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Guardian Health app does it again

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Capitec recently hosted its Hackathon Life 2.0 virtual competition to find new tech solutions to help South Africans live better in a post-COVID world. After long consultations, the seasoned judging panel awarded the R100 000 grand prize to the Guardian Health team.

Francois Dempers, Capitec's manager for innovation and digital strategy, says it was ‘extremely tough’ to select a winner. “We devised this hackathon to bring brilliant minds together to solve shared challenges and ensure a better life for citizens. We were blown away by the results!

“Congratulations to Guardian Health. The elegance and simplicity of their design aligns with Capitec’s continuous drive to innovate through smart solutions that add real, lasting value.”

Guardian Health has won three other hackathons this year, including ITWeb’s #BIDataHack and instant messenger Ayoba’s inaugural hack in May. The team, comprising Tsitsi Marote and Tino Manhema, created a digital filing system so that patients can access their own data and set up virtual consultations to limit the risk of going into overcrowded hospital spaces.

Manhema and Marote say the various tournaments they have entered have shown them the need to address different shortcomings in the South African healthcare system. Says the team: “COVID-19 came at a time when the world, including South Africa, was not making the most of digital platforms. We’ve learned that we need to change how we do things to meet such challenges.

“We’re actively looking for health professionals and patients that can test our systems and give us feedback. This will be an iterative process where we fix and develop new features as we go. In a few weeks, we hope our systems will be ready for our official launch.”

Healthcare workers wishing to help test the platform can go to https://app.guardianhealth.io/

Patients can visit https://guardianhealth.io/.

The judging panel consisted of Sbusiso Kumalo, operations manager at Capitec Bank; Dave Glass, CEO of fintech company Electrum; and Nicola Nel, founder of Atmosphere Communications. Deciding on the winning idea was no easy feat, with all three judges stating the level of creativity and ingenuity made it tough to choose a clear front-runner.

Mentors were also brought in to guide the teams over the hack’s three weeks. They included Tumi Sineke, head of OfferZen Foundation; Baratang Miya, CEO of GirlHYPE; Francois Dempers, innovation manager at Capitec; Annette Muller, founder of FlexyForce; Luvuyo Rani, founder of Silulo Ulutho Technologies; Charl Greeff, head of engineering at One Day Only; and Stuart Ntlathi, founder of the Stuart Ntlathi Science, Engineering and Technology Institute.

Top 10

Some of the other teams that made it into the Hackathon Life 2.0 top ten are:

Tenderbox is aimed at ending the physical process of tender applications, which can facilitate the spread of the coronavirus. The solution acts as intermediary between the bidding companies and those procuring services. Digitising the process also reduces the risk of corruption in the tender-awarding process by allowing limited access to documents once they’re submitted.

Brief Co automates the legal cost process and facilitates a cost-effective and speedy contactless solution to litigation, which is infamous for being slow and time-consuming. Brief Co uses ML and data analytics to read and create digital documentation, reducing turnaround time.

ThinKing is a team comprising engineers and product designers. The solution is a contactless keypad as contact with these can also spread the virus. It is designed for high traffic areas such as ATMs and lifts.

Team Thato designed a communications platform that allows anyone to consult with qualified mental health workers and religious leaders on personal issues. They can connect via text, voice and video. Billing and consultations are also done online

Lipa is a contactless, open source solution that uses technology such as Bluetooth Low Energy to facilitate ‘tap and go’ payments on phones with no NFC tech. It is designed for banks and informal entrepreneurs to find a way around the high cost of point-of-sale devices.

EcoDiesel is a carbon-friendly diesel alternative for SMEs in the transport sector. It addresses the environmental issues that may contribute to future pandemics as well as the socio-economic problems that might come up as a result of the pandemic. The solutions is designed with a fuel pump that will use NFC to gather vehicle data and measure emissions.

Octopi focuses on the education sector. The team created a solution to help schools digitally monitor students’ temperatures and store and share data with parents at the start and end of each school day.

NerdCode is a mobile app that aims to disrupt the taxi industry by improving the lives of commuters and drivers by handling all financial transactions to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The app will also track queues so commuters know before they get there if a taxi still has space in it.

Capitec’s Dempers says he finds the quality and quantity of entrants very encouraging. “It was clear from the start that there is no shortage of great ideas coming out of South Africa. Capitec is guided by simplified solutions in all aspects of our business. This competition is an example of all the kinds of transformation we need.”

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