Under the patronage of His Excellency the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications, Boutros Harb, the final award ceremony of “Challenge ME!” Internet of Things (IoT) Competition took place on November 11. The competition featured the participation of 70 projects from different Arab countries. The 19-member jury committee announced the top three winners from the 16 projects finalists. The project “Load Me” from United Arab Emirates won the first prize, and project “UB Card” from Palestine won the second prize. The third prize went to “Project Portable Neck Treatment” from Jordan.
The competition finals took place in Beirut, hosted by Berytech, where participants presented their final projects in a three-minute pitch before the jury and answered their questions. His Excellency the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications addressed the audience with his keynote followed by the announcement of the winning projects and the awarding of the top three winners.
Harb stated “It is a pleasure to host in Beirut, for the first time, Intel ‘Challenge ME!’ with such organizers and young participants who share the passion and skills to utilize technology to offer solutions that enrich our lives. Intel is a multinational leading company and they never fail to choose the best. I am confident that all of the ideas and projects participating in this competition have a unique value, and I encourage all participants to continue their journey to reach a global success. The Internet of Things technology promises a brilliant tomorrow for humanity and connecting people.”
“Challenge ME!” is an IoT competition, held for the first time in the MENA region. It is led by Intel Corporation and is made possible through cooperation with several educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and business incubators from all across the Middle East.
The final stage of the competition was held in Beirut during an extensive three-day workshop and training aiming at improving the efficiency of the participating projects and help them achieve future success in their endeavors.
“We would like to congratulate the winning projects for taking their first step on the path of success. Our support for Intel “Challenge ME!” is part of our Intel Innovation Initiative – INARA and is part of our commitment in terms of inspiring the next generation of Arab innovators and fostering the growth of knowledgebase economy in the region,” said Eng. Taha Khalifa, Regional Director of Intel MENA.
Mr. Maroun N. Chammas, Chairman & CEO of Berytech, commented: “Together with key partners, Berytech is riding the Internet of Things wave and has already committed to providing the Lebanese finalists with the support of its ecosystem, favoring their growth into successful entrepreneurs.
Among all the technology trends that are taking place right now, one of the biggest rising sectors is the Internet of Things; it’s the one that’s going to give us the highest disruption over the next few years while creating pioneer opportunities in the tech field.
This unique event presents an excellent opportunity to encourage regional networking and collaboration with entrepreneurs and partners opening up opportunities for business development and exchange of culture and expertise, while building the future of entrepreneurship and technology in the region”.
From his perspective, Joseph Ged, CEO of Ooredoo Algeria, stated: “Ooredoo is proud to support ‘Challenge ME!’ which promotes the rich innovative and creative potential of the youth across the Arab world. Ooredoo’s participation in this initiative is aligned with its strategy to provide the youth with exceptional opportunities to enhance their entrepreneurial spirit and develop their leadership particularly in the field of Information Technologies and Communication.”
Ooredoo Algeria joined Intel as a strategic partner in the competition. The latter was further supported by several business incubators in the region, such as GLOW, Oobarmijoo, Oasis500, Berytech, TIEC, Esprit, and Intel IoT Lab. Several educational institutions and Arab universities promoted the competition among their students, such as the Nile University, King Fahd University for Petroleum and Metals, American Arab University in Jenin, Birzeit University, Palestine Technical University, Palestine Polytechnic University, Sacred Heart University, and Petra University. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in the MENA region also participated in the competition.
The competition awarded the winners with USD 15000, divided among the first three winners. The first place went home with USD 7500, the second with USD 5000, and the third with USD 2500. A special award was given to the best project developed using Intel electronic boards. In addition, both the first and second prize winners will have the opportunity to participate in the “Intel Challenge Up!” Finals taking place in London. Two of the participating projects were also selected to visit Intel IoT Ignition Lab in Dubai and enroll in an extensive technical training. The winning projects were also presented with other valuable awards by the partners.