Only a few weeks after arriving in the University of Southampton from Mexico City to begin his undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Alejandro Saucedo was meeting David Cameron in 10 Downing Street at a reception that celebrated his skills in app-building.
Alejandro was one of three students from ECS-Electronics and Computer Science invited to Downing Street last week as part of their prize in the national competition run by the organization Silicon Valley Comes to the UK. The aim of the competition, which involved hundreds of students around the UK taking part in two-day ‘appathon’ events, was to design useful consumer apps using new open data from the Government on healthcare, education, and the environment.
Alejandro, along with his team members, Unmesh Gangadharan, an MSc student in ECS doing Web Technology, and Anthony Brown, in the first year of a degree in Electronic Engineering, won their award for 'The Emergency Button', an app which could save lives and reduce potential crises by enabling users to notify relatives in an emergency, or to provide essential information. The team had to make a video of their pitch as part of their entry to the competition.
“It was truly an honour for us to meet the Prime Minister,” said Alejandro, “and to have the opportunity to be inside 10 Downing Street. “My mother actually came from Mexico just for this award ceremony. We are really grateful for all the support we received from the University of Southampton and ECS during the competition.”
As part of their prize the ECS team had a mentoring session with Nicholas Heller, Director of EMEA Google, who offered advice on further development of the app.
“Our plan is to complete the main functionality of The Emergency Button, and upload it in the Android market as soon as we can,” said Alejandro. “However, to continue with our project any further, we would need support from an institution. My plan is to propose our project to organizations such as the NHS, insurance companies and even to the Government - during our visit to Downing Street, I had the honour to discuss our idea with the UK Health Secretary!”
As a further part of his prize, Alejandro will represent his team when 10 of the prizewinning app designers are taken on a visit to Silicon Valley in California next Spring.
The students were accompanied to London by Christopher Gutteridge, Web Projects Manager in ECS. who organized the University of Southampton Appathon, held in October and sponsored by ECS-Electronics and Computer Science and local company Snowflake Software.
Watch coverage of the reception on the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15770190.
For further information on this story contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.