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USP Wins Pacific Innovation Challenge 2017

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Team members of Chai-Yo with Dr Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and Dr Utkal Mehta, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Physics (centre).

Two teams from The University of the South Pacific (USP) were declared the winner and second runner up at the ANZ Pacific Innovation Challenge 2017 on 5 August 2017 at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva.

The teams Chai-Yo and Tranquillity were two (2) of six (6) teams of USP who were up against teams from the Fiji National University and University of Fiji.

The challenge, which was organised in partnership with USP, required students to provide solution to the topic “Digitalising Pacific – uncover barriers to the uptake of digital channels in the financial ecosystem, to help our people and communities thrive.”

“You bring your country to the app and the app will give it to the tourists” – this was the objective of the winning team as part of their solution.

The team, Chai-Yo proposed a mobile application that will assist tourists in reaching any destination in Fiji. It is different from other travel applications, in that, it guides the tourists along the way.

“For instance, if the tourists have to take a number of buses to reach their destination, the application will inform them which buses to take and where the checkpoints are to get on and off,” team member Ram Singh explained.

The application will also provide contact details of people/offices, which may come in handy in times of emergencies, for example, names and contact details of nearest restaurants, hotels, emergency services and villages close to the tourists.

“It is basically a mobile travel guide which is there with you all the time,” Ram said.

The application is built on four (4) pillars which the team refer to as FREN. The application has to give the user Freedom, it has to be Resilient and contain information when it is taken to areas where there are limited or no internet access, it has to be Exciting, as young people are the target users and it has to be Novel, an application which is new and different from the other apps.

“The selling point for this application is that it reaches out to so many people. Instead of telling the tourists where to go, you get all your tourism vendors and market them through one platform,” Ram said.

The teams from USP with Dr Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and International (with trophy).

Dr Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, congratulated the teams and said that she was delighted to note that the students not only came out victorious at the Challenge, but also came up with something which ANZ values.

“In general, innovation has become so important right across the world and in the Pacific particularly because it leads to development,” Dr Jokhan said.

Dr Jokhan thanked ANZ for bringing this kind of challenge outside of the classroom and the curriculum, because, she noted that “one thing that is lacking in the Pacific is such type of engagements where students really need to test out their capabilities.”

Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and International, said that he was pleased that USP had two (2) teams in the top three (3).

“It is a great credit to the students, schools and Faculties who were involved in this to support the students and it is really a fantastic achievement,” Professor Armstrong said.

Professor Armstrong added that it is also a way in which the students are involved in creating innovation and contributing to the Fijian society, as well as internationally.

The team will plan the idea and pitch it to the stakeholders and get help from University lecturers and experts on how to go about implementing this idea.

The members of the winning team received a trophy each with shopping voucher and a trophy was also awarded to the University.

Other teams from USP were The Mavericks, Chimera, Uprising Engineers and Team Infinity. The Mavericks were awarded Best Dressed Team. Student Sachin Mishra scooped the Standout Performance Award.

This news item was published on 7 Aug 2017 02:36:15 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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