A University of Canterbury team has won this year's Imagine Cup — the New Zealand leg at least.
Team Phoenix, who this morning showcased a system to coordinate and schedule "taxibuses" on the fly, will head to Paris in July to represent New Zealand in the competition finals.
The Imagine Cup is a worldwide student technology development competition, sponsored by Microsoft.
Students were asked to use Microsoft technologies to create their solutions. This year they had to address issues of sustainability.
The Taxibus system impressed the judges as a unique solution to a complex problem. Users can order a taxibus online or by text to travel instead of using their cars. The system uses complex algorithms to redirect fleets to minimise waiting times and reduce trip costs.
Second place went to the Sustainable Systems team from AUT Univeristy in Auckland. The team developed the "Office of the Future" project allowing offices to be monitored for activity and devices to be shut down remotely if not in use. Once again, mobile phones were used, this time to alert users that equipment had been left on and to anable them to choose to switch the equipment off.
Team Waikato Rev A picked up third place with a project called "Gary's Footprint", which allowed consumers to similarly control their household devices to minimise electricity use — especially at times of peak load when electricity prices and environmental damage is high.
Finally, Team Webstuffdone, from Victoria University, presented a web-based game which is already being sponsored locally and allows users to play for points to have treees planted. The game also allowed country scores to be tallied for an international competition.