A group of Wits students have won the DizSparks app competition after creating a new app for students.
Aniss Krid, Elishahidi Mvungi, Gary Bezuidenhout and Linda Khumalo created the Gig guide app where events, parties and social activities can be advertised for easy access to students through specific categories.
The Wits Locate and I’m Interested apps were also announced under the top three at the Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) in Braamfontein.
These students formed part of the 16 applicants who took part in the month long DIZ Sparks campaign, aimed at helping to develop the app creation skills of students from diverse backgrounds.
The challenge was conducted in association with iAfrika and included not only Wits University students but anyone who wanted to take part in the competition.
Event co-ordinator, Xoliswa Nahlangu explained that the campaign was not only to train the students in app development, “The competition was done to introduce the Wits varsity students to DIZ”
DIZ is a digital technology hub for the greater Johannesburg area that is open to all students and start-ups.
The applicants were tasked with creating new Apps, from design to formation, that can be added to the WitsM mobile apps as well as be available to be re-used at other tertiary institutions and App stores.
The applicants ideas were presented to a panel of judges led by Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, the director of JCSE at Wits University. The panel investigated whether there was a demand for the app in a student market and presented the winners with an Apple iPad Air.
The challenge provided mentors as well as commercial App developers who helped the students in their month long task that began in the conception stage, which involved unpacking the usefulness of the app for potential users. From there the applicants could refine their ideas before beginning to build a prototype of their app, with the help of experts in the field.
The challenge helped the students to come up with ideas but also to create apps that appeal to the market said Nahlangu.
The public was also invited to a Learnathon where they could learn more about how to create apps and the tools involved.
Nahlangu spoke about the importance of developing mobile app creation skills in South Africa, “There is a huge market … companies have realized that they need to be on a mobile platform in Africa… not everyone has internet access, but people have access to internet on their phones.”