Sep 10, 2019

Get to know the winner of Student Challenge and his project

A short interview with Matěj Krček, a 16-year-old grammar school student about his app Sport Travel Agency

Meet John, a fan of Arsenal, who wants to visit a live match of Arsenal in Barcelona. John is a bit impatient and he doesn’t want to go through all the possible websites to book his flight. In the best possible scenario, he just wants to say aloud, “I want to go to the next match Arsenal vs. Barcelona” and have everything solved for him.

In a nutshell, this is what Sport Travel Agency can do. Never heard of it? That’s a pity! It is the winning project of our recent Student Challenge. The creator, Matěj Krček — a 16-year-old student at Gymnasium Vídeňská in Brno, Czech Republic — is interested in modern technology, coding, business and marketing. His big hobby is creating applications for Google Assistant, Facebook Chatbots, JavaScript, Node.js and Python.

Learn more about him and his app in this short interview.

What is Sport Travel Agency?

Sport Travel Agency is a voice application for Google Assistant, mainly for sports fans. Specifically, it is directed at fans who want to go and watch their favourite team without exploring the city. They don’t want to stay for a long time there, either. Sport Travel Agency finds the best travel connections directly to the match.

What will you do with the air ticket vouchers that you won?

I would love to visit the USA or Australia, but also some European cities.

How did you learn about the Kiwi Student Challenge?

I attended the Voice Hackathon organised by GDG and, where I was designing my first app on Google Assistant. In the end, someone mentioned the Challenge, and it seemed very interesting. Then, I started to code the app.

How did you get the idea for this app?

I started to develop the Google Assistant apps from the Voice Hackathon, so I knew that I will use the Google Assistant. There was a Wimbledon tennis match on TV when I got an idea about the application for sports fans who want to see the match live.

And how does your app work?

When you state the departure and arrival destination, the app converts the city’s name to the city code using Kiwi Tequila. For example, from Prague to PRG. When everything gets prepared, it starts searching for the flight using the API. After that, it reads all important data from the API, e.g. local arrival time.

Matěj (on the left) and the main organiser of Student Challenge, Ladislav Vašek

Can you go a bit deeper in describing the technical aspects of your app? How did you proceed when developing it, were there any dead ends and what was the biggest challenge?

There are two sections: the first is voice recognition based on artificial intelligence. For this and for the mainframe, I used Google Dialogflow. The second is designing and coding your application. My Google Assistant application is coded in Typescript. It is not as difficult to create it as it may seem.

When it came to the development process, I enjoyed it a lot. First, I got the idea for the app, then I created the frame of the app. After that, I just worked with APIs and more features.

I did not encounter a dead-end, though I did get stuck once. But it’s nice when you have friends who can help you. The biggest challenge was definitely the data about upcoming matches.

Where do you get the data about upcoming matches? Are you scraping or do you use some API, too?

There are two options. The first is to buy access to a database with information about the matches. And the second is to mine data by yourself — that’s the thing I am currently working on in Python.

Do you want to continue developing this app?

Yes. I am working on the website, where you just write the match you would like to see, and you will get the best travel connection. And, I’ve just registered it on the Czech version of Kickstarter — Startovac, so that everybody who likes this project can support me. I would really appreciate it.

Where can we try it?

The app is currently available on Google Assistant & Google Home devices. Just say: “Hey Google, talk to Sport Travel Agency” or check the link. Hope you will like it!

Was the feedback session with people valuable for you?

Yes, definitely. I’ve got many good points to my project about business and marketing, and I learned how big companies like work.

Would you recommend other students to sign up next time?

Sure. They gain loads of new experiences, courage and contacts along the way.

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