Newcastle Appathon sees students proposing app ideas towards making life easier on campus
Whilst many were busy training for the arduous 26 mile London Marathon at the tail end of last term, an equally exciting and competitive event was taking place in the form of the Newcastle Appathon.
This was the idea of third-year Computer Engineering student Daniel Thompson, in collaboration with Vice-Chancellor Chris Brink.
The competition tasks competitors with the aim of designing an app which would ‘make your life easier on campus’.
There were 240 entries, and 3 winners, with a top prize of £1000. The judging panel consisted of an ISS representative, NUSU President Laura Perry, representatives from the Computer Science Department, a Careers Service officer and members of the Entrepreneurs Society.
The top apps included one for better access to University societies called NCLspace, which would notify users about current and upcoming society events.
Another one, myNCL, was described as a ‘University all-in-one app’ that would integrate the communication services used by the University, including email and blackboard, into one easy-to-use application.
But the winning offering was a unique Twitter-cum-FourSquare service called Campus Buzz which would “allow students, societies and anyone in the student ecosystem to communicate with ease”.
The app would enable you to find about local events happening around you such as “knitting parties” and “free trampolining sessions”.
Thompson said he felt extremely positive about the entries in the first round and the ideas that were developed.
He noted how it was essential for the University to “stay on the cutting edge of technology” and that competitions such as the Appathon were a great way to do so.
However, he did comment on the current ecosystem of apps saying that a lot of applications on were a “bit trivial” pointing to examples such as Angry Birds.
He opined that perhaps more should be developed for more practical use such as healthcare and banking.
Thompson also provided a note of caution saying: “This could all be a flash in the pan.” He noted worries that the apps concept could suffer the same fate of now extinct technological innovations such as minidisc players, HD-DVD and the like.
But, despite these concerns, the prevailing opinion suggests that apps are here to stay for the near future at the very least.
With the second round underway and with a whopping £10,000 in prize money up for grabs, the incentive is clearly there for students to build even more ingenious and time saving, or perhaps even wasting, apps.