Daniel Grech took out first place in the competition which was initiated two years ago by Optus and NICTA, giving university students across Australia the opportunity to develop innovative Android mobile apps that make everyday lives easier.
The TripGo Sydney app developed by Daniel Grech gives Sydneysiders useful information on how to get from point A to point B in the Greater Sydney area - by train, bus, car, ferry, motorbike, taxi or bicycle - while keeping track of their carbon footprint.
As well as tracking the carbon footprint generated by their trip, TripGo users can also tailor their movements according to cost, duration, environmental impact and hassle.
Looking ahead to a career in the app developer field, Grech will also take part in a session with industry experts from Optus and NICTA who will help refine his skills to fast-track his path to becoming an app developer.
“Since I got my first Android phone, making apps for it has been a favourite hobby of mine,” Grech said.
“Developing apps is something I would love to do professionally in the future, and the recognition from winning this competition will help a lot.”
Austin R. Bryan, VP of Communities and Eco-Systems for SingTel and Optus said, he was very excited by the level of “digital innovation and creativity,” shown by student mobile app developers, with this year’s competition identifying some “inspiring local talent with great potential, with the winning apps delivering a simpler and easier experience to our everyday activities.”
The first and second runners-up in the competition – both students from the Australian National University in Canberra - also looked at areas in daily life where apps can bring a new level of convenience.
Postgraduate student Zakaria Bouguettaya, the winner of the 2011 competition and the first runner-up this year, developed Community ProTag, giving users the power to snap a photo of problems such as potholes, broken streetlights and more, and report it directly to their local council.
Reports from Community ProTag users are automatically geo-tagged using the phone’s GPS capabilities and pushed to a central Facebook group, where all users can share or like the problems.
With Bouguettaya’s ProTag app, passengers help notify people on the status of buses on their bus route, and it also collects GPS locations of others intending to catch the bus and shows these locations.
The second runner-up, Oliver O’Neill, developed a crowdsourced app, aptly named Passengers, that uses GPS to show where buses are on particular routes, notifying them on the status of buses on their bus route, and collecting GPS locations of others intending to catch the bus while also showing these locations.
The 2012 Optus/NICTA Unleash Your App competition reached more than 6,000 university students, culminating in entries from 10 different universities across Australia, including the University of the Sunshine Coast, Latrobe University, University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology, Australian National University, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales and the University of Western Sydney.
Dr Terry Percival, the Director of NICTA’s Broadband and the Digital Economy Business Team, said the competition had tapped into a rich vein of innovation and imagination, “producing some dynamic and original mobile applications.”
Dr Percival said all three winners are today picking the brains of the industry’s leading influencers from Optus and NICTA in a ‘Meet the Experts’ mentoring workshop to help them fine-tune their apps.