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March 5, 2018 7:41 AM

Students develop smart city solutions at Conestoga competition

During Conestoga’s Student Success Week, held between February 26 and March 2, students were invited to participate in the college’s annual 4x4 challenge. The event showcases students’ entrepreneurial and technical skills by encouraging them to find innovative solutions to real-world problems while competing for prizes.

Conestoga College 4x4 challenge 2018.jpg
Participants in the 2018 4x4 challenge were required to develop smart city solutions. A team called "Bob's Utilities" finished in first place and also received the Best New Venture award. The team will advance to Conestoga's Pitch Day competition on March 28.

This year, participants were invited to develop smart city solutions -- solutions that use innovation, data and technology to improve the lives of residents. Students began their projects on February 28 and presented them at the 4x4 showcase on March 2 to members of the college community, industry partners, judges and sponsors.

The showcase opened with a keynote presentation from Murray Marven, senior IOT and Smart City Solutions consultant with Bell Mobility, and remarks from Matthew Chandy of the Region of Waterloo’s Economic Development office.

Chandy commented on the Region’s bid for Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge and the timeliness of the 4x4 challenge. The Smart Cities Challenge encourages communities to adopt approaches that will improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

“It’s great to see this type of thing happening,” said Chandy. “This event is fantastic -- I’m excited to see the ideas that come out of it.”

The 4x4 Challenge was launched in 2012 by Ig Kolenko, chair of Conestoga’s School of Engineering and Information Technology and director of the college’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing. Competition prizes were sponsored by the Hamilton Technology Centre, the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, Focus21 and Kolenko himself.

During the showcase, nine Conestoga student teams presented their smart city solutions. The top prize was awarded to Bob’s Utilities, a group that included students Tyler Boutilier, Nicole Edwards, Sean Spencer, James Sherry and Tony Vu who pitched plans for an application for consumer and industry use that will identify water leaks quickly, shut off water valves easily, prevent major flooding and water waste, and reduce costs. The team received $1,000 in prize money.

Bob’s Utilities also received the Best New Venture award sponsored by Conestoga’s Centre for Entrepreneurship which grants the team automatic entry into the college’s Pitch Day @ Conestoga competition on March 28.

Second place, $500: Guen Young Gil, Lingchen Meng, Ibrahim Naamani and Marcus Rankin developed A. Eye -- a system that improves the safety of communities by providing live actionable intelligence for vision recognition. It could be used to help identify and find missing children, or identify intruders in a workplace or school setting.

Third place, $300: Marco Fontana, Dustin Brown, Anthony Bastos and Ronnie Skowron pitched a mobile application designed to streamline the process of reporting the location of dirty needles.

Fourth place, $150: Mateus Gurgel, Manuel Poppe Richter, Ben Schropp and Humaira Siddiqa pitched an application that allows community members to easily report infrastructure problems to the city.

Fifth place, $150: Emily Goodwin, Felipe Flor, Wesley Martin and Ricardo Mohammed pitched Argus -- a system that generates live population density information based on WiFi connections to support crowd safety and accessibility issues.

Before announcing the winner, Kolenko thanked sponsors and students for their interest and participation in the 4x4 challenge, and said the work presented by students went far beyond what is expected in class.

For more information about the annual 4x4 Challenge, contact Ig Kolenko.

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