Sabre has already devised a unique and challenging spin on the traditional “hackathon” with this week’s “Innovation Garage.”  The challenge is not just about building the best hack (working prototype) but to present a business case for it as well.  The company took this already fantastic event to an even higher level last week as some of Sabre’s top talent reviewed the company’s best technology products and solutions with Innovation Garage participants. Organizers of this year’s event hosted a series of lunch-and-learn sessions to highlight some of the core Sabre technology available for use to build our 24-hour hacks.

The sessions were extremely helpful given the time limit and high expectations that have been set for the “Innovation Garage” Hack + Pitch event on June 11-12.

First up was an overview of Sabre Intelligence Exchange, a flexible and scalable IT platform designed to give a real-time, comprehensive view of compartmentalized data spanning across an entire airline. During the overview, the Sabre Intelligence Exchange chief architect showed us how airlines submit data from unconnected systems, which is then converted and stored in common formats ready for easy reuse. This real-time data process includes customized analytics reporting.

Next, Hack + Pitch participants received a Master of Business Administration curriculum overview from members of the Sabre finance team. They provided practical ‘how-to’s for planning, writing, and delivering a product case study. I found this session especially valuable since this year’s “Innovation Garage” Hackathon event demands “selling” our working prototypes by demonstrating profit, cost, and overall business value to the judges.

When comparing the lunch and learn sessions, the last one grabbed my full attention. This session focused on the newly released Sabre Dev Studio.

As an engineer, I view the Dev Studio portfolio as a completely modern programming Application Program Interface built as a REST-based service. What does that mean? It’s a well-crafted and rational experience for programmers requesting data using industry best practices. Practices many open-source programmers will quickly recognize. What type of data can be requested? I saw ways to request fare forecasting, flight search, hotel availability, and much more. I also was impressed that responses return fast and accurate – a rare mix.  All the data comes back in JSON format, which is another modern data format that many programming languages and libraries expect. Using these modern conventions makes my coding life easier when deadlines make my life tougher.

As much as I’m driven to learn new things, meeting my fellow “Innovation Garage” competitors was a highlight for me. Sabre is a big company, filled with interesting people of all backgrounds, skill sets, and points-of-view. By talking and engaging with them, I quickly appreciated curious minds wanting to build something unique. As much as I want to earn a top finish in the event, I’m just as eager to celebrate each of their successes.

Look out for my next blog, which will provide a summary of the completed “Innovation Garage” later this week. By then our hacks will be built, business cases delivered, and the results published. May the best hack win!