By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. April 11, 2013: Main One Cable Company, West Africa’s leading communications services company, has teamed up with Microsoft for the Imagine Cup competition, a premier technology challenge competition for students.
Imagine Cup competition brings student innovators from all over the world to compete in producing various ground-breaking app ideas and implement from concept to marketplace with the software company’s resources.
The national finals of the competition was held on Tuesday at the Victoria Crown Plaza in Victoria Island, Lagos. The event had in attendance over 80 students with participants competing for a place in the worldwide finals, previously hosted in Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Korea, France, Egypt, Poland, USA and Australia. It is now to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia from July 8 to 11, 2013.
The cable company which is the sole bandwidth sponsor, providing 20Meg broadband capacity to the competition for live-streaming emphasizes its commitment to the development of innovative and locally-developed software.
Shina Oyetosho, Developer and Platform Evangelism Lead, Microsoft Nigeria explains that as part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, Imagine Cup is a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, set a clear business plan and eventually take their product to market.
“All Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three year $3million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. Microsoft BizSpark, another YouthSpark initiative, enables Imagine Cup participants to launch startup businesses in their communities and across the web”, Omotosho adds.
In total, 12 teams from Nigeria competed during a challenging day of presentations, which brought together students from universities across the country with Team Life Saver emerging winner. Members of the team interestingly, cut across two of Nigeria’s foremost tertiary institutions, Obafemi Awolowo University and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.
They competed in the category of World Citizenship. Their solution titled CardioLife is designed to tackle heart attack by monitoring heart reading on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone.
The solution also provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using Kinect sensor. The team will go on to represent Nigeria at the global finals where the lucky winner stands the opportunity to win a prize of $300,000.
Speaking at the event, Jumoke Akande, Head of Marketing, Main One Cable, says that, “new technologies are rapidly changing businesses, socio-political landscapes and the lives of consumers in Nigeria, Africa as a whole and other parts of the world, and the speed of adoption is inspiring.
According to Akande, Main One has consistently recognised the opportunities software development, especially indigenous, will play in this critical phase of Nigeria’s human development, and supported the equipping of young people with necessary technology competencies, to put the future of our nation in their hands”.
Also speaking at the event, Yinka Oni, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, says that “each participating team that competed in the regional finals is deserving of the highest recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world’s biggest challenges.
“We are proud to honour these young students who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition, and we’ll be cheering Team Life Saver on as they compete on the world stage in St Petersburg”, Oni adds.
According to him, Imagine Cup is also directly aligned with the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative that was launched earlier this year to drive access to technology, innovation and world-class skills.
“We believe deeply that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world and we are honoured to engage with these young people to help bring their innovative ideas to fruition,” he adds.
Olumide Balogun, the Partner Manager Developer Expert Nokia adds that an event like Imagine cup gives opportunity to showcase idea and to showcase the solution as “it gives students an opportunity to compete at the international level.”
According to him, “at Nokia what I think; what I wake up thinking about and go to bed thinking about, how can we build company; how can we have solution that transform the way people live their life and how can we have solution that transform the way people perceive technology.”
On the prize award for the national competition finals, first prize winner, each and every member of that team won a Nokia Lumia 920 device; second prize, a Nokia Lumia 920 and the third place winner, Nokia Lumia 620 device. First and second place winners also went home an additional Voxtrol laptop from Dell.
More than 1.65 million students across the globe have participated in Imagine Cup during the past decade creating applications and games that address the world’s toughest social problems.