The Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals are taking place in Sydney, Australia, this week, where more than 350 young people from 75 countries are taking part in the annual technology competition. Like with the U.S. competition last month, environmental sustainability is a predominant theme among projects, with nearly half (49 percent) of all projects, and 85 percent of Game Design projects, addressing environmental issues such as recycling, energy consumption and pollution monitoring.
This year Microsoft has also introduced an Environmental Sustainability Award, sponsored by Coca Cola. Greenway, a team from Germany, was awarded the $10,000 USD prize for its eponymous mobile app that tries to end traffic jams by routing cars to nearby roads with little traffic, making traffic flow effortlessly and reducing CO2 emissions by limiting traffic congestion. Using Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Bing Map and Windows, the system proactively routes city traffic by calculating the best route for each car and communicating that information to each driver. Greenway received some early attention earlier this week in an article in TechCrunch as well.
The two other finalists for the sustainability award hail from Japan and Korea. Team Coccolo, the Japan team, have developed a system that enables LED lights to communicate with each other and automatically dim if there is more light in the room than needed, helping people save on energy costs. The team from Korea has created Let IT Bee, which supports the bee farming business by recording inspections, treatments and feedings and recording honey harvest using cloud, Web and mobile platforms.
The amount of sustainability projects in this year’s Imagine Cup underscores the value that IT can bring to limiting society’s environmental footprint. We wish each of the teams the best of luck with their future work and expect that they will continue making an impact on sustainability.