Teams Green Jam, B.A.S.S. and iBins, swept to victory today in Dubai, at the UAE finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2017, a global technology competition that aims to deliver educational, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for youth by acquiring critical skills.
Held under the Smart Cities theme, the student contest for up-and-coming innovators took place at Armani Hotel Dubai in Burj Khalifa on 18th April. This year’s edition was sponsored by global developer Emaar Properties, with the UAE Ministry of Education as Education Partner.
Team Green Jam from the American University of Dubai took first place for their project Green Jam, which was aimed at accelerating Dubai's goal of being one of the world's most sustainable cities, through a reward system for recycling habits for UAE Citizens. Second prize was won by Team B.A.S.S, of University of Wollongong for their project Smart Signal. The project is a smart city initiative to ease traffic conditions dynamically. Smart signal can think for itself, and make its own judgments about what constitutes high traffic. This means that a signal with heavier traffic would receive a longer period of staying green as compared to its counterparts with less traffic. Team iBins from Dubai Women’s College received third place for their project iBins, an IOT based Smart Bin solution capable of monitoring the fill-level at regular intervals to alert the staff ahead of time, ease maintenance and help maintain a fresh, clean and hygienic environment. Team Green Jam taking first place, will go on to meet the region’s top talent at the Imagine Cup MEA semi-finals in Lebanon in May, on a path to compete with the best young innovators in worldwide finals, in Seattle in July.
“The UAE has a well-established reputation as one of the world’s leading lights for entrepreneurship, with a highly competitive knowledge-based economy,” said Michael Mansour, Chief Innovation Officer, Microsoft Gulf. “Imagine Cup represents a cornerstone of Microsoft’s commitment to empowering the youth of today to become skilled innovators of the future. It is only through collaboration and the right fusion of technologies that the next generation can use their creativity, passion and knowledge to create solutions that can change the way we live, work and play”
Eight finalists including My Team, B.A.S.S, Side Quest, iBins, AAWC Smart Irrigation, Bane’s Mercenaries, I’ll Order and Green Jam were shortlisted to compete in Dubai. Cash prize awards for this year’s competition, which marked the 15th year of the Imagine Cup were: $15,000 for first, $10,000 for second, and $7,000 for third place winners.
The team of judges for the UAE finals to select the winners included Marc Robinson, Director Digital Transformation, Emaar Properties; Robert Lonsdorfer, Chief Information Officer, Emaar Properties; Steven Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Emaar Properties; Moayad Naim Abdulraheem, Senior Software Engineer, Ministry of Education; Khalid Younus Kalbat, Section Manager – Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department, Ministry of Education; James Morgan, Director of Financial Services for Middle East and Africa at Microsoft and Vimal Sethi, Strategic Transformation Lead, Microsoft MEA..
Veresh Sita, Chief Digital Officer, Emaar Properties, said: “Our support for Imagine Cup underlines our commitment to nurturing innovation and youth talent in the country. Honing the skills of our youth and encouraging them to be creative is central to the growth vision of the UAE’s leadership. With digital transformation of businesses as a top priority, investing in the IT talent of young people will help nurture the next generation of creative tech entrepreneurs. Imagine Cup serves as an excellent platform that promotes the brightest young innovators and brings out compelling actionable ideas that support the Smart City vision of the UAE.”
Microsoft’s Imagine Cup challenges entrants, who must be 16 years or older or enrolled as a permanent student, to collaborate in teams and submit imaginative ideas in the field of technology. Competitors need to develop the concepts from scratch and defend their usability and market draw to a panel of judges.
More than 100 proposals were received by Microsoft from UAE entrants. This year, Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform was a mandatory tool for all the submitted projects. The Imagine Cup forms a pivotal part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark programme, a global CSR initiative launched in 2003, aimed at delivering opportunities for more than 300 million young people all around the world.
With stops at leading UAE universities; over 5,000 students were reached this year through the Imagine Cup roadshows conducted by Microsoft in February and March. The presentations created awareness among students and encouraged participation in the competition, with ideas that will fuel the UAE government’s vision for smart cities. Interested students were able to attend intensive training sessions to prepare for submission of ideas. The sessions covered contest rules and criteria, and informed competitors about the processes of conceptualisation, design, development and testing, which help lead to the most viable solutions.