IBM promotes software develoment with competition

IBM
As part of efforts targeted at growing local talents in software development, IBM recently organised a train to stir up the sector.

Tagged: IBM “CogniHack Lagos 2016”, a software coding competition the programme had two focal focus, which are to discover innovations and creativity.

According to IBM, talent has never been in short supply in the Nigerian environment.

As such, showcasing its ongoing investment in the local technology space, IBM said the software competition was specifically designed to brush up the cloud and cognitive computing skills of the software development community.

The coding challenge assembled scores of pre-selected local talent – from idea generators, to app designers, freelance programmers, budding software designers and creative hacks. They came from academia; independent software vendors from places as far as Ibadan, Abeokuta, Abuja, Gusau in Zamfara state, and Zaria in Kaduna state, including a coding teams from local start-ups Software Alliance, Relational Technologies, Andela (which recently got a multi-million dollar boost from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg), and United Kingdom-based team of Nigerian-born developers.

Their collective tasks was to collaborate on developing solutions for the financial services sector, using IBM’s BlueMix development platform, Watson Developer Cloud and other IBM and third party cloud-based tools. Their resultant applications will be web and mobile ready. And they had less than 72 hours to come up with their mobile and web-based blueprints.

The young innovators were challenged to unleash their software design and coding skills on building software solutions around customer engagement and customer insights. But before even getting them to work in teams at its Client and Innovation Center in Lagos (venue of the coding competition), it had curated a series of banking industry challenges and issues from local banks for the constructive teams (white hackers) to work on, pooling them into easily addressable hackathon prompts.

In layman’s terms these hackathon prompts reflect the current headaches of the Nigerian and regional banking industry. Contemporary mobile and electronic banking issues like customer service, money management, bill payments, storage, connecting farmers to sellers etc.

Two banking technology experts, Henry Ideozu and Victor Okigbo representing Heritage Bank and Access Bank respectively, also enriched the coding contest with their savvy technical expertise, retail banking use cases and insights.

Eventually, at the end of the competition, IBM found app designs from three teams worthy of commercial progression, based on the fact that “their ideas and solutions were viable, innovative, scalable and had a path to potential profitability for banking institutions.,” according to Tomi Akingbade, Associate Partner at IBM’s Watson Transformations team for the financial services sector.

“Team CogniBank” emerged tops, with the best software design, according to the CogniHack jury comprising of techies from IBM and banking industry. Aimed primarily at improving customer satisfaction levels, their application deploys information retrieval concepts to support and optimize usage of the internet banking and mobile banking delivery channels. The CogniBank application is built around IBM’s Watson Artificial Intelligence platform, enabling prompt and relevant response to customer queries.



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