by Prof Barry Dwolatzky
In 2006 the 2010 FIFA World Cup was more than 1,500 days away. I set my 4th year Engineering students a challenge for their final year project. “Imagine hundreds of thousands of football fans visiting our country. While in South Africa, enjoying the World Cup, they find some amazing, innovative, exciting ICT applications. They see things being done in software and hardware that really impresses them.” I asked my students to develop a proof-of-concept prototype of some such innovative application.
Two of my students rose to the challenge. They developed a concept where players on the field wore minature cameras. Spectators in the stands could use their cell phones to select a player of their choice, and then watch the play from the viewpoint of that player’s wearable camera. The students had great fun developing a relatively simple prototype that demonstrated their concept.
At the end of 2006 the students left Wits and there was no-one with the resources or time to develop their concept further. Quite a pity, now that I think about it!!
With the World Cup now a few weeks away: What will the South African ICT sector show that will thrill, amaze … or even vaguely interest … the foreign fans who are about to visit us. Will any of them say, when they get back home “I saw this really amazing ICT application that was developed by a South African company”.
Has the local ICT sector missed a chance to bathe in the spotlight that is about to fall on us? Maybe I just don’t know! Maybe there are amazing applications that I’ve just missed. Is anyone able to enlighten me?