Team Innosys (Innovative Systems) yesterday beat out six other competitors to emerge the winners of this year’s Hackathon, gaining the opportunity to develop their concept into a real database management system for tax collection at the local government level.
The winning team is a part of the software development company Innovative Systems, which in September also won the Ministry of Public Tele-communications’ CODE SPRINT 2017 competition, which challenged groups to develop an application to facilitate agricultural commodity trade among local farmers.
The Hackathon lasted from 1pm on Friday to 1pm yesterday, and was hosted at the Pegasus Hotel.
Represented by members Julius Simon, Sonny Kothapally, Munifa Erskine and Deenauth Mohabeer, the team’s latest victory followed 48 hours of intense application development, apparently accompanied by very little sleep in between.
Coming in second place in the competition, which was hosted by the Public Telecommunications Ministry, was myMarket, represented by Kenneth Parris, Sheridan Parris and Jamal Gilbert; and in third place was IntellectStorm, represented by Amrita Ramnauth, Nicholas Seetaram, Davendra Naraine and Satesh Persaud.
The first place team is to be awarded with $300,000, along with the chance to develop and implement their application at the levels of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and municipalities, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive $200,000 and 100,000, respectively.
Also participating were Ryan Goliah, Troy Munroe and Micah Morgan of team “Brink”; Ron Ross, Dirk Agard and Sule Collymore of team “Agard”; Prashaant Phagoe, Akash Prahladsingh, Adrian Cheong and Dhiranjai Orie of the “Su-Code Squad” (from Suriname); and Haopei Yang and Deon Thomas of “Back 2 Front”.
Advisor to the Ministry of Public Telecommunica-tions Lance Hinds, who served on the panel as one of the judges for the competition, and subsequently delivered the results yesterday, noted that the applications were evaluated principally on functionality, although design and ease of use also played a role.
The participants were challenged to build a tax collection application that would be both web and mobile-compatible, and have the capacity to place property owners into categories, facilitate payments, both online and through the offices, send reminders and notices to property owners, generate income tax reports and allow users to report incidents, among other things.
They were provided with the challenge only one hour prior to the start of the competition.
After the 48 hours were completed, the teams yesterday presented their finished applications to a panel of six judges. The winners were decided after an hour of deliberation.
Aside from Hinds, other judges on the panel included University of Guyana lecturer Girendra Persaud; Nkasi Nedd of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA); Marcelie Sears of the NDMA; Sese Jones of the Guyana Revenue Authority; and Sandra Zunugan, an economics officer with the United States embassy.
What was evident from Innosys’ presentation was that effort had been put into researching the structure of the local tax collection system, so that their final product presented informed solutions rather than being based on mere guesswork.
“I think we were one of the only teams that managed to tick at least all of those boxes that were given and also our unique style of development as well, because we tried to make it as nice as possible, but also very businesslike…we really did strike a balance, and we tried to meet our objectives,” Mohabeer said of their win.
“…we did some online research to get a clearer idea on how the NDC functioned basically, and then we just mapped that, and then we designed our database,” Erskine explained.
The application was presented yesterday as “Rates and Taxes.gy” but it was related that a name has not yet been decided.
(Photos taken from the Ministry of Public Communications facebook page)