Annual SMART awards showcase wireless applications that empower communities
Engineering students from 20 top colleges and universities across the country have submitted a total of 90 wireless applications in response to Smart Communications, Inc.’s (SMART) challenge to create solutions following the theme of the 6th SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards, “Empowering Communities through Wireless Technologies.”
From these entries, 10 have been selected to advance into the finals scheduled on February 5 and 6 next year at the A. Venue Hall in Makati City. The teams that made it to the finals are from Mindanao State University, Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, Notre Dame of Marbel University, Holy Name University and Batangas State University.
Shortlisting of the entries was undertaken by a team of experts from SMART together with Arlene Romasanta, Senior Science Research Specialist at the PCIERD (Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development) – Department of Science & Technology; and Brian Quebengco, founder and Chief Inoventor of Inovent, Inc. who teaches Innovation Technology & Entrepreneurial Psychology at the De La Salle University Business Management College.
The annual SWEEP awards is part of the company’s Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), an industry-academe partnership program that helps raise the level of technology and engineering education in the country.
In line with the theme, participants proposed wireless solutions that could aid communities in resolving or addressing actual problems and situations.
Some entries promote the growth of livelihood projects and community businesses. One entry fosters the growth of cooperatives by allowing them to post their products on the web via SMS (Ateneo de Manila University). Another applies wireless technology and image processing in soil assessment to help farmers determine what crops are suitable for planting (Ateneo de Davao University). There’s also an application that notifies fisher folk if a sizable volume of fish is available for them to catch (Ateneo de Davao University).
Another set of entries addresses the issue of security, including an anti-theft application that monitors cars through cell phones (Batangas State University) and a bantay barangay facility that forwards the security concerns of citizens to the proper authorities (Ateneo de Manila University).
In preparation for the 2010 elections, two teams who made it to the final round created applications to aid in the voting process. One helps locate the voter’s assigned precinct through SMS (Notre Dame of Marbel University) while another uses SMS as the medium for voting, ensuring that the registered voter only votes once (University of St. La Salle-Bacolod).
Other entries that made it to the 10 top are an SMS-based device that helps students maximize waiting time during the payment of tuition fees (Ateneo de Zamboanga University), an application that monitors water services (Holy Name University), and mobile home automation using Bluetooth (Mindanao State University).
Working models of these top 10 most innovative wireless applications from SWEEP partner schools will be showcased and open to public demonstration during the two-day event in February.
During the final judging, each team presents their working models, which will then be evaluated based on innovation, technical feasibility, and social impact and relevance. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning teams and equivalent grants for their schools. First prize is PhP500,000; second prize, PhP300,000; and third prize, PhP150,000.
Event highlights also include the awarding of the 2nd “Doon Po Sa Amin” (DPSA) Learning Challenge winners. A total of 12 awards will be given to winning student teams from Smart Schools Program (SSP) partners that submitted the best web-based information and educational materials about their respective communities.
Winners of the 2nd Doon Po Sa Amin Learning Challenge will receive cash and school equipment. The Grand Champion will receive P30,000 and one-year free Internet connection; while winners of the seven “Best in Category Awards” will each get P30,000 and a computer package. Categories include Math, Science and Environment, Language and Literature, Arts and Culture, Health and Wellness, Technology and Livelihood, and Social Science.
Special Awards with cash prizes of P5,000 each include Best in DPSA School Team, Best in Community Involvement, Best DPSA Section in School Website, and Best Photos.
Other events include the annual PalaECEpan quiz bee, which is conducted with the help of the Institute of Electronic Engineers of the Philippines (IECEP) to test the intellectual prowess of engineering students from SWEEP partner schools; and the DPSA quiz bee edition for SSP partner schools.
Visitors to the 6th SWEEP Awards can also check out the mini job fair and interactive booth exhibits, as well as enjoy free Internet surfing, raffle draws and live entertainment by today’s hottest bands.