BBVA API Market
How do you find the best travel companions? Is there any way to avoid queuing and crowds when visiting a city’s main tourist attractions? Is it necessary to travel with so much bulk? Until now, these questions were answered only with intuition and common sense, but technology now helps you decide with data. Some good examples were recently seen in Madrid at Hackatrips, a hackathon held during the recent edition of the Fitur fair, co-organized with the minube travelers’ social network, and in which BBVA APIs played an important role.
During a whole day, more than 80 programmers and designers met to develop the best prototypes of apps or websites for tourist use based on the APIs of the collaborating companies: BBVA, Oracle, Hotels Combined and minube.
At the end of the hackathon, each company chose the project that made the most of their APIs. The BBVA Award went to Grupa, an app that creates traveler profiles based on the credit card spending data that the user provides for analysis. Thanks to this segmentation, the application is able to find related profiles, allowing it to suggest group travel experiences. In addition, the app proposes the best tourist routes at the destination, avoiding overcrowding. How does it determine the best routes? By analyzing aggregated and anonymized statistics on consumption with BBVA cards.
Raúl Lucas, Head of BBVA Open APIs, awarded the prize of 2,500 euros to the creators of Grupa, who used the BBVA APIs SEL (Socio-Economic & Lifestyle information), Accounts, and Customers to create homogeneous groups of travelers, and PayStats, which allowed them to determine the periods and destinations with lower prices and fewer tourists.
“BBVA’s APIs were the heart of Grupa, since with the information we obtained from them we could create economic and social profiles of the user automatically and recommend appropriate plans, predict the best visiting times and finally look for compatible companions to travel with. With the user’s authorization and using BBVA’s APIs, we could obtain reliable and up-to-date information without having to ask the user a single question”, explained Nandana Mihindukulasooriya. This Artificial Intelligence PhD student in the Ontology Engineering Group of the Polytechnic University of Madrid is one of the creators of the app awarded by BBVA, along with Pablo Cano, Mario Verdú and Ricardo Crespo, a professional in machine learning and Big Data, who was impressed by “the great ideas” that were put on the table at Hackatrips. Verdú, a freelance designer, believes the main reason they won the €2,500 prize was due to the originality of their idea.
Cano, a software developer and computer engineering student, points out that there are already many companies trying to improve the tourism experience through technology, but “looking at BBVA’s APIs, the experience with tourism could be improved if there were collaboration with banks” to obtain more and better financial information.
TravelerSoul, the prototype that won the Grand Jury Award, also uses financial APIs. This app allows travelers to use bulky objects, such as a guitar or a surfboard, at their destination, without having to travel with them as they are provided by other members of the platform.
TravelerSoul also benefits from APIs of companies involved in Hackatrips, such as BBVA’s Payments, with which the user can make microtransfers in exchange for the loan of objects. This is another example of how APIs can fuel new and better tourism experiences.
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