We're pleased to announce the winners of this year's Vodafone 24 competition: Meet Team Pronto, and their carbon emission-tracking app!
Vodafone 24 is our unique createathon competition in which we challenge teams of university students to invent a new product or service for the mobile space in just 24 hours. And with the winning team earning themselves an internship with us at Vodafone UK HQ in Newbury, it’s proving more popular and hotly contested every year!
We’ve already taken a look at Team ThreeC and Team Aheba Foxes, who finished third and second respectively. But now, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s time to for us to announce our winners…
We caught up with worthy winners Team Pronto – made up of Oxford University students Georgie Daniell, Ida Carlens, Eerik Toom, Matt Ely and Reaal Khalil – before they knew the final results, to find out what their big idea was.
“We wanted to tackle a really big global issue, and climate change is certainly one of those.”
“We wanted to tackle a really big global issue, and climate change is certainly one of those,” says Ida, when discussing how the idea first came about. “Not only do carbon dioxide emissions play a huge part in climate change, but they’re probably the easiest contributor to measure in terms of your own personal impact, so we decided to focus on that.”
And so, Project Carbon was born. What is it? A clever carbon-neutralising app that tracks your carbon footprint, and then provides you with ways of offsetting that on a global scale:
“The starting point is making users aware that it isn’t just obvious things that have a carbon cost,” she continues. “Clearly something like a long car journey has a significant impact, but so do simple things like eating a steak or buying a cappuccino.
“Travel is a major source of carbon emissions, so we wanted to address that particularly. The app will integrate with the GPS and motion sensors on your phone to monitor your travel – it can tell what mode of transport you’re using, where you began your journey and when you’ve reached your destination, so it will automatically calculate the carbon-cost of your trip based on that data.”
As Ida explains, that automation is the key part of Project Carbon’s greatness:
“You can use the app without having to input anything yourself.”
“The main problem we identified was that people often get bored of similar apps, because they require a lot of input and involvement. The GPS functionality is important – it provides a base level of emission tracking that doesn’t require any interaction, so you can use the app without having to input anything yourself.
“Beyond that, users can have more involvement if they want by entering what food they’re eating, what clothes they’re buying and lots of other variables.
“Once you have an idea of your own personal carbon footprint, the app will suggest carbon-offsetting projects that you can donate to make up that carbon cost, like tree plantation projects, for example. The average yearly payment is about £200 – it’s relatively small – but obviously that depends on the size of your carbon footprint.
“A lot of people don’t want to go on the app every day,” she adds, “they just want to see the app working and live without the regret of contributing to climate change!”
Vodafone 24’s 1st place winners: Team Pronto
Find out more about Team Pronto’s climate-change-defying project right here…
– Click here to see the full entry!
Although the automated journey tracking solved one of Team Pronto’s big challenges, Ida admits that there are other potential pitfalls for those who want a deeper involvement with the app:
“If you wanted to enter the food you’ve eaten or the clothes you’ve bought into the app, then there’d be a lot of other data involved. For example, it’s almost impossible to find out the carbon cost of packaging. Ideally we’d want a large database with all the information, but at the moment there are lots of different systems and no central, all-encompassing source for that kind of information. You can make good guesses, but it’s difficult to be really accurate.
“I think on the whole, we’ve got the fundamentals in place for something really fantastic, but there’s a lot more we could do to polish the app – and who knows what problems that might throw up!”
“It makes you focus on one goal…”
Like this year’s third place winners Team ThreeC and second place winners Team Aheba Foxes, Team Pronto aren’t new to Vodafone 24. In fact, they did rather well last year too:
“Three of us entered last year and came second,” Ida explains. “We really enjoyed the whole experience, so when we saw there was another competition coming up, we managed to add a couple of extra people and came back to see if we could do better.
“This year’s competition was during term-time so it was a real exercise in time management. Some of us had other commitments so we’d be in and out of our headquarters, and it meant we really had to work to catch up on deadlines before and after the 24 hour period, without much sleep!
“It shows you how much you can achieve in 24 hours…”
But that’s the point, isn’t it?” says Ida in closing. “It shows you how much you can achieve in 24 hours if you’re not wasting time. It makes you focus on one goal and work together to make it into something. Even if the idea is flawed in places, you accept that and you find solutions.”
One end is a new beginning… Team Pronto will be spending the summer at our HQ in Newbury – keep it locked to Vodafone Social for more from them soon!