James Cook University and TechnologyOne tap into Townsville student thinking for innovative water management solutions
TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE), Australia’s leading enterprise Software as a Service provider, today applauded James Cook University (JCU) for its successful 2017 Design Sprint. The event assembled 160 JCU Information Technology students for two intensive days of problem solving and creative collaboration, to identify solutions to the region’s critically low water supplies
Organised by the Design Thinking strand at JCU, the 2017 grand challenge area centred on Water Management, a timely and relevant topic as Townsville is currently operating under level three water restrictions. 27 student teams (made up of five or six students from across first, second and third years) moved quickly through the Design Thinking methodology to refine an idea, develop a prototype and pitch their idea to a panel of judges.
TechnologyOne participated as a major sponsor of the event, as well as providing senior staff to act as mentors, subject matter experts and judges. Other participating organisations included Townsville City Council, Townsville Airport, Safety Culture, Coca-Cola Amatil and the CSIRO.
According to Matthew Deshon, Research and Development (R&D) Evangelist at TechnologyOne, the 2017 event is the beginning of a long partnership between TechnologyOne and JCU for future Design Sprints.
“JCU, Queensland Airport, and Townsville City Council are all longstanding customers of TechnologyOne and we are delighted to be a part of an initiative that gives back to this region and our customers,” said Deshon. “The event also exposed us to the amazing talent of the JCU technology faculty and students.”
The team that won the TechnologyOne prize for the ‘Best Enterprise Idea’ focused on water management for gardens, which was identified as the category of greatest water use in Townsville. The solution combined soil moisture and water-use data with weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to inform a resident whether they should water their garden or not.
“The students really impressed us with their teamwork, mentor engagement and pitch presentation,” said Deshon. “They thought through the data analysis required, investigated cost of the sensors, produced a wireframe prototype of the user interface and identified a possible revenue stream of selling up-to-the-minute soil moisture readings to insurance companies so they can assess claims faster after a weather event.”
The winning solution is scalable beyond residential use to commercial organisations that maintain gardens, including farming and the $270 billion agribusiness industry in Australia. It is also portable, so could be sold to water utilities and authorities around the world.
“This innovation is particularly relevant to the work TechnologyOne undertakes with councils and water authorities around the world as they work toward transforming into smart communities. Connected digital communities are built on a foundation of big data, cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility. The students’ innovative idea harnessed every one of these technologies,” said Deshon.
“We’re always looking for ways to foster the next generation of technology leaders. Events like the JCU Design Sprint serve to equip students with relevant skills for a successful career in the booming technology industry,” said Deshon.
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