsungLG and RIM; operators like Korea Telecom; processor platforms like ARM; apps developers like GameshastraRoadPilotWorkSnugPlaysoft andNaturalMotion, as well as thousands of indies all know that the richest cross-platform applications are made with Marmalade.

Marmalade is a trading name of Ideaworks3D Limited, which was originally founded in 1998. The unique technology behind the Marmalade SDK was developed between 2005 and 2008 and battle tested through the development and deployment of high profile games such as Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Need for Speed and Resident Evil to mobile devices. The SDK was launched as ‘Airplay SDK’ in late 2009, before becoming Marmalade in June 2011.

Marmalade on the OTA12 Programme @ 11:15 on Friday

Alex Caccia, President of Marmalade, will be presenting the Workshop Cross-platform with one click with Marmalade. It really is that easy at 11:15 on Friday in the Library in the Mansion.


padajo was started by Paul Johnston, a long time attendee and supporter of Over the Air. It is a new kind of consultancy with a focus on delivering ‘best of breed’ mobile apps and strategy.Paul has spent over 10 years working within the digital world, specialising in high end websites and service strategy and delivery for government departments and blue-chip clients.

Having spent time in several UK Digital and Integrated Agencies as Head of Digital and holding senior technical and Project Management roles, Paul had come to recognise that the mobile web and subsequently mobile apps were not properly understood by clients or agencies. Paul started padajo to fill this gap in the market. While there are some that can do the coding for an application there are very few in the UK who fully understand the necessary strategy and integration that an app can truly deliver. That’s what padajo is all about.


Long-time OTA Supporter, and Co-Organiser in 2009 & 2010, Jo Rabin has recently joined the Sponge Group as CTO – Congrats Jo! 

Since 2002, we’ve worked with 300 different brands and organisations, from the bluest of blue-chips to the most innovative of start-ups. And we’ve delivered more than 10,000 different Mobile campaigns. If you can do it on Mobile, we’ll have done it. Text, voice, picture, video, apps, Bluetooth, search, interactive content, image recognition, mCRM, mCoupons. We’ve not only designed and built mobile internet sites, we’ve helped our publishing partners develop and implement monetisation strategies around those sites.


OTA welcomes James Parton on the first day of his new job – as Twilio dials up the pizza!

Photocredit - Ewan Spence

Twilio is excited to join the mobile designers and developers this weekend, doing our part to help swamp Bletchley Park with beer and pizza. If it’s anything like last year bring your grappling hooks so you can repel down from the top of mount pepperoni.

I’ll be on site all day to answer questions about Twilio. Find me to say hello, I’ll be the one in the red Twilio track jacket. You can also tweet me @jamesparton, and try to catch me out with some difficult questions, as it’s my first official day representing Team Twilio.

New to the Twilio API? You can get started with a free trial here. Twilio is a web- service API that lets you use your existing web know how to build voice and SMS applications. Build apps that provide SMS notifications, apps that call your mum for you, and apps where you can make calls through the browser. We have mobile SDK for iOS and Android too. It’s quite easy to begin coding with Twilio, take a peak at the documentation here.

Can’t wait to see what you build.


Blackberry is Friday Night DJ Sponsor

We are pleased to announce that Blackberry is sponsoring the Friday Night DJ at OTA12.

BlackBerry is an open platform that provides a variety of development languages and runtimes designed to fit your skills. Your choice will be based on a combination of familiarity, ailment possibly having a pre-existing codebase as well as the target devices you wish to serve. When you develop for the BlackBerry® platform, cheap you’ll have access to the resources you need to be successful, ed including simulators, enterprise developer content and comprehensive UI Guidelines.

Programme – Friday @ 15:30 & Saturday @ 9:30

Luca Sale of Research in Motion will be presenting the workshop Do you do?…….BB10 development choices are banging on your door! on Friday at 15:30 in the Music Room in the Mansion.

Simon Howard of Research in Motion will be presenting the workshop Embrace the out-of-the-box elegance: eye candy UI with zero effort on Saturday at 9:30 in the Marquee Tent.




InMobi is Sponsoring Saturday Breakfast

We are pleased to announce that InMobi is sponsoring Saturday Breakfast at OTA12.

InMobi is the largest independent mobile advertising network. With offices on five continents InMobi provides advertisers, here publishers and developers with a uniquely global solution for advertising. The network is growing and now delivers the unprecedented ability to reach 587 Million consumers, in over 165 countries, through more than 93.4 Billion mobile ad impressions monthly. The recent acquisition of Sprout, a leading HTML5 authoring platform for mobile rich media, helps expand the InMobi offering to creative agencies and brands. InMobi is venture-backed by investors including: SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. The company hasoffices in Bangalore, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo. To learn more, please visit, follow us on Twitter @InMobi, or read our blog at

Programme – Friday @ 11:15 & Saturday @ 9:30

Terence Eden of InMobi will be presenting the workshop Everything You Know About QR Codes is WRONG! on Friday at 11:15 in the Music Room in the Mansion.

On Saturday at 9:30 in the Music Room in the Mansion Terence will be presenting the workshop Mobile Advertising with InMobi


Pearson is a Silver Sponsor

We are pleased to announce that Pearson is a Silver Sponsor of OTA12.

The company behind Penguin Books, the Financial Times and multiple education businesses now has a developer platform. Explore and test our APIs, and build your own applications using our exciting content.

OTA12 Programme – Saturday @ 9:30

Dan Murphy & Lawrie Nichols will be presenting the workshop Making useful & fun apps with content apis… (or, how to code something other than a book reader!) at 9:30 on Saturday in the Ballroom in the Mansion.

Last Autumn Pearson released it’s first set of content APIs. Since then we’ve been busy releasing more data and APIs, sponsoring events and talking to devs. In this workshop we’ll take a walk through some of the things we’ve seen being built, give some tips to consider ,and do a live code demo showing how you can easily build a game in about 30 minutes.

PayPal is Event Sponsor of OTA12

We are pleased to announce that PayPal is an Event Sponsor of OTA12.

In November 2009, check PayPal opened its global payments platform to third-party developers, pharmacy ushering in a new generation of innovative payments. PayPal is the world’s first truly open global online payment platform – giving developers access to its global payment engine built over the last decade with more than 110 million active PayPal accounts available in 190 markets and 25 currencies. The PayPal Developer Network puts developers in the driver’s seat, overnight pills providing the resources and the tools needed to change the future of payments – from mobile apps to web apps and social networks. Developers can now monetize their ideas and tap into the $30 trillion global payments opportunity – the next wave of payments innovation is now in their hands.

OTA12 Programme – Saturday @ 10:30

Saulius Zukauskas of PayPal will be presenting the workshop How Mobile Payment Innovations are Disrupting Commerce on Saturday at 10:30 in the Marquee Tent.
During the session he will cover the most recent trends in the mobile payments industry and how they are changing the face of commerce, both online and offline.

More about the PayPal Developer Programme

Vodafone is an Event Sponsor of OTA12

We are pleased to announce that Vodafone is an Event Sponsor of OTA12.

The Vodafone developer program encourages and supports mobile innovation by working with developers and start-ups across multiple technologies to bring their ideas and businesses to market and flourish.  Whether it’s learning more about Vodafone’s products and services at networking events, sale innovating with the hottest new mobile technology in the Labs section or staying in touch with other developers on the forums, doctor  Vodafone makes sure that developers have all the resources and expertise in one place. Combined with Vodafone’s powerful distribution channels, healing and access to millions of customers, Vodafone can open up a world of opportunities to you. We’re accepting Android apps from developers everywhere to appear in our Vodafone Shop, so start publishing your app in Europe now!

The mbed Rapid Prototyping platform provides the tools for efficiently prototyping ARM Cortex-M microcontroller-based designs. The mbed Microcontrollers are a series of ARM microcontroller development boards supported by an online tools platform, which provide a productive environment to build projects with the backing of libraries, resources and support shared in the mbed community. mbed is a versatile platform that enables developers to rapidly build intelligent embedded projects, including multiple transport ‘Internet of Things’ applications with a interface the physical world.

OTA12 Programme – Friday @ 12:15 & 18:00

Nicolas Herriot and Ashley Mills of Vodafone Group R&D will be presenting the workshop Anyone Can Code an Embedded Controller on Friday at 12:15 in the Morning Room.

Chris Styles of ARM will be presenting the workshop Cloud Development with Embedded Controllers and Connecting to Wide Area Networks on Friday at 18:00 in the Marquee Tent.
You will also be able to find the Vodafone M2M team in the Bar of the Mansion getting some hardware hacking going with mbed controllers and soldering irons!

OTA12 Hack Day – The Vodafone M2M Challenge

The Challenge

Create the most innovate and cool embedded hardware hack. This hack should show how an embedded device can be used to connect some aspect of a users life more intuitively to them. It can use any embedded hardware on the market (preferably Mbed) and connect using any wireless or fixed line technology (preferably a GSM, GPRS, or 3G one). It can even use a non-Vodafone cellular network!

The hack can connect:

  • embedded to embedded;
  • embedded to mobile; or
  • embedded to web.

Examples could be home control, energy saving by monitoring and control, industrial applications, generic cloud based asset tracking, home or industrial gateways and hubs, exposing UI’s of embedded devices for enhanced control, integration with CAN bus on vehicles, embedded safety equipment, sensor networks, telemetry tracking and activation or anything else you can imagine!

Get creative!

The Prizes:

The winning team will receive 2 x HTC One X phones, 2 x k3770 modems,2 x SIM payt 20 credit, and 2 x mbeds!

Nokia is sponsoring Friday Lunch

We are pleased to announce that Nokia is sponsoring Friday Lunch at OTA12.
Nokia is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their Nokia to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. Nokia’s technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world. For more information, visit

Nokia Developer is Nokia’s global developer community and support program. Nokia Developer brings together mobile developers from Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, and provides them with technical information on mobile application development platforms, technical information on and access to Nokia mobile devices and device emulators, SDKs and APIs, and technical support & technical consulting services. Nokia Developer also provides developers and mobile content providers with business and go-to-market assistance by providing access to sales & distribution channels and partnering opportunities.

OTA12 Programme – Friday @ 11:15

Bernd Mrohs of Nokia will be presenting the workshop HTML5 on Steroids: Creating high-performance mobile maps apps in HTML5 and Javascript on Friday at 11:15 in the Ballroom Room in the Mansion.

Hack Day Programme

John Cooper, Keith Varty, and Janaina Pilomia will be judging the Best WindowsPhone Entry category on the Hack Day Programme, and awarding mobile devices donated by Nokia to the members of the winning team.