Over 100 young developers are now gearing up to do battle in the island’s, and in fact the region’s, first ever 24-hour Sports Hackathon – a coding competition being held as part of the Government of Jamaica/World Bank IT initiative Digital Jam 2.0, tomorrow Thursday June 28 at the Jamaica Conference Centre beginning 9:00 a.m. The competition will precede the two day mega tech event comprised of workshops, expert international presenters, exhibits and seminars, at the same venue and open to the public, June 29-30 beginning at 9AM daily.
The Digital Jam 2.0 programme of activities is a collaborative effort between the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank, local private sector companies and other developmental and tech-based partners in a creative response to the growing challenges of youth unemployment in Jamaica. Several major international firms have confirmed their participation in the event to exhibit and also present expert advice, including Microworker, Samasource, Wildfire Interactive, Mobile works, and 500 startups.
Like sports, the marathon event will test the programmers’ stamina, speed and execution as they compete to develop practical mobile and web apps solutions for sports in just 24 hours, under the sub theme ‘Sprint Factory Apps to di World’.
In training for it, the participants have already undergone serious preparations through four sets of Tech Camps held in Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay. Each of these sessions brought together experts within the developer community, sports enthusiasts and professionals and the eager participants to share ideas and explore how technology can better enable the sports industry as a social development tool and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for technologically inclined youths.
In noting the importance of ‘marrying technology with sports’, Digital Jam Project Coordinator Ingrid Riley highlighted the Caribbean’s rich sporting history and the need for technology to support that to ensure not only the sustainability and growth of that proud legacy, but also provide an avenue through which sporting enthusiasts can become closely linked within the region and Diaspora.
“The sports industry has a lot to gain from leveraging technology and through the Tech Camps held as a lead up to the competition we saw an abundance of talent within Jamaica’s tech and developer communities and we are excited to see what their creativity will produce by way of practical, profitable and fun solutions,” Riley said.
“Ideation sessions were held with key persons in Netball, Track and Field, Football, Cricket to identify some of the ‘pain points’ that they have within their respective sporting disciplines and we will now take these problem statements and give to the participants to develop a mobile or web app as completely as possible in creative response to these challenges.”
A panel of judges will then rate the proposed solutions and declare the winning teams for cash, internships, trophies and gadgets. Cash prizes of US$3,000, US2,000 and US$1,000 will be awarded to the top three teams. The Judging of the final apps and team presentations will be staged on June 29 – day one of the Digital Jam 2.0 exposition – in front a live panel of judges.
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