AT&T, in partnership with the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, TechConnex (an affiliate for Center for Economic Growth), Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Saratoga TechOUT, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, New York BizLab, Beahive, Tech Valley Mobile Developers Network, Accelerate 518 and Hack Upstate, last month launched the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge, a two-month "virtual hackathon" challenging the region's most innovative computer scientists, entrepreneurs, software developers, designers, makers and hardware engineers to build and deliver mobile apps and services that serve community needs, connect and engage citizens with their governments and demonstrate how mobile technologies can lead to the next generation of tech jobs and investment. Examples of themes for civic mobile apps include public transportation, education, social services, public safety, tourism, volunteerism, workforce development, to list just a few. Top winners will receive prizes totaling $18,000 in cash, which will be announced in May.
To provide a chance to learn more about the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge and to offer an opportunity to ask questions, pitch civic app ideas, look for a team to join, network, and seek advice on civic apps a "check-in" and open day of hacking event will take place on Saturday, April 18 from 11 am – 4 pm at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, 35 4th St, Troy, N.Y. The check-in and open day of hacking event is being hosted by the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge partnering organizations and is free and open to all interested members of the business and tech communities, area students and entrepreneurs, but registration by April 16 is required at http://techvalleyatt.eventbrite.com.
The check-in and open day of hacking event offers a forum to connect and discuss progress with facilitators and for participants to pitch app concepts, share app ideas, discuss tools they're using and seek assistance on problems they're having and/or foresee encountering. It also provides participants a place to openly work on their civic app for the challenge. All attendees will receive commemorative civic app challenge items and a complimentary catered lunch will be provided.
In addition, the check-in event will provide attendees an opportunity to discuss their apps or network with regional technology professionals, experts, and venture capitalists who have agreed to attend the event to act as mentors for the day. In addition, various judges from the challenge will be in attendance to talk with the participants. Mentors, expert technologists and judges attending include, but not limited to:
- Kishor Bagul, New York State’s Chief Technology Officer and a Challenge judge
- Ken Zalewski, Manager of Application Development of the New York State Senate and a Challenge judge
- Daniel Stone, Co-Founder of Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, Senior Creative Technologist, Evolving Media Network and a Challenge judge
- Annmarie Lanesey, President, Greane Tree Technology
- Bryan O’Malley, Interactive Lead at Fingerprint and a Challenge judge
- Carol Maxwell, Member of Eastern New York Angels
- Tom Charles, Hack Upstate and Challenge facilitator
- Dylan Hall, Founder, Light the City
- Tim Varney, Co-Founder, Tech Valley Mobile Developer Network, Director of Mobile Application Development, Troy Web Consulting and a Challenge judge
The challenge was announced in front of more than 200 regional technologists and entrepreneurs, and will run until May 1. Coders, designers, entrepreneurs and technologists can register for the challenge and get more information at techvalleyatt.hackupstate.com. To make the challenge truly Tech Valley-centric teams submitting applications must include at least one member who attends one of the region’s institutions of higher education or is a current resident of the 19 counties that make up the Tech Valley, including Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington.
Submitted apps will be judged on their potential to impact the Tech Valley, the quality of execution and creativity or novelty. A panel of judges made up of local tech experts, community leaders and elected officials, includes Senator George A. Amedore, Jr. (R-46th Senate District), Assemblymember John T. McDonald III (D-108th Assembly District) and New York State’s Chief Technology Officer, Kishor Bagul.
Interested persons can follow the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #TechValleyATT.
Ben Roberts, AT&T