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!


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.


Appcelerator is Sponsoring Saturday Lunch

We are pleased to announce that Appcelerator is sponsoring Saturday Lunch at OTA12.

Founded in 2006 and based in Mountain View, unhealthy California, medical Appcelerator makes Titanium, cialis the leading mobile platform of choice for thousands of companies seizing the mobile opportunity. With more than 40,000 applications deployed on 50 million devices, the award-winning Titanium Platform leverages over 5,000 APIs to create native iOS and Android apps, and HTML5 mobile web apps. Appcelerator’s most popular product, Titanium, is an open source product used by hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide. Appcelerator offers a commercial subscription for enterprise grade version of Titanium as well as usage based services for its cloud platform.

OTA12 Programme – Friday @ 17:00

Liz Myers of Appcelerator, and the Titan Team: Ketan Majmudar, Boydlee Pollentine, Joe Maffia, and Simon Buckingham will be presenting the double-session workshop Appcelerator Titanium: From Zero to App on Friday at 17:00 in the Music Room in the Mansion.


The Appcelerator team will be looking for the best app made with Appcelerator Titanium – prizes awarded to individual/team of up to 3 people.


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. is Friday Afternoon Tea Sponsor

We are pleased to announce that is sponsoring a lovely spot of Tea on Friday Afternoon, at OTA12. provides a portfolio of technologies that extend an organisation’s existing online skills and investment to work on mobile devices as well. It delivers cost-effective, risk-free device detection, web optimisation and mobile analytics solutions enabling developers to maximise the customer’s experience of using a smaller screen. With over 25 years’ management expertise in developing and managing mobile web services, is used by 10,000s of websites and supports over 180 million devices visits every month. The company is headquartered in the UK and also has offices in India.

OTA12 Programme – Friday @ 12:15

James Roswell of will be presenting the workshop Adaptive Mobile Design with a Server Side Flavour on Friday at 12:15 in the Music Room in the Mansion.

1. Reminder of the macro and micro level challenges of mobile web development.
2. Review of customer usage context and test scenarios.
3. Live code demonstration of PHP, .NET and optimisation solutions.
4. Tips on how to develop reliable adaptive design solutions, quickly with minimal risk, to support all types of device.

 3 bottles of wine will be given away to the first three people to follow along and complete the .NET/PHP installation with us introduces simple mobile device detection for PHP developers, the leading provider of device detection and web optimisation solutions, has expanded its portfolio to include PHP. The PHP scripting language is powerful and flexible, making it a popular choice for web site developers. Around a third of all websites currently use PHP.

This means even more developers and site owners can now discover whether the visiting device is a tablet, whether it’s a smart phone, what the screen size is – and they can then adjust the online content accordingly.

Unlike other device detection solutions, does not require cloud services or external plug-ins and is free for commercial use.

There are just four straightforward implementation steps:

1: Download the file, which is available as a free beta via or by searching or for

2: Unzip the contents of the file into your PHP project folder.

3: Add a single line of code to your PHP file.

4: Discover what each device accessing your web site is (tablet, mobile, desktop, etc) and what it is capable of, enabling customised content and formatting to be applied to the resulting web page.

The PHP code is licensed under the Mozilla Public Licence 2.0 and is supported by a ‘freemium’ business model, which means there’s no charge for basic device detection – even for commercial use!

This new self-contained for PHP solution means developers can start using mobile device detection within three minutes. for PHP is being released as a beta, giving developers the ability to offer feedback that shapes the final product. Plug-ins will be available for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and CodeIgniter, with others planned for the future. The Premium version of device data will also offer the option of automatic updates when new handsets are released.

James Rosewell, CEO of, said “It’s never been easier to add mobile device detection to a web site. Our four steps take less than three minutes to implement: simply download, unzip, include and go mobile!”

Cloud services introduce an unnecessary additional complexity and, ultimately, offer a poor technical solution for any web site requiring device detection. The new beta version of for PHP demonstrates how it’s possible to detect mobile devices quickly, efficiently and – with our Lite product – for free. The result is a better experience for web site owners and for their online visitors. If you’re a web site owner, tell your developer to visit and let them show you how easy it is to get started.