Vodafone 24 was the 'createathon' we ran in the tail end of last year. We've been counting down the winners, and today it's time to see who took silver.

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We’re counting down the worthy winners of the Vodafone 24 competition, our pioneering ‘createathon’ event for university students. Today it’s time to speak to the team who came second, and to find out for ourselves why their awesome entry deserved a top spot. Enter team ‘Unicorn 2.0’.

Each team had just 24 hours to answer one of three through-provoking briefs in anyway they saw fit, and Unicorn 2.0 decided to tackle the following question: How can technology help in disaster zones? So what did they come up with?

We’ve been speaking to team member Konrad Stojanowski to find out…

Unicorn 2.0

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“There were three of us in the team,” Konrad tells us. “We’re all second-year students of informatics at the Edinburgh University. One of us, a Vodafone customer, found the opportunity on vodafone.co.uk, and we thought it could be a real challenge and an awesome experience. We didn’t even check what the prizes or requirements were!”

Unicorn 2.0 may have signed up in a hurry, but their entry was extremely considered: “We decided to take the topic which dealt with disaster prevention, partly because we were reading about Latvia’s Riga shopping mall collapse, where many a people died and even more were seriously injured.

“It was a mobile application that dealt with both disaster prevention and disaster management.”

“Our project was named the Disaster Cloud and our motto was ‘the cloud that helps us help others’,” Konrad explains. And the idea was brilliant: Unicorn 2.0 wanted to link up all of our mobile phones to create a network that would be aware of impending events:

“It was a mobile application that dealt with both disaster prevention and disaster management.

“Our app involved an emergency notification system that could inform any phone user in the endangered area about the high probability of a disaster (like a volcano eruption or earthquake). The second part of the application helped to organise rescue and help for all the victims of the disaster. We used a cellular approach to the problem and we treated every mobile phone as a little cell in the whole organism which fights with the disaster that endangered its existence.”

We think Disaster Cloud is a great, potentially life-saving idea, but you needn’t take our word for it: you can see the whole thing for yourself by clicking the link below:

 

unicorn thumbVodafone 24: Unicorn 2.0
Read the whole Disaster Cloud project here to get a feel for why it’s such a worthy second place.
Click here to view the full entry

 

“We had to think like the victims of the disasters and follow the train of thoughts of the rescuers. We had to find out what would be of great use to both of those groups and merge it into one application. You get a chill down your spine when you realise that such an invention can save your life in the future.”

Learning curve

The Vodafone 24 was Konrad and the rest of his team’s first experience of working in this remote way and to such a tight deadline, so there was a lot to learn as the hours ticked by…

“We spent four hours reading every sentence out loud and discussing possible changes.”

“It was really challenging,” Konrad tells us. “When we discussed the core of the idea, we split for several hours to work in solitude. We had a few long conversations, but we learned how challenging it can be to work in a team as diverse as our, but the last part of our project was the hardest one: we met again to merge our different parts. We spent four hours reading every sentence out loud and discussing possible changes.

“We had to compromise on various issues, and we had to change a lot on the spot. But it was worth the work!”

In the end, Unicorn 2.0 grabbed 2nd place out of the 20 teams that registered for the challenge, which is certainly no mean feat. In closing, Konrad tells us that the experience has taught him and his friends as much about Vodafone as it has about working in a team: “I have not personally had any closer contact with Vodafone before. During the whole 24 hour challenge I learned more about the company and I think that, apart from delivering cutting-edge technologies, they are also a very attractive employer. I’d really like to join them in future!”

Who took first? Next week we’ll be looking at the team who scooped first place in the first ever Vodafone 24, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can read more about the competition here, and find out who took 3rd place here.