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Canberra student catches express bus to success with Android app

NICTA and Optus are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural 'Unleash Your App' Android app development competition - Zakaria Bouguettaya, a final-year Software Engineering student from the Australian National University. His winning mobile app, MyBus2.0, displays and searches Canberra public bus timetables, and then uses the GPS capabilities in the user's mobile phone to map a path to the nearest bus stop.

The 'Unleash Your App' competition was launched in September 2011 to unearth innovative Android applications from undergraduate students in Australian universities. Students were challenged to create applications to 'make our lives easier', focusing on health and education, productivity, social networking, lifestyle, and news and entertainment.

Senator The Hon. Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, presented Zakaria with his first prize of $5,000 and a Samsung Galaxy S II Android smartphone at Parliament House today.

"It gives me great pleasure to present this award to a young student who we know is on the path to a bright future in Australia's information technology industry," Senator Conroy said.

"To help ensure Australia's future prosperity, we need agile, smart technologies that make the most of emerging platforms. The talent and imagination of young people like Zakaria will no doubt help us grasp and shape this future."

As part of the prize, Optus will also provide Zakaria with technical and commercial guidance to help him realise the potential of his winning app.

Austin R. Bryan, Director of Optus Digital Media said, "The high calibre of entries demonstrates the talent and innovation among our tertiary students, and how mobile apps can remove friction from our daily lives by making information easier to find when and where we need it. Zakaria's app builds on existing ideas but offers improved functionality tailored to the user's needs so you can get from A to B much easier.

"We're also delighted to dedicate our time and expertise to help Zakaria fine-tune his app to get it commercially ready for the Optus App Store."

Zakaria will be looking to use the cash prize to further his business, Imagine Team, which focuses on the development of innovative and useful apps for the public good. "It has been an amazing journey developing the MyBus2.0 app, and I am grateful for the opportunity to see it given a chance to be more widely known, and by extension, used," said Zakaria.

The 'Unleash Your App' competition saw entries flow in from universities around the country such as the University of New South Wales, Monash University, University of Melbourne and others as students sought to exhibit their talents on a commercial stage.

The first runner-up was Zac Altman, a first year Science student from the University of Technology, Sydney, who produced a taxi booking app. The second runner-up was Matthew Browne, a second year Computer Science student from Monash University who created an app that tags geographic locations with 'notes'. Both students received a Samsung Galaxy S II Android smartphone and first and second runner up cash prizes of $1000 and $500 respectively.

Rob Fitzpatrick, Director of NICTA's Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics Business Team said, "NICTA and Optus launched this competition not just to unearth Android apps, but also to help talented university students bring their ideas into reality.

"We believe that our investment in today's students will reap rewards for Australian research and innovation in the future. We wish Zakaria and his fellow contestants all the best in their studies and careers."

About the winnings apps


Name MyBus2.0 Taxi Pro Go2Note
Placing Winner First Runner Up Second Runner Up
Developer Zakaria Bouguettaya Zac Altman Matthew Browne
University Australian National University University of Technology, Sydney Monash University
Description MyBus 2.0 is a smartphone application that allows you to search ACTION bus routes, find the nearest bus stop and browse the latest updates from ACTION. It is designed to make timetable viewing simpler on your mobile phone. Taxi Pro is a taxi booking application that works through the supported networks.
Currently it supports Sydney and popular areas of Queensland.
You can check the status of your booking to make sure it still exists and cancel it from the app.
Go2Note allows you to create notes tagged to geographic locations. It also lists and shows notes within your current location.
Availability Android app is currently available on the Android Marketplace iPhone version is currently available via iTunes Go2Note is currently available on the Android Marketplace
Prizes Won $5000 cash prize, Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone, Mentoring session with Optus & Chance to have app featured on Optus app store $1000 cash prize, Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone $500 cash prize, Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone

For further information:
Dorothy Kennedy
Communications Specialist, NICTA
Ph: 02 9376 2098 or 0488 229 687

Kasia Ciszak
Optus Corporate Affairs
Ph: 02 8082 7850

About NICTA
NICTA (National ICT Australia Ltd) is Australia's Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence. NICTA develops technologies that generate economic, social and environmental benefits for Australia. NICTA collaborates with industry on joint projects, creates new companies, and provides new talent to the ICT sector through a NICTA-enhanced PhD program. With five laboratories around Australia and over 700 people, NICTA is the largest organisation in Australia dedicated to ICT research. NICTA is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Australian Research Council through the ICT Centre of Excellence Program. NICTA is also funded and supported by the Australian Capital Territory, the New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian Governments, the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology and Monash University.

About Optus
Optus is an Australian leader in integrated communications - serving more than nine million customers each day. The company specialises in a broad range of communications services for Australians including mobile, local, national and long distance telephony, business network services, internet and satellite services and subscription television. Optus Digital Media is a business division dedicated to creating digital products and services through building new capabilities and technology partnerships. Digital services created by Optus Digital Media enable consumers to better communicate, find and share information, and be entertained wherever they are.