We’re all extremely proud here at Microsoft New Zealand today – Team OneBeep from the University of Auckland took out 3rd place at the worldwide finals in Poland for the Imagine Cup, the first time a kiwi team has progressed beyond the initial rounds.

I’ve had the great pleasure to watch the guys present their solution a few times and I think there are three reasons they have been successful:

  • They have a great, innovative solution*
  • They present the idea in an interesting and engaging manner
  • They make an emotional connection with the audience

Pretty much the must-haves for any successful entrepreneur to generate interest and investment in their ideas.

Well done to the team, their mentors and supports – and all the teams who participated this year in the New Zealand Imagine Cup. If you or someone you know is interested in being part of the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup I hope you’ll register here and take part in the world’s biggest and best software competition.

Imagine Cup - New Zealand comes third


*The Solution

Focusing on the One Laptop Per Child programme and its 1.4 million deployed laptops, Team One Beep came up with an inexpensive and robust method to solve the problem of sending educational content to these laptops, which are sent out to impoverished schools and communities in areas of the world where there are no phone lines, let alone internet services.

The solution involves using Team OneBeep's software to package a file of educational data as audio to be sent via radio waves. This can be received on any cheap AM/FM radio and is then passed on to the laptops. The file is then converted back to its original form ready to be viewed by the children and teachers.