Technology company SqwidNET has launched the second round of its IoT SA University Challenge, a competition aimed at getting university students to solve real-world challenges using the Internet of Things (IoT).
SqwidNET knows young people grown up with technology at their fingertips,that they have a very different view of the world and that they approach challenges differently. They’re therefore very capable of finding alternative and non-traditional ways of applying technology to solve problems.
“We saw incredibly creative solutions emerge during the first round of the challenge,” says Chetan Goshalia, chief sales and marketing officer. “These included solutions for animal tracking, to reduce the number of cash-in-transit heists and to monitor climatic conditions such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and gasses.
“We also encourage students to work with students from other faculties when they create their teams as that allows them to tap into different ways of thinking and fields of expertise.
“The cognitive experience is different because they are seeing the world from a different technological angle, a different way of their parents living in the world, working harder, always online, so they start living and experiencing life that way.
The winning team from Stellenbosch University developed a smart collar which is placed on an animal in order to monitor the condition it is in and be alerted in real-time when it is at risk, including its whereabouts. The project included GPS location data that was used to create virtual perimeters (geofences).
When an animal moves out of this geofence, an alert is triggered and sent via SMS or some phone message to the farmer who is responsible for it. The project also monitored some of the animal’s key vital signs like heart rate and animal behaviour. Existing technology-based solutions to prevent poaching can be very expensive due to the need to dart the animal in order to change the battery, but this IoT solution is a vast improvement because it relies on very little battery power, as it takes advantage of SqwidNET’s low power network that is dedicated to IoT.
In supporting the winner and students, SqwidNET ensures they are comfortable using the technology and platform through workshops. Once the prototype is built, it goes through a few iterations before a demo is produced a demo. This all depends on the need from the market.
“Competitions like this are important as they creates an opportunity for someone who might not necessarily have access to the technology, to be creative and to learn new skills,” says Goshalia. “The reason we have engaged with university students on this challenge is that they have a very different way of thinking about the problems we face on the continent, which often results in a completely different way of solving them.
“Coming up with an IoT solution for a problem takes a different way of thinking and approaching the problem. In many cases, there are existing technologies out there, which can be adapted or can when applied differently, solve problems they were not intended to originally.
“To get people involved and inspired to do something with their talents.”
The types of issues that we could be addressed all fall within the ambit of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as SAs NDPO goals:
SqwidNet, in partnership with Sigfox, will offer the winning team a cash prize (for participants as well as for the tertiary institution), and the chance for the team leader to pitch their solution in front of industry and technology experts at the Sigfox headquarters in France.
Enter the challenge by visiting https://www.sqwidnet.com/iot-sa-university-challenge/
Entries close on the 24th of May 2019.
The first round of judging will then take place and the finalists selected will receive a development kit from SqwidNet together with ongoing support while developing their solution. The finalists will then have the opportunity to present their solutions to a panel of judges after which a winner will be selected.