Led by senior Benedict Quartey ‘18, Team Onyx edged out three other teams to come out on top in the inaugural Intelligent Campus Challenge, hosted by GE-Digital, General Electric’s tech and analytics unit. Hector Amoah '18, Mac-Noble Brako-Kusi '18 and Kawusara Nurudeen Salley '18 were the other members of the winning team.

The challenge, the first of its kind, involved students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Ashesi, primarily building applications on GE’s industrial internet platform, Predix, to optimize operations on the various university campuses. It spanned a series of months during which the teams participated in dedicated training sessions on GE’s industrial platform and a hackathon that involved application development focused on internet of things technologies.   

“It was really an amazing experience and for me, said Benedict. “I got to be scrum master of a versatile, agile team of talented individuals, and for me this was a full time job, from developing a coherent vision from our ideation sessions to developing algorithms to achieve that vision, and figuring out how to optimize the individual awesomeness of my team members. Aside from developing my leadership  and project management skills, I developed my skills  as a computer scientist too! I modified and implemented computer vision algorithms, designed system architectures and greatly improved my coding abilities.”

The goal of the Intelligent Campus Challenge was to train the first group of Predix student developers, expose students and development community to the Predix environment and to create a platform for collaboration.

“The objective is to have multiple people outside of the GE development community learning how to use the Predix platform, so they can leverage it to build solutions for their customers,” said Abubakar Sulemana, Chief Information Officer of GE Africa. “Through an event like this with Ashesi and KNUST, we train people to understand digitization and its impact on industries and more importantly to understand Predix and use it to solve real world problems. We believe that Predix is going to be the industrial internet platform for companies like us.”

For their submission, the team’s application comprised a system that uses realtime sensor data and computer vision to determine room usage over time. Consequently, their technology is able to make predictions that enable system administrators to optimize energy consumption and thus cut down operation costs of their institutions.

As part of their final task, the teams pitched their solutions to a panel of judges made up of senior leaders from the Ghanaian tech industry at an event held at Ashesi. For placing first, Team Onyx won a cash prize of $3,000.

“Winning this competition was an amazing closure to an awesome experience,” Benedict said. “It had been quite a number of sleepless nights and countless hours of coding and debugging however when we were done, we were pretty impressed with what we had developed but winning meant that other people thought we did a good job too and that was an amazing feeling.”

Click here to see video of Team Onyx application