ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-In an effort to get one step ahead of online threats, PSCU will host its first-ever "Hackathon" Oct. 19 and 20 with the first prize winners receiving a Royal Caribbean cruise.

"We took a broad approach to participants as we wanted people without a technical background to be able to story board ideas and concepts such as flow, ability, value propositions and determining markets needs," said Denise Stevens, vice president of Innovation. "Of course technology people providing code would be great, too, and we expect that."

The idea for the Hackathon 2012 was born from PSCU employees using internal ideation software. That idea grew into PSCU working with advisory groups comprised, in part, of credit union employees. "To start, we were looking for ways to come up with outstanding products and services that could move the credit industry forward," said Stevens.

While credit unions are continually fighting off hackers, be it through firewall monitoring card transactions, hacking is a continual threat impacting all industries. For example, earlier this summer, Apple user IDs (UDIDs) were perpetrated.

It for these reasons, and others, PCSU invited its member-owner credit unions to compete in the Hackathon at the CUSO's M�PRO Innovation Lab in St. Petersburg. At the event, teams of software designers, programmers and analysts will compete for prizes. From noon on Oct. 19 to noon on Oct. 20, design teams will have 24 hours to produce a viable proof of concept or working demo of a service, solution or process that delivers real, cutting edge value for credit unions.

"We are prepared for teams to work around the clock if need be," said Stevens. "We'll have snacks, pizza, Red Bull and a barista available." In total there will be three judges at the event, including a representative from Google.


Up To 100 Participants Expected

On Sept. 11, PSCU had roughly 60 participants registered, though Stevens expects that number to be closer to 100 as the event nears. Teams will be broken down to four or five participants each. "For those who want to participate but cannot make it to St. Petersburg, they can meet in our Phoenix or Michigan locations; also, they can participate in Google Hangout rooms," said Stevens.

While there will be second and third prizes aside from the Caribbean cruise, Stevens is most excited about the possibility of a product or service that will be used in the market place.

"I obviously can't divulge some of the ideas that I have heard, but they are great-really innovative products and services," she said. "Depending on what the prototype looks like will determine when it can hit the market. If it is in a suite of services we currently provide, the winning idea would be budgeted to go to market in 2013."

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