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Monday 5 June 2017

Students scoop €5,000 and drones

A Solent University computing team has won first place in the TM Forum {open}:hack Nice, France, with a prize of €5,000.

The team, which consists of students Jergus Lejko, Michael Sievenpiper and Marcin Wisniewski, computing lecturer Joe Appleton, and Craig Gallen from OpenNMS, competed in the two-day programming competition. It is run in partnership with large industry sponsors including Vodafone, Huawei and Salesforce.

Participants in the competition

Participants were given access to enterprise programming tool kits, provided by the industry sponsors and challenged to use these technologies to produce an app that could have a global impact.

Prizes included €9,000 split amongst the top three teams, along with sub prizes, which included trips to Berlin and San Francisco, and drones. Drawn by the sizeable prizes and the chance to work with cutting edge technology, teams came from around the world.

Solent’s team created "Port-o-matic", a smart port application that exposes services, such as electricity, communications, potable water and waste water, to shipping companies, monitors consumption and uses drones to measure emission output from ships. The idea was pitched to the judging panel by Joe Appleton at the end of the two-day hack, and included a product demonstration with moving simulated drones and a sleek user interface.

Southampton Solent University computing team taking first prize and collecting their €5000 cheque

Marcin Wisniewski, 35 and a second-year software engineering student, said: “I spent time getting to know TMForum and SalesForce API world to support port-o-matic. We won because of our idea and how the implementation could serve millions of people around the world. I still can’t believe that we won!”

Jergus Lejko, 20, a first-year software engineering student, added: “I was the programmer, working on the frontend and backend of port-o-matic. It felt really good to win – this is the first money I’ve ever won!”

The judging panel awarded Solent’s team the top €5,000 prize, as wells as best drone application, with all team members taking home a remote drone each.

The panel consisted of:

  • Dr. Lester Thomas, Chief IT Systems Architect, Vodafone;
  • Pierre Gauthier, Chief API Architect, TM Forum;
  • Karen McAllister, Regional Vice President Communications, Salesforce;
  • Joann O’Brien VP of Ecosystems and APIs, TM Forum;
  • Helen Zhang, Director of Marketing Execution, Software Product Line, Huawei;
  • And, Abhi Sur, Director of Communications Architecture.

Speaking after the event Joe Appleton remarked: "This really is a credit to the calibre of students that we have in the computing department here at Southampton Solent University."