Oh What a Night!

Last night the 2017 annual Apps For Good awards took place at the Barbican London.

The finalists were as enthusiastic and energetic as ever! 

I was thrilled to be involved with the judging of The Internet of Things (IOT) category, the newest addition to the competition.

“It’s very hard to come up with good ideas for the IOT,” said fellow judge Christopher Histed, Master of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.  “A lot of people try, and I was very impressed at how good all of the ideas were,” he told me after the judging was complete.

Four ideas vied for the win:

  • Keep fit Determination—an app for gamers that promoted physical fitness by shutting games off at regular intervals to force gamers to leave the screen
  • Self Register—using the fingerprint as secure id, this team sought to capture college class attendance, student coursework and grades across multiple devices through a campus
  • SafeStep—sensor enabled mats to alert caregivers and family members of the elderly when someone has fallen or gone missing via a mobile app.
  • Micro:gate—GCSE science practical equipment made easy and cheaply.

Each of the four teams that made it to the finals, had 5 minutes to pitch to 5 Dragons.

Pitches included prototypes, powerpoint presentations and lively demonstration!

And the winner in the IOT category: SafeStep!

After judging, I then moderated a panel discussion with the Impact Award nominees.

Fellow of the Year finalists Adam Lee, Holly Dyson and Tasneem Rahman, graduates of the Apps for Good Programme who are still involved in mentoring and career related programmes, shared their insights on how the programme inspires, motivates, and prepares them.

“Even though my app didn’t win, I never stopped learning and pushing myself,” Rahman said.  “The programme has really helped my confidence and my public speaking abilities.”

Maria Parkes, Educator of the Year from The St Marylebone CE School, Michael Bristow Barclays’ VP/Head of Marketing Wealth & Investment Management and Apps for Good Expert of the year, and Colin Spark from School of the Year Dunoon (Scotland) Grammar  School, were equally enthusiastic about the programme.

“When we try to innovate at work, we often do so within the constraints of the companies we work for,” said Bristow.  “We can’t help it. We’re conditioned.  But the participants in Apps For Good have no restraints in their thinking, and their approach to problem solving.  It’s because of this, we get the best ideas,” he said.

“Try not to lose your innovative approach,” he said to the students.  “We must all remember to think like children,” he said to the audience.

The evening continued with all finalists pitching to guests via the marketplace.

Winners were then announced at the evening’s awards ceremony.

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