Audience Question: Would the app have to be developed in technology that you currently have in place within the organization so you could support as you move forward?
Answer: We’re not looking to host any type of technology on our servers. Also, someone had mentioned prior to the actual kickoff event, if they could submit a mobile app that has used the transit data that they’ve created, or something that they’ve created already? The answer is yes, they can. As long as it’s data that’s being pulled from our transit data, if something’s been created already, you can submit that if you want.
Audience Question: So to be clear, if I develop this application and you want to propagate it, you would look to me as an individual to host it and support it for the user population?
Audience Question: OK.
Answer: In terms of the way we do business, procurement-wise, we can’t. I think that if afterwards, that if there’s interest and if Metro is interested in the app, we can start talking about it. If there’s an app that we’re interested in buying, there’s always an opening to that. But currently, for this challenge we’re looking for public-hosted. We’re not looking to host anything internally yet.
Audience Question: Are the mash-ups directed towards mobile apps?
Answer: Please refer to the categories. The web mash-ups are not. That’s why we came up with the category. We have a few that are mobile-specific, but we don’t want to ignore web or desktop also. So, no, we still love desktop.
Audience Question: You mentioned price. In what respect do you mean price? The price of our product to Metro, or the price to the end user?
Answer: Yes, sir, the price to the end user. We are not saying that you guys cannot associate a price to that app, but it is a factor in the judging criteria. I guess one example could be it there are two apps that are just as outstanding, but one costs five dollars and one is free, that will weigh into the consideration.
Audience Question: So the contest is going to be for products that can only be sold to end users? For the college category, does transit need to be the primary focus of that?
Answer: Absolutely not. As long as it’s an app that someone in the college market would use that incorporates your data. Whatever you wanted to create. Almost whatever you want to create.
Audience Question: In terms of intellectual property, that would remain with the developer?
Answer: The app is… The developer always retains the IP. You won your app, Metro does not own your app.
Audience Question: How much are you buying?
Answer: It depends on if we decide to buy it.
Audience Question: Can the mobile app be delivered over the web?
Answer: Sure. It can be delivered over the web.
Audience Question: Or is it supposed to be a native app?
Answer: Oh, can it be just a web-enabled mobile app? Yes. That’s perfectly fine.
Audience Question: I think I vaguely remember seeing something about an app that’s going to be open source?
Answer: Yeah. That’s actually… Strike that out of your mind. That was early on in one of the categories, but we were able to have that step in the category change. So that is no longer the situation.
Audience Question: Would you consider making an open source category?
Answer: We’ll think about it.
Audience Question: You are saying that price plays a role in the judging process; but would open source also play a role in the judging process as well? If two apps are equally the same and they’re both free, but one’s open source.
Answer: We’re interested in useful tools for regular people, people who use the transit system. Developers use open source code. OK.
Audience Question: First of all, I’m still a little confused about price. So is it an app that costs nothing because it was simply supplied to you as part of this contest preferable or judged better than an app that costs five dollars? Or is that app that costs five dollars better because it could provide a revenue source?
Answer: I think it’s one of several factors that play into it. I think that the example you cited would not be how we view it.
Audience Question: I’m asking how do you view price? Is it the higher the price the better the profit or the higher the price the less we’re interested?
Answer: That’s a good question. Well, I’m thinking by user’s perspective that, obviously… Again, I’ll give you the example of two apps. There are two outstanding apps and one’s available to our users for free versus one that’s five, six dollars pay, you have to pay five or six dollars. We review the one that’s probably free as more accessible just because they don’t have to pay for anything. So it’s one factor in the judging. The reason why I’m answering that way is because I cannot tell you whether the price is on that. All I can tell you is that price is a factor in the judging criteria.
Audience Question: I worked with an organization that put a public facing app some years ago for another city, and the response was overwhelming. Thankfully, we had the infrastructure to support that without them paying. So let’s say that you pick an application, I guess it would be more of the web mash up than the portable apps, and it gets stressed and it crashes. Who bears the exposure for that? That could be a PR disaster for Metro.
Answer: Well, we’re… I think the developer. Again, we’re posing ourselves as the enabler. We’re releasing data that developers can use, but do these apps belong to Metro? They don’t. Will we promote them? We will. I think that’s a really fantastic problem to have where…
Audience Question: How would you vet the application in terms of data quality and with what the app is supposed to enable them to do? Will you have some sort of testing regimen?
Answer: Our panel is going to test. We do have technical people on the panel. Again, they’re… That’s a good thing to bring it up. We weren’t thinking to extrapolate and tear apart your code. That’s not something we want to do. We’re interested in useful apps. But, that’s something that we could consider. We’re not interested in basically proofreading your code.
Audience Question: So there will not be a source code overview?
Audience Question: Is the API going to change at all between now and the completion of the contest or is it done?
Answer: Well, we certainly hope not. We would change it to accommodate some demands from our users. So as far as I’m concerned, no, let’s keep it the way it is.
Audience Question: Are the APIs that we’re going to be allowed to use, are they going to stay open after the competition?
Answer: Yes, yes. We’re using the competition to kind of spur a lot of excitement and movement and get the word out, but the data is there. It’s not going anywhere. It’ll be there.
Audience Question: Are we allowed multiple submissions per person?
Answer: Yes. Yes sir, you are. Also, if by chance there are a couple of you guys who are deciding to team up, maybe work together on one of the submissions, you can submit as a group. Then, let’s say these two gentlemen up front decide to become a dynamic duo, they win one of the categories, the one prize would be awarded to the two gentlemen. That one prize would be split among the two of them.
Audience Question: Say we have a web mash-up and somebody happened to submit our web mash-up into the challenge without our knowing, what would be the result of that? Would there be an investigation into who actually created it or is it just going to be accepted and that person might just show up and win an award? I mean being created, being used, being available, but I don’t submit it until it’s completed, I was wondering if anybody else will see it and submit it just for the heck of it?
Answer: I think what we can do is, with these submittals, all of the entries that we get, we can do a reverse security check. Will that be acceptable? Also, there’s language in the official rules that state when people are submitted, they are acknowledging that it is their own creation. So there’s always the chance that will happen to you anyway, so I think Chi’s suggesting at least one step reducing the chances of something like that happening with the submissions.