Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bigas2 Hack winning apps announced

The winning apps from the two-day (31 August-1 September 2013) developer event, Bigas2 Hack, held by Smart Communications,Inc. (Smart) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), are hereby announced:  

Bring-your-own idea challenge winners 
  • "Weather-on-the-Go" as Best Innovation App - notifies users of weather forecasts and changes via SMS and a web-based app module; developed by GoRated Team (Gian Santillan, Patrick Ofilada, and Ericson Luciano).
  • "HarBestDeal" as runner-up for Best Innovation App - a platform that establishes communication and trade among farmers, traders, and IRRI; developed by HarBest Team (Tito Mari Francis Escano and Nel Vergara).
Short-term challenge winners 
  • "RiceCalc" as Best Farmer App -  an online tool that helps farmers with decisionmaking and features a variety seed selector and calculators to determine profitability, moisture loss, milling quality, and others; developed by xTra Rice Team (Diony Guillen, Alexander Delos Santos, and Leandro Parmis). 
  • "Visitors Kiosk App" as Best Consumer App - a web-based tool that visitors can use to view IRRI's Riceworld Museum; developed by LB Pips Team (Raven Lagrimas and Paul Elessat Caceres).   
Long-term challenge winners 
  • "Butil" as Best Research Optimization App - an automated digital phenotyping system using a camera that will monitor plant development in the screenhouse for analysis of images that assist in phenotyping and monitoring; developed by Ani Mo Team (Brian Paul Samson, Ralph Vincent Regalado, Enzo Hagad, and Francis Lai).
  • "OryzaOnline" as runner-up for Best Research Optimization App - a web-based user interface for IRRI’s ORYZA2000 predictive crop growth software; developed by Hackalyst Team (Nehemiah Caballong, Henry Dela Cruz Cayaban, Steve Belarmino, and Abraham Darius Allave).
Each of the 37 hackathon participants  received freebies including t-shirts, lanyards, and credits on Amazon Web Services (AWS) , Microsoft Azure, and Google App Engine cloud servers. The winning teams received Lenovo smart phones or Archos tablets for each member, Jollibee gift certificates, a freelancer.com annual membership fee, USSE data leakage protection software, SMART DevNet laptop bags, and packs of brown rice.

Smart Communications, Inc. was a major sponsor and co-organizer of Bigas2 Hack. Other sponsors are AWS, Microsoft BizSpark , Google Developers Group, freelancer.com, and Jollibee Group Foundation. Additional partners include the U.S. Embassy-Manila, Mozilla Philippines, Advance Microsystems, and Soft Microenterprises.

“The encouraging support of our co-organizer, sponsors, and partners was one of the strengths of this event,” said Charizabel Fortunado-Sapiandante, IRRI’s Bigas2 Hack sponsorship specialist. “It shows that we share the same core values of innovation and creativity. IRRI is very grateful for their facilitation of the server platform workshops prior to the hackathon; subsidy of the participants’ food, accommodation, and transportation needs; and for donating the exciting prizes for the winning teams. They also helped us in inviting our highly competent guest judges.”

"I saw a lot of excitement and buzz around the hackathon products from our partners," said Katie Nelson, who led the Bigas2 Hack organizing team. “Many of them mentioned that it was great that we had an interesting theme because not many hackathons focus on IT in agriculture. We have lots of data to back up the ideas, and strong involvement from the researchers. In my opinion, this is a great recipe for start-up success."

"Before the event, I was a bit worried that some of the challenges set would be preferred over others,” said Nicola Wunderlich, one of the hackathon’s challenge coordinators. “I would have been disappointed for the resource persons that spent quite a lot of time and effort to come up with the challenges, if their particular challenge would have not been attempted at all. I was relieved and excited to see that just about all challenges were taken on almost evenly."

Katie sees the expansion of these types of hackathons. “We have discussed doing a similar hackathon in one of our partner countries. But, even more exciting to me would be to see global involvement from other international agriculture research centers, the CGIAR centers. Like other global hacks, such as Angel Hack, each center would come up with their own issues to solve and each would organize the hack individually to take place on the same day around the world. It would be a global 'Hunger Hack', if you will,” she said.

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the Bigas2 Hack—for organizing another splendid event—including the organizing team led by Katie Nelson, Marco, the whole ITS team, EVO, and many others,” said Achim Dobermann, IRRI’s deputy director general for research. “I can only recommend to all IRRI staff to take a closer look at the 12 ideas that were presented on Sunday, because I saw potential for use in IRRI for nearly all of them. Well done.”

Learn more about IRRI (www.irri.org) or follow us on the social media and networks (all links down the right column).

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