Watford UTC students with Fujitsu's CTO of Global Business, Dr Joseph Reger

16 Dec 2016, 5:21 p.m. / News

Watford UTC IT students returned triumphant from Munich, as winners of a nationwide competition run by Fujitsu and partners Intel, Brocade and Kyocera.

Operation Innovation was launched to help provide students with real-world commercial experience and opportunities, and give them a chance to interact with technology first-hand and be enthused by it. UK Students aged 16+ were asked to develop a Proof of Concept around the Internet of Things (IoT) – asking them to come up with a way to solve a real-world problem using IoT technology.

Watford UTC’s three-student team presented their winning Proof of Concept, ‘The BioBand’, to the CTO of Global Business at Fujitsu, Dr Joseph Reger. The ‘BioBand’ is a wearable wristband that can monitor the pressure, temperature and heart rate of its users. By collecting biometric data using a developed algorithm, the ‘BioBand’ provides users advice via an app, on what they can do to reduce their stress.

The UTC students identified the teaching profession as a stressful occupation, so promoted the idea that if teachers used the ‘Bioband’ it would help with their long term health due to regular monitoring, and also save money, by reducing the number of sick days and associated health care costs that schools normally pay as a result of stress-induced illnesses.

Lewis O’Shaughnessy, a member of the winning Watford UTC team, explained why he took part in the competition:

I took part in Operation Innovation due to the opportunities it offered me professionally and personally. In depth research, thinking outside the box, working in a team, presentation skills, interacting with industry professionals, putting together a Proof of Concept and selling our product idea was just part of it. I've taken many things from my involvement in the project, including learning how to manage myself in a professional setting.

Ash Merchant, Education Director at Fujitsu said:

We recognise that we have a role to play in helping to develop relevant digital skills for young people. The aim of the competition was to arm students with digital skills and knowledge that will help them excel in future digital industries.

We had 10 finalists from across the nation including as far as Scotland, with City College Coventry and London Design Engineering UTC named as runners up. However, it was Watford UTC which really stood out as having met all of the criteria for the competition, having a strong grasp of the technology, while also showing a great deal of creativity and thinking outside the box in their proposal. With the experience the team had at Fujitsu Forum and meeting with Dr Joseph Reger, we know they’re enthused and inspired to develop their ideas further, and we’re looking forward to working with them on this.

Watford UTC has a series of information events planned for students wishing to find out more about the college. For more information, visit www.watfordutc.org.

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