The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Telecom Egypt, and supported by Microsoft Egypt and Yomken.com (crowd-solving partner) are launching an innovation competition titled “The Internet of Things for Persons with Disabilities”. This competition is part of the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), an annual programme that aims to support young men and women from across the region in exploring innovative approaches to addressing sustainable development challenges, with a specific focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The competition aims to target young aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators, between the ages of 19 and 29 years old, who have a solution’s matured prototype using the Internet of Things (IoT) to support persons with disabilities. The Internet Of Things requires sensing mechanisms, which may come from various sources and forms, such as scanning barcodes, sensing movements and temperature, or recognising facial expressions. It also requires transferring data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. For example, “Braille Back” is one of the applications using IoT, made to connect a supported refreshable braille display to the user’s device via Bluetooth where it can be read and heard.
“The use of IoT as a tool to improve human lives is currently a novel field of innovation with endless opportunities. Persons with disabilities face many challenges in Egypt, and more innovative solutions are needed to improve their quality life,” Advisor to the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Doctor Abeer Shakweer, said.
Proposed solutions need to address one of the following themes: Accessibility to public spaces and transport, education, employment, and health and early intervention.
Richard Dictus, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said: “We believe in the major role that information technology plays in empowering young people and opening new horizons for them. We are delighted and honoured to be partners in this competition, which gives young people and women the opportunity to innovate, support and find solutions for making the lives of persons with disabilities much better.”
Engineer Ahmed Al Beheiri, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Egypt, said: “We have great enthusiasm to participate in such activities that direct or use modern technology in the service of society and people with special needs in particular. This is part of the social responsibility activities set by Telecom Egypt and it’s their top priority”.
The competition will be launched on Yomken.com, an online crowd-solving platform. In the first phase, ten teams will be selected to participate in an intensive boot camp and will be trained on the use of assistive technologies, the internet of things, business skills and marketing. Teams will also receive mentoring sessions with experts in the field. In the second phase, five teams will be selected to be represented at a regional innovation conference, organised by UNDP Arab States. Up to three teams will be selected in the third phase to participate in the world renowned ‘Mobile World Congress’ held every February in Barcelona, Spain.
13 September 2017