App Challenge targets climate change

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The ITU hopes that smartphones apps can influence global climate change (Image credit: wylio.com)

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is offering smartphone application developers an enticing prize for in a challenge to bring smartphones into the battle against global climate change. The ITU has launched a Green ICT Application Challenge to find the best and most innovative idea for a climate change focused app. The winning concept will be awarded US$10,000, thanks to challenge sponsors Research in Motion (RIM) and Telefónica.

As well as the cash prize, the winner will be invited to present their concept to a prestigious audience at ITU’s Green Standards Week in Italy in September. In addition, the winning app may be developed and showcased during a side event to be held at the COP-17 climate change talks in South Africa in December.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary General said, “We have seen how ubiquitous apps have become and how useful they can be. The Green ICT Application Challenge is our way of spurring a next wave of innovation tackling real world problems. We are excited to see what developers will create to influence this truly global problem.”

“The objective of this competition is to push contestants to think outside the box and develop concept papers for an ICT application that will be a truly valuable contribution to the green ICT industry. In particular, we want contestants to think about the issues faced by developing countries for adaptation and/or mitigation,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau


Challenge sponsors RIM and Telefónica both recognize that ‘green’ applications for web and mobile devices have great potential to contribute to climate change abatement worldwide. While there are many apps on the market that target carbon footprinting, this Challenge aims to move to the next stage, with apps that focus on, for example:

  • Mitigation of climate change through energy efficiency in sectors such as smart buildings, intelligent transportation systems, smart homes, etc.
  • Community engagement
  • Eco-design
  • Monitoring of climate change
  • Measurement of green house gas emissions
  • Adaptation to climate change (e.g. use of applications for emergency telecommunications and alerting systems for disaster relief)

Contestants are asked to submit a detailed concept paper with an explanation of how their idea helps combat climate change and provides an ICT solution to environmental or sustainability issues. Entries may be any kind of software tool or game, be it for the web, a personal computer or a mobile device. The closing date for entries is 17:00 CET, 17 June, 2011. More information, including rules and entry requirements, is available at the Green ICT Challenge website.

By Angela Meadon