Every once in a while something happens which really reminds us what a great team we have here at Eventmap – and that, generally, there is some serious talent within the software sector in Northern Ireland. This month’s little reminder was during GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, where Eventmap were exhibiting as part of the Invest NI stand from 16-20 October.
James Smyth, one of our Senior Developers and Product Managers, had teamed up with Luke McNeice, Innovation Lead at Kainos Group, to enter GITEX’s App Hack, a 24 hour hackathon. The aim of their category was to develop an innovative app on the theme of ‘smart city solutions’.
24 hours later they walked away with the first prize of AED 20,000 (around £3,500) and a package of SAP learning hub training each. Here’s how they explained their winning idea:
“Offline is not an error. Offline is a fact of mobile life. Some mobile apps work reasonably well offline but for the most part they don’t – I’m sure we’ve all had this frustrating experience. The status quo is that the only way to give a user a good offline experience is through a native app – one that you would download through an app store. However, developing for and maintaining the diversity of mobile native platforms is expensive.”
The app James and Luke built and demoed was entirely web-based, using the SAP Hana platform. It allows Dubai citizens to report faults by taking pictures, recording their position and entering information entirely offline, to be submitted when their mobile device next has connectivity. So whenever residents spot issues with traffic congestion, litter or broken streetlights, for example, they can file a report on the web app that will either send their submission immediately or, unlike standard web apps, seamlessly cache the submission until connectivity reappears.
It was an elegant solution to a common problem faced by users anywhere that lack reliable mobile data and WiFi coverage – which, if we’re being honest, is still the case in significant chunks of the globe. Their idea capitalises on the emerging shift within large organisations from native apps, with their high development and maintenance costs across platforms, to powerful web apps that offer a similar offline experience and functionality but at a much lower cost.
James and Luke plan on using their prize money to develop their idea further. At Eventmap we’ll certainly be following closely as there are clear applications within many of technologies that we’re currently developing for our academic clients in the fields of data gathering and auditing.
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