The winner of the 2012 Unleash Your App competition will use the prize money to attend next year’s Google I/O conference, after building an Android app that tracks users’ carbon footprint.
The competition, first launched in 2011, calls on Australian university students to develop Android mobile apps that aim to make users’ everyday lives easier.
Unleash Your App is run by Optus and NICTA (an Australian Government-funded information and communications technology research organisation). Entries are welcomed in six key areas: health and education, news and entertainment, social networking, utilities, productivity and lifestyle.
Daniel Grech won this year’s competition for his app TripGo Sydney, which gives Sydneysiders useful information on how to get around the city, while keeping track of their carbon footprint.
Grech, a student at the University of Western Sydney, received $5,000 in addition to a Samsung Galaxy Note to work on his app, which could be featured on the Optus App Store.
The prize money, meanwhile, is earmarked for a trip to California next year for the Google I/O conference.
Grech will also benefit from a session with industry experts from Optus and NICTA, designed to help him refine his skills as he seeks to become a leading app developer.
“Since I got my first Android phone, making apps for it has been a favourite hobby,” Grech says.
“Developing apps is something I would love to do professionally in the future, and the recognition from winning this competition will help a lot.”
The first runner-up of this year’s competition, postgraduate student Zakaria Bouguettaya, is also the winner of the 2011 competition.
Bouguettaya developed Community ProTag, which gives people the power to snap a photo of problems such as potholes and broken streetlights, and report it directly to their local council.
The second runner-up, Oliver O’Neill, developed crowdsourced app Passengers, which uses GPS to show where buses are on particular routes.
Bouguettaya and O’Neill, who both hail from the Australian National University in Canberra, received cash prizes of $1000 and $500 respectively.
Like Grech, Bouguettaya and O’Neill each receive a Samsung Galaxy Note in addition to a mentoring session and workshop at Optus.
According to Dr Terry Percival, leader of NICTA’s broadband and digital economy business team, mobile technology has “completely transformed the way we live and work”.
“NICTA is developing innovative software to meet the challenges of a dynamic, digital – and increasingly mobile – economy,” Percival said in a statement.
“The Unleash Your App competition [fosters] excellence in mobile applications development, and [is] supporting and encouraging the next generation of Australian ICT entrepreneurs.”