The sixth edition of the MTN Business App of the Year Awards concluded last night with the announcement of an overall winner, as well as various category winners. The gala event hosted in Johannesburg was attended by dignitaries from the public and private sector, members of the app development community, and other related stakeholders.
This app development competition is the biggest and most prestigious in South Africa. The reason for this being that the initiative serves as an equal opportunity platform. The MTN Business App of the Year Awards sees both small businesses and large corporates converging, and working together for the greater good of society. It also sees revolutionary solutions being developed and presented by people from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds. It’s all about connecting people who can provide real solutions to the real-life challenges cutting across society.
Furthermore, this year’s edition focused on expanding the judging panel to nine members. The panel was made up of business leaders and experts in their respective fields. All were well equipped to provide inspiration and guidance to the entrants, with the ultimate aim being to enable them to enter, participate and succeed in the world of business.
Shyft was named as the overall winner of this year’s MTN Business App of the Year Awards. Shyft was created for Standard Bank with the aim of completely transforming customer experience. The app allows customers to handle all their forex needs from their phone, with no need to visit the bank. Customers are able to purchase and store forex (USD, GBP, EUR, AUSD), transfer funds overseas, order multi-currency physical travel cards, and create virtual cards that can be used for international online shopping, all from a mobile device.
Category winners were:
· Best Enterprise Solution: TransUnion 1Check
For years, TransUnion’s printed Autodealer Guide has been a trusted source of vehicle and driver information for vehicle dealers, equipping them with invaluable data for making vehicle trading and risk decisions. However, given the move towards mobile, escalating printing costs and the changing business environment, TransUnion identified a need in the market for a low cost, real-time, easy-to-use mobile management tool which not only reduced high printing costs, but closed the gap between fluctuating market values and monthly publishing lead time of their book. In addition, the software provides the financial industry and insurance providers with real time, up-to-date data for vehicle and insurance decisions via web services or via the app.
· Best Consumer Solution: OrderIN
OrderIn is a food delivery app. Users are able to order meals via the app, and have their meals delivered in minutes. They can also order ahead and collect or pay in person.
· Best Incubated Solution: EcoSlips
EcoSlips converts ordinary paper slips into digital advertisements that pop up on consumer cell phones. Retailers are able to link their point-of-sale systems to EcoSlips and send transaction slips digitally from any pay point to consumer cell phones. Paper slip waste is reduced and a new advertising platform provides opportunities to grow any business in the retail sector.
· Most Innovative Solution: InterGreatMe
InterGreatMe is an identity management platform, providing users with control of their identities across financial services, telecomunications, insurance and credit providing companies. The platform also allows businesses to comply with FICA, RICA, NCA and POPI laws.
· Best Breakthrough Developer: Zulzi
An on-demand delivery platform for anything around the consumer’s area. Zulzi is an online digital mall which links the consumer up with a personal shopper who will deliver to the customer within an hour. Lunch, dinner, groceries, pharmaceuticals or anything else can be ordered.
· Best South African App: Hey Jude
Hey Jude is a real human assistant that lives on your smartphone. Whatever you need, Jude is there to assist you, be it booking restaurants, organising tradesmen or finding information - you name it, Hey Jude does it.
Mandisa Ntloko, General Manager of Enterprise Marketing: MTN Business SA, congratulated the grand prize winner and thanked the other developers who participated this year. MTN Business and its partners are looking forward to collaborating with this year’s winners to meet their strategic objectives.
“The MTN Business App of the Year Awards gives expression to our quest to contribute meaningfully to the search for innovative digital solutions that will help address some of the socio-economic challenges we are facing. As a leading telecommunications company, we are always mindful of how technology can foster entrepreneurship, drive economic growth and be leveraged as an enabler for myriad industries,” says Ntloko.
“We are proud of the strides the initiative has made in profiling the winning apps and transforming them into thriving and sustainable businesses.”
This year, new categories were introduced in line with the evolving technology landscape. The inaugural winners and those recognised in these categories were:
· ‘Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)’ Solution
Two apps and the women responsible for developing them were recognised in this category.
The ORU Social solution is a multi-purpose social network platform tailored for SMEs with great professional appeal. It allows users to make new connections, share videos and updates, advertise on the platform, and includes a feature to create groups. There is also and on-line conferencing facility, and it allows a group to access the same presentations and videos, and more.
TouchSA is all about connecting SMEs with opportunities locally and internationally. With Trade and Industry alliances in international countries, the app is a great platform for South Africa’s small unknown businesses.
MTN Business realised the need to recognise the strides being made by phenomenal women operating in technical professions. Further to entering a primarily male-dominated environment, these women are nurturers, innovators and community builders.
To honour these women, MTN and the judging panel committed to provide the exceptional women responsible for these apps with guidance and mentorship, all with the aim of assisting them to take their apps to the next level.
· Best Gaming Solution: Pick ‘n Pay’s Super Animals 2
This solution allows users to meet the all new South African Super Animals, brought to you by Pick n Pay! Gamers can keep track of their South African Super Animals cards, unlock new badges and earn new rewards as their collections grow. Users can also watch the animals come to life with movement and sound. Fun for animal-lovers of any age.
· Best Agriculture Solution: The TreeApp South Africa
Trees are a central component of virtually every ecological niche in our country, as well as being a life force in our cities and in our own gardens. But sadly, trees are not as easy to get to know as other natural species like birds and mammals. Botany is complicated, but TheTreeApp has found ways of utilising simple English and straight forward visible attributes that anyone can use as search criteria.
· Best Health Solution: WatIf Health Portal
This portal is a new and inventive way of delivering healthcare to the man on the street. A disease management solution designed for ordinary people, it requires input of basic clinical data from patients, and then processes it through an interactive medical knowledge system that is a part of WatIf artificial intelligence.
· Best Education Solution: Awethu Project
The Awethu Project App is a mobile business tool aimed at educating one million people in developing economies on how to start and grow a business. The primary objective is to stimulate job creation through entrepreneurship.
· Best Financial Solution: Shyft for Standard Bank
Named as the overall winner of the MTN Business App of the Year Awards (please see details above).
Furthermore, this year more than 48 000 votes were cast in the People’s Choice category. South Africa’s favourite app is Zulzi.
“The MTN Business App of the Year Awards gives local app developers the opportunity to tap into this exponential growth market, which is seen as the next driver of economic growth in the future.”
Ntloko’s positive outlook is not unfounded. Since its inception, the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has profiled a number of apps that are commonly used today. These include SnapScan, the payment app that emerged as the overall winner in 2013; WumDrop, an on-demand delivery start-up that scooped the Best Enterprise App and was the Best Overall App in 2015; LIVE Inspect, the app that allows the insurance industry to digitally scan a vehicle’s disc to trace its full history, accident history, and overall condition before it is on-boarded by an insurance company; and last year’s winner, Domestly, an app that makes it easier to browse, book and pay a cleaner, in addition to enabling the cleaner to manage bookings, money and directions to bookings. Domestly created 600 sustainable jobs in the first six months of going live.
For more information about the Awards, the overall winner and the winners in each of the 12 categories, go to appoftheyear.co.za, or MTNBusinessZA on Twitter and follow #MTNAppAwards.