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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


These Hackers are the Good Guys

Nov 02, 2014 01:28AM

Zedd Shmais, James Staud and Nhat Tran, three computer science and engineering seniors, won a NTxApp Challenge contest and the $10,000 prize.

The 10-week North Texas (NTx) Apps Challenge was competition designed to generate innovative software-based solutions and companies to make North Texas more livable and sustainable, with $80,000 in prizes for the best submissions. NTx Apps was the first app challenge of this scale in Texas, and is modeled after several successful programs in New York City and San Diego. 

For the past several months, teams of developers and entrepreneurs have been building apps that address four key municipal growth challenges; water conservation, waste and recycling, smart energy and transportation. In October, the teams presented their completed projects to the challenge judges. The Challenge included numerous Hackathon events in which participants worked collaboratively with representatives from local governments on their app, as well as workshops on app development, coding and business skills from local experts. Through a special partnership with Gemalto, teams have been provided with special hardware that allows their apps to utilize mobile-to-mobile and Internet of Things (to control real-world devices) principals.

TheNTx Apps Challenge encompassed 85 days, 10 events, 27 partner organizations, 771 attendees, 18 submissions, and five winning apps. Each winning team received $10,000 cash upfront and an additional $10,000 in funding for continued development and work on the app. Each winning team is paired with a local app development, marketing, or creative agency to help polish their product and help bring it to market. Each team get six months of desk space at a local co-working place and winning teams get to pitch their creation in a special showcase in November, hosted by Dallas New Tech.These are the winners. water conservation. A web app and smart sprinkler system that incorporates weather data, neighborhood water usage and even municipal water restrictions to prevent overwatering of residential lawns.

Compost Denton: waste and recycling. A municipal composting service that uses a web app for customer management, weight tracking of materials composted, route optimization for drivers, and environmental monitoring of compost piles.

Energy Pal: smart energy. A mobile app for Android that displays real-time electricity usage to homeowners and allows users to track the electric usage of individual appliances.

Juxt: alternative fuel vehicles. A mobile app for iOS that allows drivers of alternative fuel vehicles to find fueling stations, parking spaces and other points of interest along their route and share this information with other app users.

GridLock: alternative fuel vehicles. A smart traffic light network that adjusts traffic light schedules to optimize traffic flow through real-time monitoring and analysis of traffic conditions.

Robert Kent, director of public policy for the North Texas Commission and NTx Apps Challenge co-founder, states, “With our region’s population set to double in the next 50 years, we need creative solutions to help us solve future challenges with water, waste, energy and transportation. “By bringing together our region’s startup entrepreneurs, technology firms and local governments, NTx Apps is an innovation ecosystem capable of generating powerful solutions for these issues.”

The North Texas Apps Challenge was organized by the North Texas Commission and the Cleanweb Initiative. The North Texas Commission is a regional nonprofit consortium of businesses, cities, counties, chambers of commerce, economic development entities and higher education institutions in the North Texas Region, designed to improves the economic vitality, infrastructure and lifestyle of North Texas by marketing the region, promoting collaboration and advocating on critical issues.The Cleanweb Initiative is a member-driven organization comprised of developers, entrepreneurs, investors with a goal to improve global sustainability, economic prosperity and human well-being.

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