Muscat: Under the auspices of the Information Technology Authority (ITA) and in collaboration with OmanTel, Microsoft Wednesday announced the launch of its Imagine Cup 2013 Competition in Oman, inviting all students aged 16 to 23 to participate in the world's premier student-technology competition.
The winning national team will represent Oman in the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, between July 8 and 13, 2013. Supported by its strategic partners and in cooperation with Knowledge Oman, Microsoft will organise a road show to various universities across the Sultanate to give students the chance to learn more about Imagine Cup and how they can participate in this worldwide annual competition.
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world's premier student-technology competition. Over the past 10 years, more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the Imagine Cup.
During the strategic-partnerships signing ceremony, Sheikh Saif Hilal Al Hosni, Business Development Manager for Microsoft Oman, said, "The Imagine Cup competition is the first step in a lifelong journey for a young entrepreneur, inventor, designer, developer, or innovator."
'Seize the opportunities'
He added, "With this 11th session of the Imagine Cup competition, we aim to inspire more students from all academic backgrounds to collaborate on applications and seize opportunities to impact the Omani community as well as the world."
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Salim Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, remarked, "We strongly believe in the potential of our youth, and we thank Microsoft for presenting them with such a unique opportunity to challenge themselves, achieve their ambitions, and represent the Sultanate internationally. Our collaboration comes as part of our continuous efforts to help support and develop Omani youths' skills and innovation in IT. We are keen to promote, inspire, empower, and support the Sultanate's future generations and help them succeed."
Another session in Oman
"We are pleased to support Microsoft's Imagine Cup Competition for another session in Oman, and we are excited to witness the hype this initiative creates within the youth community in the Sultanate," said Dr. Amer Al Rawas, Chief Executive Officer for OmanTel. "This collaboration comes in line with our commitment to support opportunities that help young Omanis flourish as the leaders of tomorrow."
More than 300 students participated in last year's session of the Imagine Cup Competition in Oman; the national winner was Team Grawesome from Sultan Qaboos University. The winning project "Blood it" was a system that monitored the blood supply in a blood bank.
In case of a shortage in a specific blood type or in case of an emergency, a GPS system would locate the nearest registered donors and automatically send them an SMS. The viable donor had to acknowledge the SMS and confirm his or her availability to donate; otherwise, the next donor in line would be contacted. The system took into account the number of blood units needed and would contact the right number of donors accordingly.
Commenting on their participation in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012, Team Grawesome said, "The Imagine Cup was an important experience for us, as programmers. In Sydney, we met a huge number of students and were introduced to great ideas; we also befriended some participants. Our participation in the Imagine Cup has opened the door to many opportunities, and now, we are working to establish our own business and are looking forward to participating in Imagine Cup 2013."
To inspire more students globally and to encourage a wider variety of aspiring innovators to participate, Microsoft has redesigned the Imagine Cup around three new core competitions, built on the core elements that have been the most popular with students over the past 10 years—social impact and gaming—while expanding the competition's focus on innovation.