December 6, 2012
Ericsson North America recently challenged Texas university students to a 24-hour, round-the-clock app development competition - known as a hackathon.
Twelve teams lent their enthusiasm, intelligence and talent to create apps that help feed hungry families by making the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) more flexible and efficient.
The teams from Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Texas at Arlington used Ericsson’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to build the mobile apps, showcasing their skills in front of Ericsson employees and executives, as well as leaders from AT&T.
Barbara Baffer, head of Corporate Affairs & Communications, remarked on the great talent exhibited by the students: “It’s amazing what these students can produce in only 24 hours. It is very encouraging to see young, gifted students come to Ericsson to work hard and produce truly innovative ideas and solutions. These students have a great future ahead in technology.”
While all of the teams had great ideas, three were selected as the winners by a panel of judges. The first place team, Mustang Developers, was comprised of students from Southern Methodist University. Their app, BiteBlast, is an automated donation alert system that notifies food recipients when certain items are available and notifies both donors and the public when specific items are needed.
The North Texas Food Bank now has the opportunity to work with the winning team to further develop the application. Not only does BiteBlast help the food bank fulfill its mission to feed people in need, but it also ties in with this year’s campaign, which asks people to “Rethink Hunger.”
Through this unique competition, held in early November, Ericsson combined its Corporate Responsibility program, Technology for Good, with real-world testing of company APIs. Technology for Good is focused on ensuring that Ericsson’s technology is a force for good and lasting social change.
“We wanted to reframe the way we think of the Technology for Good program,” says Luis Ortiz, RNAM Communications and Brand Manager. “This hackathon was designed to combine our commitment to corporate responsibility with an initiative that is directly aligned with our business. It was so successful we would like to make it a model we can replicate with universities across the country.”
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