Five Filipino college students were awarded for designing mobile apps in the first-ever open competition at the 11th SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards organized by local telco giant Smart Communications Inc (Smart).
The winning entries were from students of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) in Mindanao, who trumped the Smart Development Network or SmartDevNet Award, for the top five mobile and web applications (utilising location-based services and SMS technology).
The five winners were Jason Dy, Zaneth Mae Dinopol, Janda Magno, Louella Jane Catilosa, and Quincy Sacdalan who are all taking up Information Technology at USeP.
Smart executives including Earl Martin Valencia, president of the local startup incubator IdeaSpace Foundation, awarded cash prizes to the five winners, who will also get one year market runway support from SmartDevNet towards the commercialisation of their apps. They were also assured of additional cash prizes as well as a share of the revenues once their apps achieve commercial success.
The mobile apps are Dy’s TextPlus, Manopol’s The Adventure of Juan, Magno’s Autofix, Catilosa’s SOS App, and Sacdalan’s Food Travel.
The new SmartDevNet Award category was introduced to students from both partner-schools under the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), and non-SWEEP schools.
Winning mobile apps
Uy’s TextPlus is a messaging app that can send messages without the need for Internet connectivity and GSM. Using Bluetooth technology, this messaging app is limited to recipients that are located nearby.
“We originally wanted to create an offline social media application, but I wanted something that would be more useful than just socialising so I came up with an idea of a texting app,” Uy said. “The biggest challenge is our lack of skills on mobile peer-to-peer connection. Mobile file sharing was never taught in class so we had to learn everything by ourselves.”
Wanting to help boost the tourism sector, Dinopol designed ‘The Adventure of Juan’ as interactive gaming app to provide an innovative way of searching for tourist spots and establishments in the Philippines
“I want to promote Philippine tourism and culture in a fun and interactive way. I believe this app has a strong potential for commercialisation,” Dinopol said.
Magno made Autofix to cater to vehicle owners and motorists in cases of emergencies. The app facilitates faster response from auto repair shops.
“Overheating vehicles especially with the onset of summer can create traffic jams. This app will help vehicle owners contact repair shops for quick response,” Magno said.
Catilosa, meanwhile, wanted to use technology for crime prevention and designed the SOS App that makes the mobile phone a lifeline during emergencies, or especially when a crime is about to be committed. It allows the user to send a SMS for help to an emergency hotline and loved ones. The SMS functionality is triggered by the user’s voice saying the key word (help or the equivalent in the vernacular) on a pre-set volume and decibel level.
“I am not a superhero or a policewoman, but I can help prevent crimes from happening and save lives through this app. People tend to shout when in distress, and this app will trigger a pre-set SMS to emergency hotlines. The challenge was to come up with an app that requires minimal effort from the user,” Catilosa said.
Sacdalan, a food enthusiast, made the Food Travel app for locating food establishments using augmented reality that will feature menu, amenities offered, location, among others in one’s mobile phone.
“While there are other similar apps in the market, the use of augmented reality technology will set it apart from the rest,” Sacdalan said.