FIDO Hackathon in Korea: A Q&A with the Top 3 Winners and their Mentors
Editor’s Note: Since publishing the first blog on FIDO Hackathon in Korea back in July, we now have completed the final presentation evaluation and concluded with demo and award ceremony during the FIDO Seoul Seminar in late September. This blog contains special Q&A interviews conducted by local media and the Mentors and Mentees of the top 3 winners of the Hackathon. More stories on the rest of the finalists is shared in a separate blog post, “FIDO Hackathon in Korea: Meet the Finalists.”
By Henry Lee and Sanghun Won, Co-Chairs, FIDO Alliance Korea Working Group
Mentors: Dongho Kim, Samsung SDS, Kieun Shin, LINE and Sangwook Han, CrossCert
Mentees: Yeojin Lee representing Team Jekyll & Hyde (mentored by Samsung), Yushin Cho representing Team N-Key (mentored by LINE), and Nohyun Kawk representing TEEware (mentored by CrossCert).
Question: As FIDO Alliance Korea Working Group Technical Sub-Group Co-Leaders (Dongho and Kieun), what was the background or purpose of running a FIDO Hackathon – Developer Support Program this year?
Dongho: Since FIDO Alliance Korea Working Group announced 2019 would be the year of FIDO deployment, the members sought various ways to make it happen. The idea of running a Hackathon seemed to be a perfect fit since we realized a one-day workshop or seminar had its limits to fully demonstrate the strength of FIDO protocols. Based on my earlier experiences of volunteering at school coding classes and joining local Hackathon events, it was understood that submerging ourselves with these young minds was the best way to reach out to local developer community.
Kieun: We have been trying our best to introduce FIDO-based services to the market. Being able to learn creative ideas and approaches to deploy FIDO was the key purpose of launching such an event. Identifying a potential partners and high-skilled engineers were unexpected bonuses.
Question: What motivated your team to participate in the FIDO Hackathon?
Nohyun: TEEware is a startup founded by members of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) Graduate School of Information Security, and we thought the FIDO Hackathon was an ideal platform to verify our idea to combine FIDO protocols with decentralized ID for electronic contract projects.
Yushin: All of our team members are at their 2nd or 3rd year of university with experience of participating over dozens of local Hackathon events hosted by government agencies and private companies. We all thought the FIDO Hackathon was unique and much more meaningful, compared to other local half-day or one-day Hackathon event. It gave us an opportunity to engage deeply with Mentors with lots of hands-on experiences in the industry, which eventually helped us realize the FIDO-enabled Kiosk proof of concept in a timely manner.
Yeojin: As a school graduation project, our team members had an idea to make authentication much stronger and simpler by combining FIDO protocol with QR codes, but did not know how to move forward, due to the fact that we never had such scale of project experiences as college students. By working with Mentors and communicating with other teams participating in the FIDO Hackathon, we could quickly fill the technical gaps.
Question: As a Mentor or Mentee, what was the most challenging aspect of the program?
Dongho: In the beginning, we thought inviting talented teams to participate in the program was the most challenging, due to the fact that we weren’t able to be competitive with other Hackathon programs in terms of prize money or gifts. We stayed focused on what was achievable and provided a simple, clear message to the public about what we wanted to accomplish. In the end, magic happened. Not only did more than 40 teams participate in the initial screening process, but we had 12 of them completing the proof of concepts through the mentorship program.
Yeojin: Right from the beginning of the mentorship program, the team members realized that the way we do projects at school were very different from how things were done in the field. We also had to quickly build a bridge between what we know as concept or academic theory and what or how things are actually done in business. That was the most challenging, yet most rewarding at the same time, because learning something like that as a student is priceless.
Yushin: Our team members came from 3 different universities and we have never worked as a team before. What we thought as a simple issue in the beginning were later found to be the toughest hurdle. Thanks to our mentor’s close and frequently scheduled guidance, we were able to stay as a team and never give up. We learned the importance of human factors and soft skills while conducting such a project.
Sangwook: Unlike other teams that are consisted of university students, TEEware was a young startup with extremely demanding business schedules. By closely communicating with the team, we were able to narrow down the project scope, which fits the purpose of the Hackathon program, and successfully complete the project in a timely manner.
Question: What are the tangible or intangible assets you earned from the FIDO Hackathon program?
Sangwook: As an engineer, I was only able to see a small aspect of FIDO protocols, log-in and log-out, so far. However, the FIDO Hackathon opened up our eyes by understanding how FIDO can be presented as a solution to various technical or social problems. CrossCert has signed a business partnership with TEEware and you will see future products spinning out from this result very soon.
Nohyun: By participating the FIDO Hackathon, we were able to study the feasibility of our product and closely listen to potential clients’ needs. These lessons will be reflected upon our future business and product development plans.
Kieun: Surprisingly, I learned a lot by teaching and communicating with these young university students. Acquiring new ideas, being able to set our future products or services roadmaps, and understanding how to work with external partners with fresh minds were incredible assets that I earned.
Yushin: Besides the fact that we have earned the Top 3 Awards with prizes and trophies, it was so satisfying to see our rough idea to successfully go through proof of concept process. It is something that I could never accomplish in any other short-term Hackathon events.
Dongho: I was so happy to see the general public and local developers got to understand more about FIDO protocols, fixing misunderstanding around FIDO. Internally, the FIDO Hackathon helped FIDO Alliance Korea Working Group members to collaborate with each other for the very first time, by shooting for a single target and supporting the local developer community.
Please visit FIDO Alliance SlideShare for detailed presentations of FIDO Hackathon Top 3 Winners:
- LINE X N-Key: P.42~53
- Samsung X Jekyll & Hyde: P.60~73
- CrossCert X TEEware: P.80~97
Following Mentors are available for further discussions on their FIDO Hackathon outcomes: