It all came down to this one final pitch. On the 18th of November, inside the Dialog Auditorium we saw the finals of the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6. In case you’re lost, the Yarl Geek Challenge is a competition organized b the Yarl IT Hub that aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The competition which began in Jaffna, saw teams participating from all over Sri Lanka. At Jaffna, the best teams were shortlisted to participate at the finals. These finals took place on the 18th of November at the Dialog Auditorium. Here’s the ideas we found from the finalists at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6.
The first team to pitch showed us a web and mobile app called Just Post. The app allows you to send customized greeting cards to your loved ones. Once you download the app, you can select a template, customize the card, and press the send button. Once done, the recipient will get a physical card with your text. The free version will have ads printed on the back of the cards. If you don’t want ads, then you can opt for the premium model. The team aims to make this a new tool for marketers. However, the judges had their doubts as to how effective it would be as a marketing tool.
Team AuoFix had a mobile app that you can use to find spare parts for your vehicle. If you can’t find the part you want, you can take a picture and vendors can respond with offers to you. You can compare prices, see nearby vendors, get navigation to the vendor’s store, and place orders if the part is not in stock. Once the user sends a request, the vendor gets a push notification and can respond to the request.
The first six months of app usage will be free. After than Rs. 2500 per month will be charged from vendors. Then for every component worth over Rs. 2500, they would be charged an additional Rs. 50. The team shared that whenever a customer searches for a component, the first results will be from the vendors that have paid for a premium subscription.
Team Pastam’s product was Lockron. This is an IoT based cabinet system. It is aimed at travelers and backpackers who wish to leave their belongings in a safe place when traveling. By means of a mobile app that generates a secure code, you can keep your belongings in this locker after entering the code.
If someone tries tamper with the locker and to get your bag, the nearest police station will be notified. It also has an inbuilt vibration sensor to detect movement to prevent a person from stealing the entire locker. They incorporate a subscription based scheme starting from $0.99. The team boldly claimed that they had no competitors.
Immediately after the previous team claimed they had no competitors, Team JTK Masters began pitching their product SecPack. Using the app, you can store your luggage at another person’s house while you’re travelling. All you need to do is to enter a location and you’ll get a list of places you can store your luggage. Once you’ve selected a location, then you can get all the details about it. The judges added that the team should also explore the possibilities of selling additional services to travellers.
They aim to reduce garbage by launching their lineup of IoT garbage bins. Once the bin is full, it will alert the garbage collectors to collect the garbage. In addition, there is also a mobile app that people can use to inform when then want their garbage collected and recycled. There’s also a console for administrators of garbage collectors and recycling agencies which has a number of features such as a breakdown of what garbage is to be collected, an alert system etc.
This was a team that actually consisted of a single person. The product, VoiceIT is a pair of smart glasses that can be used by a paralyzed person to convey his/her messages and needs. The device can be programmed with a number of commands which can be carried out by blinking. In addition, the message will be sent to the helper as well. It makes use of a proximity sensor to detect the blinking of eyes. When asked why he was a one-man team, he noted that in a team, he ends up doing the work, to which he got a round of applause. Nonetheless, the judges said that they don’t encourage it.
Their platform HireUp is a location based hiring application. All you have to do is select the task you want and enter your location. Afterwards, you can view nearby workers who can carry out the task you want. The app seems to be primarily aimed at daily workers such as plumbers and electricians. But the app will also feature other freelancers such as developers and graphic designers.
This team at Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6 has identified unclean water as a key problem. As a solution, they present Ecowater. This is a device that measures a PH level of water. If the water is unclean, you will get a message on your phone. The data will also be sent to local authorities so that required action can be taken. Aimed at those living in rural areas. they will also carry out data mining to allow authorities to predict when and where water could be contaminated.
They would charge LKR 30/- as a subscription for the app and LKR 7000/- for the device. The team plans to sell it to the local authorities who can then distribute it to households for no cost. They plan to add an oxygen sensor and a mass spectrometer as well. The judges noted that apart from the PH level, there are other ways that the water can be contaminated, such as physical, radiation etc.
Finding a parking spot can be an annoying and challenging task. Enter ParkPal. This is an on demand web platform that enables people within Colombo to rent out their parking slot when not in use. The platform will connect the driver and those with free space in their homes or have vacant lots. Drivers in turn, can search for places and request it from people with free space. If accepted, the details will be sent to the driver. Parking is then charged on a per hour basis, not from the driver, but as 10% from the house owners total income.
The last team to present at Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6 aimed to solve indoor air pollution. Their solution? To have indoor plants. But what plants work to stop what pollutants? This is where their product comes into play. This is a pot that has a number of sensors attached to it to measure water levels and lighting levels. All of which can be controlled automatically or via an app. They aim at banks and large office spaces and hotels.
Once the pitches ended, the judges disappeared to debate and select the winners of the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6. We then saw Randhula De Silva – Chief Disruptor at GIZ take the stage. She was invited to share her thoughts about the projects Yarl IT Hub has carried out over the course of the year. She began by congratulating them for all the work they’ve done so far.
Randhula then spoke about the initiatives carried out by Yarl IT Hub such as Yarl Geek Challenge, Uki, and Cutar. One of the newest initiatives by the Yarl IT Hub, Cutar is a program that encourage female entrepreneurism in IT. However, one thing she noted was that those invovled in the Yarl IT Hub’s projects need to make their voices heard and to be bolder and less shy.
Once the judges returned, we saw Jay Cousins, who was one of the judges take the stage to share their feedback. He shared that the judges wanted the teams to continue with their ideas. And one of the first steps would be to engage with the markets and create a supply chain. Jay went onto share that the judges feel the teams still need to conduct more competitive research.
He later highlighted that some products have multitude of features. Jay stated that the judges felt that it’d make more sense for a product to solve one problem really well. Jay concluded by sharing some interesting news for the winners of the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6. They would get support packages such as workspace from Hatch, and even support from the Lankan Angel Network and Crowdisland.
The winning team also got a Gold Medal courtesy of Hatton National Bank, who were one of the sponsors of Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6. With that, Yarl Geek Challenge Season 6 officially came to an end. We saw some really great ideas and the dedication of the teams was apparent right throughout. Let’s see what Yarl Geek Challenge Season 07 has to offer.
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