by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – THE judging panel for the MTN Business App of the Year Awards believes the quality of the entries has improved remarkably.
Business leaders and experts, including previous winners of the awards comprise the panel and have been unanimous in their position.
“The entries have been incredible,” said Ellen Fischat, Co-founder of Inner Cycle and Story Room.
“This shows that South Africans have picked up their game. The solutions are innovative and come from unexpected places,” Fischat added.
Arno Von Helden, Executive Head: Forex Solutions, Standard Bank, whose team took top honours at last year’s awards with their Shyft app, said many of the apps submitted were designed to address online identity management.
“We also saw a lot of education-type apps that either offer direct tutoring in a game-like manner, and apps that connect tutors to students, as well as those that connect the market place for students,” said Von Helden.
“Another trend that came out strongly was business-to-consumer apps that connect consumers to service providers of their choice,” he said.
Clint O’Shea, a gaming enthusiast who runs Zombiegamer, a website and gaming events company, as well as Cape Town-based TGN Racing Simulators, concurred.
He said one of the common themes this year was that the solutions were customised to solve South Africa’s unique socio-economic challenges.
O’Shea said previously, the bulk of the entries focused more on creating IoT ecosystems and finding ways to make this applicable to our local conditions.
“This year, the entries are more grounded, and are mainly aimed at providing working solutions in the areas of education and agriculture,” he said.
Annette Muller, Founder of Flexy, a new online platform that enables companies to work with an on-demand workforce from anywhere in the world, said although she was impressed by the improved quality of entries, she believes that there is still room for app developers and innovators to deepen collaboration.
She said the app development industry has grown substantially over the past few years but mentorship and collaboration were missing.
“If app developers would be open to more collaboration, they can leverage their strengths and unlock further innovation,” Muller said.
She encouraged app developers who are still hesitant about submitting entries to the MTN Business App of the Year Awards to refine their solutions for next year’s competition.
The judging process that concluded last week will culminate with the winners, in various categories, being announced in Johannesburg next Thursday.
The overall winner will win a trip to Silicon Valley valued at R200 000. Since its inception, the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has discovered a number of apps that are commonly used today.
– CAJ News