October 19, 2012 // By: Jennifer Lankheim
Long the highlight of SAP TechEd, DemoJam is a competition in which developers present live demos of new applications built with SAP technology. This year in Las Vegas, however, the competition had a novel twist in store.
Three middle-school students from Maryland, barely able to peer over the presenter’s podium, catapulted themselves into the running for the coveted cup.
Nikola Bura, 11; Jordan Qassis, 12, and Angelo Castro, 13, all students at Roberto Clemente Middle School, presented “Food Agent,” an iPhone app that scans quick response (QR) codes on grocery products and provides consumers information on an item’s origin and ingredients.
DemoJam rules give contestants six minutes to demo a live application using SAP technology that shows innovation and wow-effect. And that’s only the technical side of it for the troop of tweens. The more formidable task was going up against seasoned rivals in a live setting in front of thousands of boisterous software programmers.
Topping the school kids, but just barely, were Will Powell and Nic Doodson of Keytree, an SAP partner in the UK. Powell and Doofson presented “Store Trek,” a three-dimensional, voice- and gesture-controlled virtual shopping environment powered by SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver. And while Nikola, Jordan, and Angelo may not have won the contest, they surely stole the show.
Considering most of their opponents had college degrees before the three kid-contenders were even born, the achievement is nothing short of remarkable – for them and for SAP. The software solutions made by the 40-year-old company are still falsely perceived by some as clunky and anachronistic, and suited only for big companies. The kids absolutely dispelled this myth.
SAP Mentor John Astill looked after the boys from the inception of their solution to its final debugging, just a few hours before the big show. The SAP developer was instrumental in coaching and encouraging Nikola, Angelo, and Jordan toward their grand performance. “I hope they meet their dreams,” John said. “If their dream is to continue in engineering and development, then I think they’ve got the talent and I think they can succeed.”
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