General Questions & Submission Requirements
How do I follow the hackathon and get updates?
Who can I contact if I have questions about the hackathon? 
What do I need to use to build my bot?
Can I use an existing bot or do I have to create a completely new one?
What is Amazon Lex?
What are the most common use cases for Amazon Lex?
Do I have to be a machine learning expert to use Amazon Lex?
What is AWS Lambda?
How does Amazon Lex work with AWS Lambda?
Is there a cost for using Amazon Lex?
Is there a cost for using AWS Lambda?
What is AWS re:Invent?

Testing Process
How can I provide Devpost with access to test my solution?

Eligibility & IP
Who is eligible to enter the competition?
We are an organization. Can we enter?
Can more than one person work on a solution and receive credit for it? And if the app wins a prize, how will the prize money be split among the creators?
Can I enter more than one bot?
Do I retain intellectual property ownership? 
What else will you do with my submission?

 

How do I follow the hackathon and get updates?

When you register for the hackathon, you’ll automatically be signed up to receive email updates about it. Follow us on Twitter at @Devpost.

 

Who can I contact if I have questions about the hackathon?

Email aws-chatbot-challenge-2017@amazon.com or post a question to the Discussion Board. If you have questions about Amazon Lex, please visit the Lex Developer Forum. If you have questions about AWS Lambda, please visit our Lamdba Developer Forum.

 

What do I need to use to build my bot?

To be eligible for prizes, participants must build and submit a chatbot using Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda. App submissions must:

  • Build a conversational, natural language chatbot using Amazon Lex. Use Lex's integration with AWS Lambda ot execute logic on the backend, such as for fulfilling user intent or performing user data validation.
  • Be a new or existing bot (If existing, submitters must have updated theri bot to run on Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda during the submission period). 

While it is not a requirement, we also recommend that your submission:

  • Be deployed to Slack, Facebook Messenger, or Twilio
  • Use other AWS services
  • Record or retrieve data from sources like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics, Zendesk, and QuickBooks using LEx's pre-built enterprise connectors.
  • Incorporate speech capabilities using a service like Amazon Polly.

   

Can I use an existing bot or do I have to create a completely new one?

Yes, you can use an existing bot. Your bot is eligible as long as it is a working bot that runs on Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda.

 

What is Amazon Lex?

Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces using voice and text. Powered by the same conversational engine as Alexa, Lex provides high quality speech recognition and language understanding capabilities, enabling addition of sophisticated, natural language ‘chatbots’ to new and existing applications. Amazon Lex reduces multi-platform development effort, allowing you to easily publish your speech or text chatbots to mobile devices and multiple chat services, like Facebook Messenger. Native interoperability with AWS Lambda, AWS MobileHub and Amazon CloudWatch and easy integration with many other services on the AWS platform including Amazon Cognito, and Amazon DynamoDB makes bot development effortless.

 

What are the most common use cases for Amazon Lex?

The most common use-cases include:

  • Informational bot – build an automated customer support agent or bot that answers questions
  • Application/Transactional bot – build a stand-alone pizza ordering agent or a travel bot
  • Enterprise Productivity bot – build custom bots to connect to enterprise data resources

Device Control bot– use Amazon Lex to issue control commands to connected devices

 

Do I have to be a machine learning expert to use Amazon Lex?

No machine learning expertise is necessary to use Amazon Lex. Developers can declaratively specify the conversation flow and Lex will take care of the speech recognition and natural language understanding functionality. Developers provide some sample utterances in plain English and the different parameters/slots that they would like to collect from their user with the corresponding prompts. The language model gets built automatically.

What is AWS Lambda?

AWS Lambda lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You pay only for the compute time you consume - there is no charge when your code is not running. With Lambda, you can run code for virtually any type of application or backend service - all with zero administration. Just upload your code and Lambda takes care of everything required to run and scale your code with high availability. You can set up your code to automatically trigger from other AWS services or call it directly from any web or mobile app.

 
How does Amazon Lex work with AWS Lambda?

Amazon Lex leverages AWS Lambda for Intent fulfillment. To build an Amazon Lex bot you will identify a set of goals or ‘intents’ you want your bot to achieve. A bot can have multiple intents. For example, a ‘BookTickets’ bot can have intents to make reservations, cancel reservations and review reservations.

Lex provides deep integration with AWS Lambda and you can validate user input using the initialization and validation codeHook. This code gets executed at every turn of the conversation. The codehook can be used to set up session parameters, validate user input and customize responses.

 

Is there a cost for using Amazon Lex?

With Amazon Lex, you pay only for what you use. You are charged based on the number of text or voice requests processed by your bot, at $0.004 per voice request, and $.00075 per text request. Upon sign-up, new Amazon Lex customers can process up to 10,000 text requests and 5,000 speech requests per month for free during the first year. Details here.

The AWS Free Tier includes services with a free tier available for 12 months following your AWS sign-up date, as well as additional service offers that do not automatically expire at the end of your 12 month AWS Free Tier term. 

 

Is there a cost for using AWS Lambda?

With AWS Lambda, you pay only for what you use. You are charged based on the number of requests for your functions and the time your code executes. Lambda includes a free tier of one million requests per month and 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month for free. This does not expire at the end of your 12 month Free Tier Term and is available to both new and existing AWS users indefinitely. Details here. 

The AWS Free Tier includes services with a free tier available for 12 months following your AWS sign-up date, as well as additional service offers that do not automatically expire at the end of your 12 month AWS Free Tier term. 

 

What is AWS re:Invent?

AWS re:Invent is the largest global cloud computing conference and features keynote announcements, training and certification opportunities, more than 400 technical sessions, a partner expo, after-hours events, and more. It will be held in Las Vegas, NV on 11/27/17 – 12/1/17.

 

How can I provide Devpost with access to test my app?

Include a link to your bot code on GitHub. Your Github code repository may be public or private. If your repository is private, access must be given in the testing instructions provided with your submission. Github code will be used only for application review and testing. Make sure to include all deployment files and testing instructions needed for testing your bot.

  

Who is eligible to enter the competition?

The hackathon is open to individuals, and teams of eligible individuals, who have reached the age of majority in an eligible area of residence at the time of entry. The challenge is also open to legally registered corporations or organizations in eligible areas that employ fewer than 50 people at the time of entry. (See the next question for large organization eligibility.).

The competition will welcome submitters from around the globe. However individuals or organizations may be disqualified if they are based in a nation, state, province, or territory where U.S. or local law prohibits participating in the competition or receiving a prize. This includes individuals, who are residents of, and organizations domiciled in Brazil, Quebec, Cuba, Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Syria and any other country designated by the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Please review the Official Rules for complete eligibility requirements.

 

We are an organization. Can we enter?

Organizations with 50 or fewer employees may enter and compete for cash prizes. Organizations with more than 50 employees may enter and compete only for the Large Organization Recognition Award, which has no prize.

   

Can more than one person work on a bot and receive credit for it? And if the bot wins a prize, how will the prize money be split among the creators?

Yes, teams are encouraged. If a team of individuals or an organization is selected as an award winner, the full prize amount will be sent to the submitter. It will be up to the winning team or organization to reallocate the prize between the team members, as they deem it appropriate.

 

Can I enter more than one bot?

Yes. There is no limit to how many times an eligible person, team or organization may enter. An individual may also participate on behalf of more than one team, corporation, or nonprofit organization. However, if you submit two or more solutions that are identical or substantially similar, the Sponsor and Devpost reserve the right to disqualify all the submissions or require you to choose one submission to enter into the competition.

 

Do I retain intellectual property ownership?

Yes. By submitting a solution to the challenge, you do not transfer any intellectual property rights to the Sponsor or Devpost. The Sponsor and Devpost will have the right to feature all solutions entered in the competition for promotional purposes. See the Official Rules for details.

 

What else will you do with my submission?

The Sponsor and Devpost will have the right to publicly display your submission on the challenge website. They will also be allowed to publicize your name on the challenge website in connection with the submission and the challenge during the competition and after its conclusion. For more information on publicity rights, please see the Official Rules.