Two universities from Cebu bested schools from all over the Philippines, garnering top honors at the 14th Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) Innovation and Excellence Awards.
Ten student teams from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao pitched their proposals during the final judging for the SWEEP Awards, a technology competition that aims to provide college students with the platform to create innovative applications that solve consumer pain points. The finalists made their pitch before a live audience, a first in the competition’s 14-year run.
Team Eryl of University of San Carlos won first place or the Huawei Prize for Excellence, with P300,000 cash, for their online tutorial system. Eryl is a mobile platform that will enable students to join online classes or organize one. It will let them select from a teacher pool and negotiate for a schedule and fee.
Taking second place or the Ericsson Prize for Innovation, with P200,000 cash, was Team Sportify of University of San Jose–Recoletos. Their web and mobile application will link sports enthusiasts with each other so they can schedule games.
For their mental healthcare app, Team Salvar earned third place or the Wuhan Fiberhome Prize for Transformation, with P100,000 cash. Salvar is an app that will allow users to book appointments with mental healthcare professionals. Therapy sessions can also be done via video chat.
Schools of the top three teams also received a digital campus package from Smart Communications and parent company PLDT.
It was a close fight, said PLDT-Smart senior vice president for network planning and engineering Mar Tamayo, who was one of the judges during the final pitch. Eryl was chosen, he said, because it tackled an important issue.
“Eryl deals with education and learning, which is what SWEEP is about. But as I said, it’s difficult to judge. The scores were tight, and the entries submitted this year were of high quality and had great potential,” said Tamayo.
Cebu is a fertile ground for innovation, according to Eryl’s project lead Cris Lawrence Militante. “The tech community there is continuously growing,” he said. “All three winners are from Cebu. We have the talent and we cultivate it by joining competitions like SWEEP,” added Patrick Wilbur Aldueso, the team’s faculty mentor.
The remaining finalists took home P50,000 cash for their innovations: Croom of Adamson University; Hana Bot of Ateneo de Manila University; Ayuda of Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Saco of Aurora State College of Technology; iDisciple of Davao Central College; BuhayKomyuter of Gordon College; and Cacao Monitoring System of University of San Carlos.
Their projects included a platform that could help farmers reach produce buyers directly; a chat bot that could enable users to control home appliances remotely via a messaging app; and an app that could feature commuter feedback about public utility vehicles.
Special prizes were also given away. Team Ayuda won the Ericsson Technology for Good Award, with P50,000 cash, for their disaster management web application that could register disaster survivors and map evacuation sites.
Team Croom, meanwhile, bagged the Nokia People’s Choice Award, with P20,000 cash, for their app that would enable users to find the nearest public or private comfort rooms, and choose based on photos, distance, price, and reviews.
“All of these initiatives were born out of a need, whether they came from Zamboanga, or from Cebu. It’s not only about the applications which they shared today—it’s about using digital technology to improve the lives of the people where they live,” said PLDT chief technology and information advisor Joachim Horn.
Smart received more than 300 applications for the 14th SWEEP Awards, which has the theme “#LifeLikeNeverBefore: Digital Innovations for a Better Tomorrow.”
Students of information technology, electronics and communications engineering, computer engineering, computer science, and related courses were encouraged to come up with mobile and digital innovations that can improve people’s lives. The innovation should use PLDT or Smart’s network connectivity, products, and/or solutions.
The awards program is an initiative under SWEEP, a long-running collaboration between Smart and the academe, which aims to raise the standards of engineering and IT education in the country.
Because of SWEEP, Smart was cited in 2016 by international magazine Fortune as one of 50 companies that have “changed the world.” For more information on SWEEP and the SWEEP Awards, please visit facebook.com/sweepschools and smartsweep.ph.