Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) Hackathon Programme 2015

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The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), carried out a study and identified 207 geographical clusters with an estimated 36.8 million people all over Nigeria who have little or no access to telecommunication services including telephony, Internet and other ICT services. The study outcome (Clusters of ICT Gap) provides an opportunity for innovative Nigerians to create sustainable solutions that would drive equitable ICT access for all.

The Hackathon

USPF is calling brilliant Software Developers, Data Scientists, UX Designers, ICT experts, Engineers, Strategists, Public Policy Experts and Students to get involved and solve this underlying ICT change within 48 hours by building fully working prototypes of their solutions following specific technical guidelines.

What your Team need to Crack

  • Any solution or technology that could extend telecoms services and connectivity into previously unreached areas in Nigeria.
  • Visualisation & Natural Language Interface software for the access gap data and other large data sets. Spatial data infrastructure.
  • Decision support and network-optimisation software that help Telecom carriers, and other companies to plan their expansion.
  • Prototype of a web-based data market place that allows for natural language search and easy visualization of data (sponsored by iDEA.SpecialPrize).
  • Business models that can bring commercial viability to existing USPF projects, and other rural connectivity projects.
  • Your prototypes should be relevant to various economic sectors, especially, education, health, agriculture, entertainment and infrastructure.

The Challenge
The challenge is for teams of people to build prototypes of applications, technologies, tools, services or any other kind of innovation within a 48-hour period between Friday evening of September 18 and Sunday evening (September 20).

The following challenges have been set for the hackathon:

  • Any solution or technology that could extend telecoms services and connectivity into unserved and underserved areas of Nigeria
  • Visualisation & Natural Language Interface software for the access gap data and other large data sets. Spatial data infrastructure.
  • Alternative last-mile technologies that provide telephony, broadband, and any other kind of connectivity
  • Decision support and network-optimisation software that help Telecom carriers, and other companies to plan their expansion
  • Mobile and electronic payment solutions for financial inclusion that work in areas unserved by telecoms
  • Prototype of a web-based data marketplace that allows for natural language search and easy visualization of data (sponsored by iDEA. Special Prize)
  • Business models that can bring commercial viability to existing USPF pilot projects, and other rural connectivity projects
  • GPS based information services

Solutions worked on at the hackathon should have commercial sustainability and should provide the same services to underserved and unserved areas, as are available in served areas. These include connectivity, entertainment, information, resources and solutions that will improve ICT access.

It is expected that prototypes presented at the hackathon will be relevant to various economic sectors, especially, education, health, agriculture, and infrastructure. Participating teams should be mindful of potential customers when developing their prototypes. Such customers could include governments, USPF, Telcos, Farmers, Banks, Society and other groups and entities.

We request that teams working on hardware solutions, should notify us ahead of time if they will need additional resources, so that the organizers could make them available

Competition Format

  • All participants arrive before kickoff at 4pm. Every person submitting an idea to be worked on at the Hackathon pitches for 1 minute. Participants vote to choose the best 10-15 ideas (depending on the number of entries received).
  • Teams will be formed to work on the selected ideas, and initial meetings and ice breaking between teams will occur. The teams will receive briefings on competition rules. Since teams have to submit working prototypes, each team will work with the organisers to define what constitutes a working prototype for their entry.
  • The teams will commence work immediately. The competition runs non-stop until 4pm on Sunday with applicable break times as determined by the team. Teams will each give 6-minute pitches showcasing their applications. Any functionality attributed to any team’s submission during the pitches, has to be verified to be
  • Existent by the judges upon testing. Judges will appraise the entries on the basis of the pitches and the prototypes submitted.

Eligibility
The Challenge is open to:

  • Anybody within Nigerian territory that is present at the hackathon venue
  • Pre-formed teams that work at the same organisation, provided that they have not worked on their entry together in the past
  • Any pre-formed team, provided that the members have not worked on their USPF hackathon submission together in the past

The Challenge is NOT open to:

  • Employees, and relatives of USPF, IDEA Nigeria, Growing Business Foundation, Federal Ministry of Communications Technology, Strategy and Execution, Nigeria Communications Commission and any other partners at the hackathon
  • Any team planning to submit solutions/technologies that they had previously worked on together in whole or in part 7.

Prizes
Winners with outstanding solutions stand a chance to win amazing prizes.

  • 1st Prize – N1 Million naira + acceptance into Incubation Program
  • 2nd Prize – N750,000 naira + acceptance into Incubation Program
  • 3rd Prize – N500,000 naira + acceptance into incubation program

The prizes, disbursed by iDEA’s Incubation Programme on behalf of USPF, will enable startups continue developing their prototypes towards a full launch.

The USPF Hackathon will hold as follows:

  • Date: Friday, 18th September, 20th Sunday, September, 2015.
  • Venue: iDEA Nigeria – 296, Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, Lagos State, Nigeria.
  • Time: 400pm

Competition Rules

Teams:

  • Teams can be anywhere from four to six members.
  • Teams will be formed by people signing up to work on ideas selected for the Hackathon.
  • Pre-formed teams are allowed, but must not have worked together in the past on their submission to the USPF hackathon.
  • The organisers reserve the right to assign participants to teams.
  • Code, Design, Build etc.:
  • To ensure a level field for all contestants, all code, design, and assets must be created during the duration of the Hackathon. We want to ensure that all participants start off on the same footing and we also want to preserve the true nature of a hackathon.
  • You are, however, free to make plans, and brainstorm prior to the event. The only exception to this rule would include material that is freely available to the public. Some examples of this would be: public domain images, open source libraries. We take this rule very seriously for the sake of all members attending the event. Failure to comply may result in the offending team’s disqualification.
  • Teams working on hardware offerings are allowed to procure materials they would need ahead of the hackathon, with the hard proviso that no coupling can occur. If you require any help getting components like devices, boards and sensors, contact the organisers, and we’ll see if we can assist.
  • APIs, Services & Open Source:
  • The exception to the above rule is that you are encouraged to use 3rd party services, APIs, open source projects, libraries, and frameworks.
  • We also allow rapid testing and rapid prototyping sites and services.
  • Ownership:
  • All teams retain full ownership of what they have created during the Hackathon.
  • By participating in the hackathon, each individual accepts that ownership of any work created at the hackathon is shared by all team members.
  • We also have release forms attesting to this.
  • Decorum:
  • There will be no alcohol served or allowed at the event.
  • No loud music is allowed, and participants must respect other attendees and follow the ground rules set by the host facility managers.
  • Teams are required to have their brainstorm sessions and loud discussions in the meeting rooms and other parts of the building away from the main hall.

How to Participate

  • Interested applicant should Register and Download guidelines for participation.
  • You do not need to submit an idea to participate in the Hackathon, however you are free to do so if inclined.
  • After registration, you will receive an e-mail confirming your participation.

Click here to apply online

Click here to Download USPF Guidelines pdf

For enquiries, email: [email protected]

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