2019 sees MTN Business bringing two events on the annual ICT calendar together. South African developers wanting to make a mark in the growing app development or the IoT spaces are invited to submit their original tech solutions for consideration for this year’s editions of the MTN Business App of the Year Awards and IoT Conference & Awards.
2018 MTN Business App of the Year Award winners
These awards celebrate the talent and out-of-the-box thinking aimed at driving disruption and change. Historically, the events have been attended by more than 800 delegates including captains of industry, key ICT stakeholders, developers, MTN partners and other business leaders in the technology sector.
The winners of the respective competitions, which will both be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 24 October 2019 are considered to be the Oscars of the ICT industry in Africa. The IoT Conference and Awards will be held during the daytime and will be capped off with the MTN Business App of the Year Awards in the evening.
There are several categories in each of the two competitions. After intensive adjudication processes by panels of expert judges, the overall winners will each walk away with the trip of a lifetime to a destination like Silicon Valley, USA, Tech Crunch in Germany or a tech event of their choice internationally to the value of R200,000.
The developers of last year’s winning solution at the IoT Conference & Awards opted to travel to Silicon Valley to further their business interests, while the MTN Business App of the Year’s winning team travelled to the coveted Tech Crunch conference.
“Over the past few years, these two platforms have unearthed and profiled ground-breaking, home-grown apps and tech solutions that have become household names and topics of discussion at business events. We believe that by combining the brand appeal of these two development initiatives, we can make a meaningful contribution to the growth of the ICT sector. Additionally, we are reaffirming our commitment to champion the app development movement by promoting game-changing, local solutions that are scalable and commercially viable on the global stage,” says Wanda Matandela, chief enterprise officer of MTN Business.
And the category is…
Entries in the IoT Conference & Awards will be considered in the following categories:The Best Commercial IoT Solution: An existing solution that is already available in the market and has proven to be commercially viable. The Most Disruptive IoT Solution: An existing solution that brings rapid disruption or change in its environment, or one which has the potential to revolutionise industries. Best Enterprise Development Solution: The best solution developed by an enterprise development beneficiary or developer that has gone through an incubation programme. Innovative Hardware in IoT: An IoT hardware solution that originates from an established business or organisation. Best Industry 4.0 solution: Industry 4.0 solutions that help to better gather and analyse data and transform it into actionable, real-time, insightful information. This supports the connection of global operations to the enterprise and extended business systems, allowing for better collaboration, faster problem-solving and improved innovation.
MTN Business App of the Year Awards categories include:
Best Consumer Solution: This application should look at opportunities to make the lives of the everyday consumer easier and more convenient. The solution needs to be customer-centric. Best Enterprise Solution: A solution specifically focused on businesses or companies. The application should talk to business challenges, e.g. storage, CRM or the Internet of Things. Best Women in STEM: This category recognises the great work being created by women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field. This solution should inspire and showcase great skill and achievement in one of these fields. Best Incubated Solution: A solution created and built by an individual or team that is currently being developed by an accelerator or incubator hub.
In the lead up to the awards ceremonies in October, MTN is hosting industry breakfast sessions that seek to discuss what types of apps are required in various industries and hopefully inspire developers wanting to get involved to develop tech solutions that meet these needs.
A session in Cape Town on 27 August will focus on IoT solutions for the industrial, manufacturing, retail and insurance industries. Another session in Pretoria on 10 September will focus on creating smart cities through IoT.
Submissions for both competitions close 25 September 2019, paving the way for the shortlisting process. Each competition has a separate judging panel of leading tech experts.
During the second round, each of the finalists will be invited to MTN in Johannesburg or via Skype if based outside of Johannesburg to pitch their solution to the judges. Contestants will be given 10 minutes to pitch, followed by a Q&A session. The judging process will be audited by global auditing firm, PwC.
According to Statista, the app development industry is projected to exceed $189 billion by 2020. However, despite the mercurial growth of the global app development economy, Africa’s share of the number of app developers and app revenue is very negligible according to a report published by Caribou Digital titled: Winners & Losers in the Global App Economy.
Despite the exponential growth of the app development industry in Africa, leading countries comprising of South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, cumulatively contribute less than 5% of developers and generate less than 5% of the global app revenue.
“The MTN Business App of the Year Awards and the IoT Conference & Awards seek to address this by fostering the creation of a vibrant and commercially viable app development industry. We believe that the socio-economic challenges facing the country and the continent create an opportunity for local developers to innovate and develop home-grown solutions that can advance the rest of the world and increase our share of revenue in the app development economy,” concludes Matandela.