N.C. A&T Takes Top Spot at Black Enterprise Hackathon for Second Year

Greensboro, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2017) – For the second consecutive year a team of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University computer science students took home the top prize for Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Summit BE SMART hackathon in Silicon Valley. 

Brandon Long, Aaren Avery, Kaila Billie and Jean Olivier Beya, better known as Aggie++, claimed the $40,000 grand prize for their winning app, TASHA, following the 24-36-hour hackathon sponsored ty Toyota.

“Toyota is a Japanese company and within the company they offer you Japanese terms to represent things within the company. We wanted a Japanese phrase that also had a strong meaning to it, would represent what she does and her skill. Because she is very skillful,” said Long, presenting TASHA to the audience and judges. “Aside from that we also wanted a name that is relatable.”

“TASHA is a customer assistant and mobile application that allows customers to have a personalized experience at home, in the dealership and in the car", he added”

Fifteen HBCU teams were charged with creating a virtual retail environment for Toyota and implementing a better and more personalized user experience for customers. TASHA allows users to access public data for all current vehicle models, explore a vehicle through a 360-degree virtual reality experience of what it’s like to sit in the car, obtain recommendations based on real-time responses and more.

The team’s presentation included a simulation of the app’s capabilities like providing directions to the dealership and a specific car, alerting a dealer of arrival, requesting the keys for a test drive and answering specific questions. The team made provision for nearly every scenario.

Beyond the purchase, TASHA will continue providing customer service by offering maintenance information and capturing customer feedback, which in turn will be funneled back to Toyota.

Students participating in the 2017 BE Smart Hackathon also had the opportunity to work with mentors from Toyota as well as from Twilio.