Microsoft’s annual Imagine Cup has been gaining a lot of momentum over the last couple of months and it is almost time for the worldwide finals. This year, the event is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and there are a number of African teams who have made the cut to compete within the Innovation Competition category.
The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, where competitors present their best apps, program innovations and programming skills to a panel of expert judges. IT News Africa will be in Russia from 8 – 12 July to cover all the award ceremonies, technology displays and innovation showcases.
To qualify for the worldwide finals, each team had to compete in- and win their respective regional finals.
In total, there are 12 African teams competing for the $1-million prize money, but five nations from the continent will battle it out in the Innovation Competition category.
Team MASKed Ninjas from Egypt developed a Windows 8/Windows phone application called Videolator, which allows users to scan text from newspapers or any other text-based surface, and delivers videos from the internet related to the text.
“We noticed that news represented in newspapers with images is missing some action, so we thought of adding some movements by getting videos talking about these news. This is inspired from newspapers in Harry Potter movies,” the team said.
Team MASKed Ninjas’ Mohamed Abdellah said that he hopes that all readers will one day make use of their app, as it delivers news in a new exciting format. “Welcome to the era of live newspapers. We are dreaming that all daily newspaper readers will use our Videolator”
Team PI Craft from Kenya developed a solution to aid homeless and street children by correlating homes for street children with charitable organizations.
Their innovation, called Protégé, uses Azure Cloud Services “to interconnect homes for street children with charitable organizations and other willing donors, enabling secure donations of any type to these facilities such as clothes, food or money”.
Team member Collins Omwenga thought of the idea when he saw street children in clothes that did not fit. He decided to construct an innovative solution that ensure children get the resources they needed.
“With the growth of cloud and mobile computing, great humanitarian challenges such as the state of homelessness of many orphaned and deserted children shrink as we apply our current technology to come to their aid by providing long lasting solutions,” team member Paul Mutie Mwanzia said.
Team GreenMust from Morocco took a look at the environment and developed a Web/Mobile platform called Greenmust. Their app connects producers of large-quantity trash with recyclers from around the world.
“A waste producer could geolocate himself through a Windows Phone Application; Collectors are then notified and could include this one into one of their collection campaigns. Industrial waste producers can make auctions on their recyclables so Recyclers can bid or outbid on them,” the team explained.
The team explained how the idea came about. “The idea of GreenMust took birth during Brainstorming sessions programmed into the framework of Innovative Economy courses of Suptechnology University of Casablanca. In our University we are all concerned by environmental issues that are mostly related to the current global waste, and that was what inspired us to implement the GreenMust platform.”
South Africa’s team developed a cloud based social media monitoring, market research and analytics platform called SentiMeter. The application allows brands and companies to measure their brand, products and services, across various social platforms and in real time.
“Our platform creates the ideal opportunity for organizations to develop a Business and Competitive Intelligence culture, allowing the organization to grow their brand, monitor performance and gain real time insights in radical new ways.
Organizations now have the ability to adapt and respond to trends and opinions that affect their brand in real time, allowing them to effectively and efficiently manage their public perception, brand, products and services,” the team explained.
SentiMeter’s CIO explained that they see incredibly growth for their innovation. “We see real world value in our platform, it can revolutionise the way in which business goes about understanding how the public reacts to their brands. Public reaction is what drives business’ success or failure, so being able to gauge this and learn from it can only benefit business”.
Tunisia entered Team One World and developed an app called Protection Biométrique. There is limited information available on the team and on its innovation.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor