Devs win big in Optus IT Challenge

Summary:IT innovations in the areas of eyewear, food delivery for the homeless, health and cabs have helped four IT teams pick up a share of $100,000 as part of the Optus Business Innovation Awards last week.

IT innovations in the areas of eyewear, food delivery for the homeless, health and cabs have helped four IT teams pick up a share of $100,000 as part of the Optus Business Innovation Awards last week.

The contest was narrowed down from hundreds of entrants to just nine in the areas of education, health, transport, food and eyewear.

FareShare, a volunteer organisation providing 2000 meals daily to over 130 charities in Melbourne, won for the development of an iPad application that allows the company's truck drivers to track the food stocks in real time. As drivers pick up excess food from businesses, the stock is updated through the iPad application. Based on the types and volumes of food received, the FareShare chef then determines the best recipe to provide to the charities on that day and provides that information to the organisation's volunteer cooks.

The organisation is entirely run by volunteers, and the IT volunteer took four weeks to develop an iPad app that connects three of the company's six trucks back to the organisation's base. Neville Rose, one of the volunteers with the organisation, said the prize money would most likely go to supporting the 3G services for the three iPads currently used for the truck drivers and potentially to expand the service to the other three trucks used by the organisation.

13CABS was also among the winners, picking up an award for its iPhone application. The company developed a taxi booking app in three months, and it has been downloaded over 100,000 times since its initial release. Stuart Overell, operations manager for 13CABS, told ZDNet Australia that the company would use its share of the money to fund development of its Android app, scheduled for release in April.

Web development company Aspedia won for a customer relationship management tool it had developed for medical advice hotline 1300 Health. The system allows calls to be logged for billing purposes. Christian Dale, software development manager, said the flexibility of the tool allowed the service to be opened up to patients for free during the Queensland floods.

Eyewear company Luxottica won the enterprise category for its open-source point of sale system. The system has been implemented in 1000 sites in Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa.

In the morning prior to the awards, 18 participants from the nine companies took part in a sports competition with tennis star Alicia Molik, rugby stars Matt Giteau and Stirling Mortlock, as well as AFL star Chris Judd. The teams competed for three rounds and the competition was easily won by the athletic duo from Ashmor Plumbing.

Josh Taylor traveled to Melbourne as a guest of Optus.

Topics: Apps, iPad, Optus, Telcos

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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