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Dell EMC’s Student Competition Sees Spotlight Thrown on IoT, Data Analytics and AI

Dell EMC today announced the winners of ‘Envision the Future’, the annual graduation project competition for Turkey, Middle East and Africa region. The competition in its third year witnessed significant growth from the previous editions with over 329 project submissions by more than 1,450 senior undergraduate students, representing more than 70 universities in 18 countries in the region.

In its third edition, ‘Envision the Future’, sponsored by the Egyptian Centre of Excellence (COE), aims to inspire and support technological innovations among youth in the region. Aligned with the Dell 2020 Legacy of Good goal to apply the expertise and technology of Dell EMC to drive human progress in underserved communities, the annual competition provides the opportunity for students to propose creative solutions to urban challenges with advanced technologies.

The competition also saw the participation of seven new countries including Oman, from where the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) proceeded to feature among the winners in addition to Princess Noura University from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The winners were selected from a group of 31 shortlisted projects from nine countries, chosen through a blind review process by 25 professors from leading universities, located around the world and outside of the META region, ensuring the fair evaluation of all submitted projects. The winners were judged in the criteria of project idea, implementation, and presentation by technical experts from Dell Technologies.

Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President, Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Dell EMC, said, “As a part of our focus on engaging more students and expanding our regional impact, we continue to recognize the talent of youth in the region to use technology to drive human progress through our annual graduate competition. It is truly amazing to see the vision of these future innovators and their ambition to make the best use of our technology and expertise to solve real world problems. The next era of digitization presents immense opportunities in the near future emphasizing the need for skill development among future generations. In line with our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, we are committed to continue to equip students in the region with the knowledge, tools and networks required to ensure workforce readiness through the development of critical skills and to ultimately realize the digital future of the economy.”

Participating students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) demonstrated an automated irrigation system with the Internet of Things (IoT), using different sensors and a mobile application for accurate monitoring of the system. The project from the other winning team, Princess Noura University from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aims to capitalize on the data collected across time bound events in the region such as hackathons to provide insights through data driven analysis and interactive visualizations. Through the availability of information, effectively classified into different categories, the platform contributes to building the innovation ecosystem in the region.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector, German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), said, “As technology rapidly advances and evolves, the learning experience and university curriculums need to be consistently enhanced to keep pace. Envision the Future perfectly complements our vision of providing the highest standards in education, research and innovation by providing the opportunity for our students to experiment and work with emerging technologies. We are proud of our students for their remarkable success in this year’s Dell EMC graduate project competition and their application of creative and critical thinking to solve real world problems, graduates’ attributes we emphasize in curriculum and learning.”

The other competition finalists creatively used emerging technologies such as IoT to prevent drowsiness-related traffic incidents by King Faisal University, build a medical shield by Alexandria University, smart home by King Saud University and BitCube Cryptosystem by University of Dammam. King Abdulaziz University also used Artificial intelligence (AI) to build a face recognition-based mobile application for a safe dismissal routine while Cairo University used big data to propose healthcare innovation titled ‘Microphage’.

Auhood Alfaries, Dean, College of Computer and Information Sciences, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Saudi Arabia, said, “At Princess Noura University we pride ourselves on driving innovation and entrepreneurship among our students. As one of the pioneering and leading all-female universities, we consistently strive to enhance the skills of the future generation of women Saudi professionals and our collaboration with Dell EMC Academic Alliance program plays a significant role in preparing them for future success. Through competitions like Envision the Future, our students are given the unique opportunity to showcase their capabilities with emerging technologies, pushing them to put their technical knowledge to work and bringing technology to life creatively.”

Witnessing significant year on year growth, the ‘Envision the Future’ competition saw 154 per cent more project submissions from last year. The increasing number of participants also witnessed an upward trend in female student participants, growing from 521 students last year to 794 this year. The third edition of the competition was uniquely characterized by all-female winning teams from both universities, the German University of Technology and Princess Noura University, indicating a positive trend of growing interest and skill in technology, among the future female workforce.

By providing an opportunity for students to showcase their ability to build world changing innovations, the competition drives the next generation of IT leaders to review a wide range of emerging technologies and apply the knowledge acquired from the Dell EMC Academic Alliance program in their respective universities. The annual competition coupled with the program prepares students for future careers in a transforming industry by equipping them with relevant marketable knowledge and skills.

Marwa Zaghow, EMEA Channel Senior Manager –Education, Dell EMC, said, “The Dell EMC Academic Alliance program collaborates with universities in the region to develop the skills of the future and foster innovation among the next generation of IT professionals. Envision the Future provides the opportunity for hands-on learning and we have witnessed substantial growth in the competition over the years with regards to participation and quality of submissions. In addition to this, the increasing participation of young women paints a bright picture of gender diversity in technology highlighting their interest in careers in the field, a positive indicator for economic growth and cultural change in the region as well.”

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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