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Warwick University computer science students buoyed by Atos IT Challenge Success

The Atos IT Challenge was a fantastic opportunity for my team mates and I to take the theory learnt in the classroom and apply it to a practical business solution.

We are all studying a joint degree in Computer Science and Business, so the competition represented a chance to apply skills learnt across both subjects, as well the opportunity to win a unique visit the London 2012 Olympics with Atos.We developed an Android app called Housefix.

It communicates with sensors fitted in the home and alerts the owner, via a mobile device, to potential problems such as water and gas leaks as well as excessive energy use. The application also has a database which will provide the user with important information if a problem in the home occurs, such as the contact details of tradesmen and utility companies.

We wrote the app in Java and used XML for the interface. We also used Google Apps for storage and the Android Cloud to Device Messaging Framework (C2DM) to send messages from the sensors to devices.

Warwick University is highly regarded for its Computer Science teaching and we have learnt a lot of java theory from which we were able to teach ourselves to develop for Android.

The idea for our Housefix app came out of a brainstorming session with Stanimir, Lanre and I. We came up with the idea for the app because we see the 'internet of things' as the future. The increasing connectivity of home appliances opens the door for business to make consumers lives easier, with apps like Housefix, but also provides monetisation opportunities for innovative businesses.

Our app was inspired by Government targets to have 53 million smart metres installed in homes and businesses by 2020.

These smart metres will monitor gas and electricity consumption with the aim of reducing bills, lowering the UK's carbon footprint and helping energy suppliers provide a better service. Housefix builds on this concept by putting the information at homeowners fingertips and allowing them to ensure their home is running efficiently and safely at all times.

We were pleased our app was so well received by Atos and we are excited at the prospect of continuing to develop our app as a commercial proposition. In the here and now, we have just completed our exams at the end of our second year at Warwick University and all of us have been accepted on year-long placements within the IT industry, before returning to complete our studies in 2013.

I was fortunate to be accepted by Atos as an IT trainee, completely independently on the IT Challenge, but I hope I may get the chance to work with Atos developers to take Housefix to the next level.

Taking a year out in industry was not compulsory, but we all feel that spending a year working in the IT industry will help us decide where our interests lie and will help us to develop our career plans. We are also aware that with the current economic climate, having work experience will greatly increase our chances of getting a job when we finish.

Despite the economic doom and gloom we are confident about our career prospects within the UK IT industry and see our success in the Atos IT Challenge as a stepping stone to future success.The 'Warwick App-rentices' team consists of Steve Allen, Stanimir Vichev and Lanre Akanni came in third place in the inaugural Atos IT Challenge with their smart-mobility app 'Housefix'.