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Dream it, Build it, Live it: Celebrating Innovation

Dream it, Build it, Live it: Celebrating Innovation

Inspiring a generation is no small affair. However, the mammoth effort required of those bold and vigilant enough to attempt it is rewarded tenfold if successful; inspired youth will undertake the development of a brighter future for all, evolving, concurrently, into the strong leaders of tomorrow.

This is the core initiative behind the enormously successful Imagine Cup, the world's premier global student technology programme and competition now in its 11th year, headed by Microsoft, a company whose very name is synonymous with innovation and inspiration. 

Held in Seattle, Washington, USA between July 27-31, the event welcomed some 33 student teams – among which was Cyprus' S.E.C.S. team – who all attended with the hope of being crowned the next Imagine Cup Champion.



Dream it: Having witnessed a family member fail to maintain his livelihood as a farmer due to a series of adverse environmental conditions, financial troubles and physical injuries, Cyprus' Frederick University team – led by mentor Christophoros Kronis and comprised of students Iasonas Iasonos, Katerina Prodromou, Peter Chatzichristodoulou and Theodoro Acha – dreamt of a simple solution whose implementation would have allowed the farmer to maintain his profitable business in spite of these issues. This solution, which became the basis of the S.E.C.S. project, addressed human error, environmental inconsistencies and inefficient, time consuming practices, essentially solving a range of significant agricultural challenges faced by the modern world which affect communities globally and have a detrimental effect on their quality of life.

Build it: S.E.C.S. brought this concept to life following one year of intense development. The ingenious system for agricultural production ensures the effective protection of the environment, concurrently providing significant monetary savings to farmers and offering them full remote monitoring of crops.

Live it: The sheer innovative concept and technological success of the S.E.C.S. project led the Cypriot team to advance to the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, in the 'World Citizenship' category, outperforming all competitor projects from the island during the initial national round of the competition, as well as a further 150 teams from 65 countries during the global semi-finals.


Having developed the project tirelessly for months on end and proceeded through countless stages in order to secure their place in Seattle, the team finally came before the competition's renowned judging panel on July 29, and – in just 10 minutes – presented the concept of S.E.C.S. and the inspiration behind its creation. Judges' reactions were impressive. 

“The team performed at an exceptional level during their presentations,”  Ioannis Stavrinides, Developer eXperience Evangelist, Microsoft Cyprus told Gold News exclusively, following the presentation. “They presented their project with professionalism and passion, which was reflected in the judges positive reactions.” 
The experience didn't end at the live presentations; indeed, S.E.C.S. later addressed questions and detailed analysis of their project during the hands-on judging session, which lasted 40 minutes in total for each team, and finally held the floor open for questions from journalists and members of the public during the Showcase.

“We all feel proud of the intense effort the team made throughout the Microsoft Imagine Cup event, knowing that they represented Cyprus as best as they possibly could,”  Microsoft's  Stavrinides imparted following the conclusion of the event. “The experience they gained during the competition has given them a greater appreciation of what is expected from a Startup company, from the early stages of development to actually creating and presenting their product.” 

Following this invaluable journey, he added, the students will take into consideration the feedback they received from the high-level judging panel and use this to improve their solution and get it to the market. 

“The have embodied the "Dream It, Build It, Live It" philosophy of Imagine Cup to its fullest!” he affirmed.

SmartEcologicalCultivationSystem's participation in the 2015 Microsoft Imagine Cup was officially sponsored by FxPro and Cyta. “At FxPro we believe it's important to support initiatives that aim to foster an environment of innovation on the island, as well as promoting Cyprus as a regional hub for technology start-ups,” Georgiou Georgia, FxPro Marketing Budgeting Officer confided in Gold News. “We were proud to see the Cyprus team representing the country on an International level and we wish them all the very best moving forward."

Having demonstrated technology and business excellence on a local, international and professional level, in the presence of industry experts from far and wide with approval and praise from some of tech's most respected personalities, what do the team have to say of their achievements? “Imagine Cup has been a great learning experience for us,” the team told Gold News collectively, “and an excellent platform through which to acquire the knowledge and networking opportunities which will prove invaluable as we work to take S.E.C.S. to market. Imagine Cup has only served to fuel our passion for this project, and will – no doubt – contribute to our future success.”


Read more of Gold News' exclusive coverage of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015:

Countdown to the Imagine Cup 2015 Begins

And the Winner is … !

Delivering the Prognosis

IN PICTURES: The Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015

Microsoft Breaks Guinness World Record at Imagine Cup


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