Hackathon to inspire future tech experts in Oman

Energy Tuesday 04/April/2017 23:06 PM
By: Times News Service
Hackathon to inspire future tech experts in Oman

Muscat: Oman’s next generation of tech experts are sure to benefit from the National Bank of Oman’s (NBO’s) hackathon, which is set to take place on April 30.
The competition will see Oman’s best minds come up with innovative technologies that will help residents in the Sultanate.
Run in collaboration with Microsoft, Oman’s Information and Technology Authority (ITA) and Red Bull, the competition is open to all students who study in Oman, as well as start-ups in the nation.
“We wanted to give people in Oman an opportunity to showcase their innovations at a nationwide level,” said Ahmed Al Musalmi, chief executive officer of NBO.
“This is the first of its kind in Oman, and it is a 24 hour event at our headquarters in Azaiba. Competitors will be asked to come in on April 30 and show their prototype.” “If we do see students with winning prototypes, we will assign them a mentor on the day of the competition to help them build this further,” he explained. “We’ll be shortlisting three of the best teams and they will present their ideas before a judging panel of industry experts and key government officials.” With entrepreneurship a key aspect for Oman’s diversification plans, NBO is hoping this will encourage a new generation of students to come up with innovative ideas.
“A couple of the themes we have are youth banking, which tries to make banking more accessible to the youth, as well as banking on the go, because everything is becoming more digital now so banking needs to be conducted more securely,” said Al Musalmi.
“This actually came about because we began an internal innovation competition called ‘Ibtikhaar,’ which is Arabic for ‘innovation,’” he added. “For example, we developed an augmented reality app, which is now available for download. What this does is it allows you to scan your surroundings and find the nearest NBO branch or ATM, or find the deals or offers that are available around you as an NBO customer.”
To further generate awareness about entrepreneurship in the technology sector in Oman, NBO has organised a road show across various universities in the Sultanate. They’ve already visited Majan College, the Sultan Qaboos University, GUtech, Muscat College and Sur University. Next on the itinerary are Nizwa University and the Higher College of Engineering.
“We’ve written to all of the colleges to organise visits so that we can generate as much awareness as possible, and we’ve also been very active on social media to try and invite people, who have innovative ideas,” added Al Musalmi. “You can register online, either as individuals or teams. We also have students coming in from schools, such as the Sultan School, so we’ll be giving them a lot of guidance.
“We’ve got two stages in the competition: the student’s challenge and the professionals’ challenge because we realise that the skill sets are quite different.”
“We’re looking for fresh ideas above and beyond what’s already in use,” said Professor Arnold Santos, a lecturer in computer sciences at Oman’s Modern College of Business and Science, and Secretary of the Oman chapter of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.
“It’s a method to generate awareness among students and provide them the incentive to harness their creativity.”
Winners will receive an OMR2,000 cash prize in addition to an internship with NBO and potential employment with the bank.
To register for the hackathon, visit www.nbo.co.om/hackathon