…awards more than $1m to student teams
By Emeka Aginam
After four days of showcasing creative ideas, innovation and passion in technology by no fewer than 309 brightest technology students from 71 countries, the global software giant, Microsoft at the historic Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, announced the worldwide Imagine Cup winners with more than $1 million in cash and prizes going to the student teams that were recognized.
With Team Code 8, from Uganda that made Africa proud in Women’s Empowerment award presented in partnership with UN women, the winners of the student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs had created innovative projects brining those ideas to market at the 11th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world’s premier competition for students.
Although Team LifeSaver developed by four students from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilefe, (OAU) and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (Lautech) Ogbomoso, Oyo respectively despite their good outing did not scale through in the award categories, the wining projects were announced for the three major competition categories including Innovation, Games and World Citizenship as well as three product-specific challenges and eight special awards from Imagine Cup sponsors.
Team Nigeria which had a good showcase and presentation has developed an application called CardioLife, which helps prevent heart attacks by monitoring heart readings on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone. It also provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using the Kinect sensor.
At the award attended by more than 800 students, judges, awards partners, Russian dignitaries and members of the media from around the world, the ceremony was the culmination of a four-day competition and celebration of bringing ideas to life through technology and teamwork.
Accordingly, Microsoft awarded cash and other prizes valued at more than $1 million throughout the yearlong Imagine Cup competition, including awards for the winning teams at the Worldwide finals that ended Thursday.
“For the past 11 years, Imagine Cup has been a place of inspiration and innovation for students around the world,” Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft told the gathering, adding that, “The students participating in this competition demonstrate the very best in innovation from their home countries and together are creating new apps, innovations and services that will change the way the world works, interacts and learns. We are incredibly proud of the finalists who competed in Imagine Cup this year and stand in awe of the projects and technology they brought forth during this exciting week.”
For Jon Bassett, DFJ Frontier analyst and a judge at this year’s Imagine Cup, the world wide finals is a forum for exceptional students from around the world to channel their passion and creativity into thoughtful, innovative solutions that have the potential for real-world impact.
He added that their commitment to their teams and projects demonstrates these students are finding ways to address everyday problems through technology and to make the world a better place.
With excitement, Rob Miles, Imagine Cup Competition Captain told Vanguard Hi-Tech in an interaction shortly after the award that every team was a winner having participated in the worldwide finals.
“The Teams have amazing products and solution that will solve the toughest challenges in the world especially malaria which is very important to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. The students are the leaders of tomorrow. We are proud of them. They should go home and make differences in the various countries” he said.
For the student winners, Imagine cup is a good beginning and a launch pad for the challenges ahead. “We hope to create a new mesh networking system between smartphones with our technology. Imagine being able to connect a stadium full of people and play music and sounds through all their smartphones at the same time!” Alex Bochenski, Team leader of Colinked from United Kingdom who won first prize in Innovation competition.
As part of this year’s awards ceremony, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft addressed the audience via a prerecorded video announcing next year’s competition to be held in Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
The winners of the 11th annual Imagine Cup Competitions will include the following:
· First Place, $50,000 prize: Team Colinked, United Kingdom, Project: SoundSYNK · Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team DORA, Slovenia, Project: DORA · Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team MYRA, Thailand, Project: SkyPACS
· First Place, $50,000 prize: Team Zeppelin Studio, Austria, Project: Schein · Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team Solite Studio, Indonesia, Project: Save the Hamsters · Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team Banzai Lightning, France, Project: Seed
· First Place, $50,000 prize: Team for a Better World, Portugal, Project: For a Better World · Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team Omni-Hearing Solution, Taiwan, Project: Omni-Hearing Solution · Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team Confufish Royale, Australia, Project: Foodbank Local
Imagine Cup Challenge winners
This year, Imagine Cup offered three exclusively online Challenges to students, providing additional opportunities for learning, prototyping and creating apps using the newest Microsoft technologies. The top three teams in each category were awarded the opportunity to travel to Russia to compete at the finals.
The Challenge winners:
Windows Azure Challenge:
· First Place, $10,000 Prize: Team Y-Nots, from India with Zoik as project name.
· Second Place, $5,000 Prize: Team nlife, Ukraine, Project: onQuests
· Third Place, $3,000 Prize: Team LetssGo, China, Project: Get & Put
Windows Phone Challenge
· First Place, $10,000 Prize: Team vSoft Studio, Singapore, Project: Speak Reminder
· Second Place, $5,000 Prize: Team WeRule, Poland, Project: Modern Drug Test
· Third Place, $3,000 Prize: Team front, Poland, Project: Cope
Windows 8 Apps Challenge
· First Place, $10,000 Prize: Team TeamNameException, Italy, Project: Ulixes
· Second Place, $5,000 Prize: Team Wordsapp, Germany, Project: Wordsapp
· Third Place, $3,000 Prize: Team Clever Mind, Thailand, Project: Vocable World
In addition to the Competitions and Challenges, students competed for the following special awards from Imagine Cup sponsors:
AFT Excellence Award.
Five teams will receive AFT (App Fast Track) review by the Windows Team. However, in recognition of their outstanding Windows 8 Apps projects, the following teams will receive a review process to enhance their projects and deliver great Windows 8 apps:
*Team Banzai Lightning, France
*Team Flying Ship, Brazil
*Team Lumos, Korea
*Team MASKed Ninjas, Egypt
*Team TapBoarders, Poland
Team Flying Ship from Brazil won 50,000 euros in funding, airfare and accommodations for its app Callvenient.
In recognition of their great project that could be the next big thing on Windows Phone, the team members will fly to Finland for a four-week AppCampus training event.
DreamSpark Learning Award:
Team AuThink of Croatia won $5,000 for its project focused on helping autistic children and their parents, which showcases how software creates new ways of learning and teaching.
Facebook Creativity Award.
Team AYNi from Ecuador and its volunteering social- network based project took home $25,000 in Facebook advertising credits.
KFC Russia Award:
Team Sano from Canada won $10,000 for its health and wellness project. The team’s project will be showcased in KFC Russia’s flagship restaurant in Moscow.
Mail.Ru Group Connected Planet Award:
Three teams met Mail.Ru Group’s challenge to develop a project that embraces online communication and entertainment in fun, useful and innovative ways.
The following were the winners:
*First Place, $10,000 Prize: Team Y-Nots, India, Project: Zoik It!
* Second Place, $5,000 Prize: Team TeamNameException, Italy, Project: Ulixes
* Third Place, $3,000 Prize: Team LetssGo, China, Project: Get & Put
Samsung Digital Native Award:
Team Firebird from Sri Lanka received $10,000 award that honors the fresh thinking, digital savvy and global perspective of its project.
Women’s Empowerment Award.
In partnership with UN Women, this award recognizes two student teams that created projects that best address issues impacting women globally.
The following were the winners:
*First Place, $12,000 Prize: Team Code 8, Uganda, Project: Matibabu
*Second Place, $8,000 Prize: Team Omni-Hearing Solution, Taiwan, Project: Omni-Hearing Solution Boost awards
The following Boost awards also were distributed in recognition of the outstanding
achievements of many winning teams:
* The DevExpress Boost. The first-place winning teams in the three Competitions and
three Challenges received a DevExpress Universal Subscription that includes a
comprehensive and feature-complete software development toolset for .NET
developers. The total value per subscription is $8,799.96 per team.
Windows Azure Boost. First-place winners in the three Competitions and in the Windows 8 Apps and Windows Phone challenges whose projects used Azure Cloud Services won an extra $1,000.
In addition, projects that included Windows Mobile Service won an extra $1,000, while projects that included both Azure Cloud Services and Windows Mobile Service qualified for the Double Shot bonus of $3,000.
In the Windows 8 Boost category, first, second- and third-place winners of the three Competitions and the Windows Azure and Windows Phone challenges whose projects included a Windows 8 Store App received an extra $1,000 through this boost.