This year for the first time, BRAC University has organized ‘BRACathon’, an event for app developers and students to compete and develop beneficial mobile applications. The 36-hour long event took place from 4th to 5th December (2015) at BRAC University. This year’s theme was ‘Technology for Social Good”. A total of 27 teams, including IT students from BRAC University, NSU, IUB, BUET, Ahsanullah University and tech startups such as Technolive, EMPOWER and Miyaki, participated at the event.
The participating teams were given 11 real life problems to solve, including–TB prevention, micro-learning, microfinance data access, crowd-sourcing information for city roads improvement, bKash user interface etc. Each team worked on 1 problem and had 36 hours to solve it. After the 36 hours of relentless coding, each team had to give a presentation on their mobile app solution, in front of a jury board of 12 members.
‘Events like BRACathon are really important for technology developers, because it’s a place where you can test your abilities—there’s a time limit, so you have to compile everything within that time, and without the right skill-set there’s little chance of winning the competition’, said Tanvir Sourov, one of this year’s BRACathon-winners and the CEO of Technolive.
The jury selected Tanvir’s team of five as one of the winners, because of their bKash app, which is designed to simplify the money the mobile banking solutions in Bangladesh.
Currently in Bangladesh, one has to go through a lot of elaborate steps to use the normal bKahs solutions/mobile banking solutions, such as: calling the USSD number, dialing *247#, entering the correct pin code, entering the recipient’s number, and many other additional steps (based on what you want). “With the bKash application, you can skip all those elaborate steps. All you have to do is enter a pin-code and select a recipient from your contact list to transfer money in a secured way,” said Tanvir.
Each of the seven winners was given up to US$3000 in order to help them to finalize their apps. The other six winners of the event were: Reboot, Miaki, AMITIE ,mPower Rangers, TRIUMPH IT, and BUET Gamechangers. BRAC’s IT specialists will also provide further assistance to these young developers to enhance the apps’ functionality.