Tech Challenge 2021 Unleashes the Power of AI and Blockchain to Build Circular Economy
Capgemini announced the winners of Tech Challenge2021 the 8th edition of the company’s flagship annual hackathon. The Winning Team (‘Hawk Eyes’) won the 2021 challenge for creating innovative solutions and prototypes that reimagined the future with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain, to foster a circular economy and reduced carbon footprint. For the second year in row, the grand finale of Tech Challenge 2021 was held virtually. Tech Challenge 2021 received a record response, with more than 3.2 Lakh participants from across India. This year’s competition saw an increase of 40% registrations from last year and some 35% of the participants were women.
Bringing a new twist in this year’s challenge, Capgemini worked with its client ŠKODA AUTO Volkswagen India to build the problem statement that captures both organizations’ commitments towards building a sustainable future.
The seven-member winning team ‘Hawk Eyes’, comprising both students and experienced professionals, developed a solution based on two goals for building a circular economy around electronic waste that would ultimately reduce CO2 emissions:
The first goal was to implement the circular economy using a blockchain based platform to simplify and accelerate the process of recycling electronic waste in a seamless way across directly and indirectly connected stakeholders (manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, consumers, government, environment supporters/sponsors), dispersed across varied geographical locations.
The second goal was to motivate all stakeholders to participate in this circular economy via an attractive incentive model which involves acquiring green coins to receive tax credits. Ethereum blockchain, which uses distributed, decentralized, no-single-authority and secured technology is at the heart of the system solution, which implements the circular economy model, developed using Truffle, Solidity and Smart Contracts.
The Ethereum blockchain Smart Contract tool was used to capture the weight of glass, plastics and various metals used in any electronic product during its lifecycle across varied stakeholders and geographical locations, which later would be used by the solution to measure CO2 emissions. The incentive model was also integrated with the same Ethereum blockchain network, thus making the solution not only feasible and social but also profitable for all potential stakeholders.
Applauding the winners and finalists, Arul Kumaran Paramanandam, Chief Operating Officer of Capgemini in India said, “There is an imminent need to reimagine our future as we emerge from the pandemic and contemplate a post-pandemic world. At Capgemini, we are defined by our purpose of unleashing human potential through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. Aligned with this purpose, Tech Challenge 2021 provided rising young tech talent with a platform to demonstrate the power of their creativity by designing innovative solutions that can solve real world problems. The tremendous response we received this year for Tech Challenge is testimony to our belief in working with partners and clients, like Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, to achieve a shared goal of building an inclusive and sustainable future for all.”
Attending this year’s Tech Challenge, Sanjay Khare, Board Member & Vice President - ŠKODA AUTO Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd said, “We are happy to collaborate with Capgemini’s annual Tech Challenge to address a real societal concern. At ŠKODA AUTO Volkswagen India, we truly believe that Sustainability is the only way ahead for a better future as we work towards making our operations in India, carbon neutral by 2030 through our ‘Go to Zero’ initiative. Technologies like blockchain and AI are playing a major role in changing the way we live, work, and communicate with one another. By using these emerging technologies, we are building a truly circular economy and reducing CO2 emission effectively at scale – globally and locally.”
The finalists were evaluated by a jury panel comprising experts from academia and industry, as well as Capgemini India leadership. The external jury members were: Dr. Shikha Singh, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Dhanbad, India; Aditya Kumar Sinha, Director C-DAC Patna, Ministry of Electronics & IT, Govt. of India; and Prasad Deore, Regional Head and Director, NASSCOM. Arul Paramanandam, COO of Capgemini in India, and Nisheeth Srivastava, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Capgemini in India, represented the company.
The winning team of the Tech Challenge 2021 won prize money of INR 3 lakh, as well as direct qualification for the final round of interviews for potential employment opportunities at Capgemini. The top 5 colleges with maximum participation in the event were awarded special trophies at the virtual grand finale. Additionally, there were regional prizes for participants, including Top Campus Coders, Fastest Finger, Top 5 Language Coders, Top Women Coders, Social Coders and Zone-wise winners.
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