Encouraging youth and enabling technological innovations are the future of growing major brands alongside digital transformation. It has become more and more important for major brands to seek outside perspectives on technology that can improve lives and businesses.
Recently, to engage with the local developer community, the company sent out an open invitation to all software developers for an Innovation Hackathon at their headquarters in Smart Village.
For many years now, Vodafone has been one of the top digital employers of Egypt’s youth as well as one of their biggest supporters. From youth camps to leadership initiatives, the telecom provider is always trying to target creativity from future generations, those that are unafraid to keep up with global changes in technology.
Vodafone may be famous for being a service provider, but the company pioneers in many technologies such as AI, App Development and IoT frequently.
Groups of 2 to 5 people were encouraged to participate to develop new innovative solutions to enable a “Digital Egypt.”
Technologically innovative solutions were included to ensure that they would improve everyday social issues through technology and digitalization. Participants were asked to work on areas such as Education, Health, Energy, Transportation, Security, Environment, Culture, and Citizen Experience through technologies such as AI, Application Development, Robotics and IoT.
44 teams were chosen to work on their solutions during the Innovation Hackathon over a 3-day weekend. Out of which, 10 teams were qualified as finalists.
Developing shared values in communities
Digitizing Egypt is an essential part of growing the country, and with such a high ratio of youth vs. elders, the country and its brands are looking towards young adults to help build their future. Vodafone understood this whilst building their objectives and corresponding agenda of the Hackathon, giving bright young minds the opportunity to provide their own solutions to the problems they have or will have in the future.
This year’s winning solution came from Helpee, a 4-person team that consists of Sara Mahmoud, Abdelrahman El-Shorbagy, Anwar Aly, and Aya El-Kader invented a platform that connects people with disabilities and volunteers who want to help them with simple daily tasks.
Volunteering can be either paid, if it’s an urgent request for help, or free of charge. The platform is like an Uber service for volunteers to help people with disabilities in the community.
Helpee, the name of the team and solution, won 120K EGP along with NanoDegree Scholarships from the popular learning online platform, Udacity, as well as potential internship and job opportunities at Vodafone.
Founded by Salma Medhat, Ahmed Hisham, Ahmed Zaki, Amr Ahmed and Mohamed Hussein, “Robabikya” which Vodafone suggested to be given the name ‘Bikya’ instead, came in 2nd with a waste management mobile application that let users trade their trash for cash in exchange of being granted discounts on online shopping platforms and other services.
In 3rd place came ParaZtec; a 3-part digital system that aims to help alleviate obstacles for people with communication hardships (mainly Paralysis and MS patients). The system involved a sensor-based glove, a PC application and a mobile app.
The sensor-based glove would read the small movement from patients, movements that corresponded with requests, which the PC program would read and understand. The application for their caretakers would then receive the requests directly through the mobile app so they would know what to do. What is exciting about ParaZtec is that the innovative system was founded by a team of high school students; Mazen Kazem Mahmoud, Mahmoud Adel Mohamed, Ahmed Haris Ibrahim and Mohamed Ayman.
2018 marked 20 years in business for Vodafone Egypt, as the company has been around since 1998, when they were originally branded as Click GSM. For the past 20 years, Vodafone has expanded its goals and missions to include focusing on technological advancement for new generations, and with this initiative, Vodafone Egypt aims to seize the chance to lead change and make the most of everyone’s skills and talents.
It shows that digitalization in Egypt will assist the country in rising beyond an emerging market, entering the scope of a developing country that is prepared to compete in the region in technological advancement.