Edifying to see tech developed from locations as remote as Jamshoro, Quetta, Sahiwal, Mansehra, and Gilgit under innovative projects funded by Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund (Ministry Of Information Technology),a Venture Capital Fund focused on 4th Industrial Wave tech, which also addresses gaps in the tech entrepreneurship and research commercialization eco-system through different initiatives.

4th Industrial Wave projects included an Augmented Reality based virtual dressing room, Artificial Intelligence based attendance system, a mine-dispensing robot, a locally manufactured four blade security surveillance drone, an IoT based traffic management system, and a neurotech driven wheel chair.

Ms. Anusha Rahman Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecom, who graced the award ceremony of National Competition, congratulated all the participants. She said, 3G/4G has brought the revolution in Pakistan. People with no connectivity will get 3G by the end of 2018 everyone will be connected. She said, “I personally believe that coding is the future; we need to train our children on computer skills. We are even training the 5 years old. The Digital Skills Training Initiative aims to produce entrepreneurs. 1 million freelancers in 2 years is the target. I want to see 50 % of the population of my country to contribute in the economy.”

National Champions, with prize money of Rs 400,000, are Zain Qasir and Hamza from PNEC NUST for “Power Watch Dog,” which detects electricity theft through an IoT based sensor network. K Electric signed up

The First Runner Up, with a kitty of Rs 300,000, is Ali Gul from Balochistan University of Information Technology. Following a serious injury sustained by his brother in a mining accident, Ali turned to engineering with a resolve to make mining safer for often-illiterate miners. His Smart Helmet detects and monitors poisonous gases, temperature, humidity, location, and miner health profile — issuing warnings and alarms, and helping rescue and retrieval. While international smart miner helmets are designed for the educated, Ali helmet even caters to the illiterate. He has already sold 20

The Second Runners Up, winning Rs 200,000, are Owais Ahmed and Hassan Cheema from the University of Faisalabad for their project that monitors and regulates industry boilers, by detecting variances in temperature, fluid levels and other parameters — generating alarms and taking automated remedial measures. Their innovation will save lives by reducing occurrences of one of the most common accidents on factory floors — boilers that blow up. First unit sold to a textile mill

Earlier speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yusuf Hussain CEO Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund) said that universities from across Pakistan participated, not just Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad elite universities. He thanked the students, supervisors and judges. Such competitions bring innovation alongside the culture of fun. We are becoming venture capital fund, we will give grants along with mentorship. We fill gaps in the eco system by our initiatives such as digital skills training program, incubators, specialty incubators, startups incentive package etc. Ignite team is very excited and working to achieve aggressive targets set by the Minister.

IBM and Ignite also announced a collaboration, which will see the provision of the Bluemix development environment, IBM prodigious online learning system, and its Global Entrepreneur Program to Ignite funded startups, projects, incubatees, and trainees. Look forward to working with Rana Ghazanfar Ali and Nadeem A. Malik

Exhibitors and attendees, particularly girls, flocked around Minister Anusha Rehman Khan, delaying her departure by almost half an hour, after she delivered a high energy, interactive talk. Its theme: The surge in mobile broadband connections to over 41 million, provision of broadband to all villages in the country with a population of over a 100 by 2018, a cybercrime framework, ICT4Girls program, incubators, specialty incubators, million strong digital skills training, cottage industry eCommerce, telco and bank agnostic mobile payments, and a startup incentives package — all current or imminent Ministry initiatives — have now positioned Pakistani youth to distinguish themselves globally as standard bearers of tech and innovation

Really appreciate the judges: Parvez Abbasi, Faisal S Khan, Samina Seth, Asim Ghaffar and the others