Isipho & Nwabisa ready to change the world
Nwabisa & Isipho at Innovate the Cape 2015
Nwabisa & Isipho in action
Nwabisa & Isipho at the Trinity Offices

At Trinity Telecomms we are big believers that the future of innovation and technology lies in the minds and hands of our youth. We are always looking for ways to support those with bright ideas and we’re proud to have played part in the Innovate the Cape initiative.

Innovate the Cape is a high school innovation challenge that gives youth the opportunity to solve local challenges. Learners with bright ideas receive funding, mentorship, and support to make their ideas a reality. Two learners, Nwabisa Joba & Isipho Ngutyana, from the Cape Academy School, were selected as finalists and came to Trinity to gain some real-world experience and mentorship for their project.

We sat down with Nwabisa to chat about their team concept and their experience working with Trinity Telecomms.

Tell us a little about yourself…

Nwabisa: “Isipho and I are two Grade 11 girls from the Cape Academy of Math’s, Sciences and Technology and we teamed up to work on the Innovate the Cape initiative. I am also a part of other programs such as Code4CT, where high school girls are taught how to code. I also do a coding course called Oracle.”

Why did you decide to participate in Innovate the Cape?

Nwabisa: “As we are at a school of science, we are learners who love problem-solving and challenging ourselves. Innovate the Cape was not only an opportunity that would help better our country but also a platform in which your ideas would be heard.”

What was your concept for Innovate the Cape?

Nwabisa: “Our project is an electricity monitor for low-income households. Its a device that you can install on your appliances in your house to help monitor and control your electricity usage. It has a timer set by the user, that by the given time it would automatically switch all the appliances off.

You would have your watt usage set in terms of how much electricity you want to buy or how much you can afford. When any appliance is starting to use too much wattage, the monitor attached to the appliance will send a message to your phone to warn you. This allows you to use electricity according to a set budget; future development would be to create a point-based system, where you get points for conserving electricity which you could then redeem for more electricity later on.”

What inspired your concept?

Nwabisa: “One of the biggest problems our community and families face is the cost of electricity and incorrect electricity usage. The lessons learnt at Innovate the Cape taught us to think big but logically.

We needed to create a simple solution to reduce the electricity consumption in a household. Many households aren’t aware of the amount of power being drawn by devices, so we thought if we could create a smart device that could not only communicate what power is being drawn but also send alerts and allow the user to switch off appliances using too much power then we could assist households in taking back control of their electricity bills. “

Tell us about your Trinity Telecomms Mentorship experience…

Nwabisa: “Trinity Telecomms took us on as mentors for our Innovate the Cape concept. In the beginning, our idea was very broad and with the help of Ross and Andrew and their business perspective, they helped turn the idea to something do-able. They were great mentors, there with us every step of the way, and they helped keep us motivated and on track. They also supported the technical development and building of our sample.

We had seen ourselves as future coders and software developers at the beginning of the projects. Trinity exposed us to a real world work environment and we experienced how fun and hectic developing software could be.

It has been a wonderful experience; I can proudly say for a short period of time I was a professional coder or a least that’s how the Trinity Telecomms team made us feel. The team really made us feel welcome and treated us like adults instead of high school students. All in all, it was a fun and eye-opening experience!”

Where do you see the future of innovation in Africa going?

Nwabisa: “Honestly very far. The ideas that the youth nowadays have are mind blowing. I remember hearing other’s ideas and thinking I’m not going make it. But with people like Stefan and companies like Trinity South Africa can go far!

Andrew Groves, Sales & Operations Director for Trinity Telecomms comments on the mentorship experience:

“We have a true belief in and passion for exposing our youth to the opportunities available to them, especially in the industries of the future – like M2M and IOT.

So when we heard that Innovate the Cape was looking for mentors in the M2M/IOT industry we jumped at the opportunity. We mentored Nwabisa & Isipho on their concept for Innovate the Cape, brought them in for three sessions of job shadowing, following our coders and techies in their natural habitat, and assisted with prepping them for their Grade 12 Science Expo.

We were incredibly impressed by the abundance of creativity Nwabisa and Isipho brought to the Trinity office. Their energy and vision were infectious, when you are young your creativity is boundless, not held back by what’s “possible” or “not possible”. So it really was an inspiring reminder for the whole team. They were always hands on and drove the project themselves. We didn’t have to push; they were always ready to go!

We look forward to seeing what Nwabisa & Isipho will do in future with their newly acquired skills and boundless creativity.”

The Innovate the Cape finalists will pitch their ideas at the Final Showcase on the 29th October 2016, visit www.innovatethecape.org to find out more.

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