An Interview with IoTeam: The Grand-Prize Winners of Hult Prize UI 2021

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Following IoTeam’s spectacular performance which saw them win the Grand Prize and Viewers’ Choice Awards at the recently concluded Hult Prize UI 2021 Challenge, Theophilus Femi Alawonde had an interview with the team members. The interview saw the team members talk about IoTeam, their winning idea, their Hult Prize UI 2021 experience, and what the future holds. Enjoy!

Theophilus: Good evening, phenomenal members of IoTeam! I am Theophilus Femi Alawonde. Following your exceptional performance at the recently concluded Hult Prize UI 2021 Challenge, I am delighted to have been tasked with the mission of unveiling your team to the public. Do us the pleasure of introducing yourselves.


Ayomikun: I am Ayomikun Ogunjuyigbe, a student of electrical and electronics engineering. I am passionate about Artificial Intelligence.


Olaoluwa: I am Olaoluwa Raji, a 300-level student of electrical and electronics engineering. I’m an embedded systems enthusiast.


Promise: I am Adebayo Promise, a 400-level student of agronomy. I love science & technology and organic agriculture.


Majid: I am Abdulmajid Adesokan, a 300-level student of electrical and electronics engineering. I love politics and Internet of Things.


Joyce: My name is Joyce Adeniyi. I’m a 3rd year student of electrical and electronics engineering. I love tech.


Theophilus: How did IoTeam come into existence? Who approached the others?


Olaoluwa: IoTeam started a year ago. We wanted to carry out practical projects and not focus too heavily on academics.


Theophilus: Does that mean that IoTeam has worked on some other projects asides the grand-prize-winning project? If yes, can you mention some of them?


Ayomikun: Well, just one other project. And it wasn’t as grand as this one. The first team project is a water-level sensor.


Theophilus: What is the award-winning project all about?


Olaoluwa: The project is an automatic irrigation system intended to reduce labour intensity in agriculture as well as improve yield.

Theophilus: Can you expatiate? What’s the project name, and how does it work?


Olaoluwa: In order to plant crops, the farmer has to monitor soil parameters and manually irrigate the farm when necessary. This process is labour intensive and also leads to water wastage as crops might be over-watered at times.


In a bid to address this, our idea automates the entire process. All the decision-making is done by the device so that the farmer doesn’t have to visit the farm at all times and with the use of sensors, the device can measure the soil parameters to know the appropriate time to irrigate the farm. We call it Autocroft. And apart from the hardware, there’s also the software side. The measurements taken by the device can be accessed via an app to allow farmers monitor the state of their crops remotely.


Theophilus: Beautiful project! No wonder it won the audience and judges alike. But how easy would it be for illiterate farmers to use Autocroft, especially the software?


Majid: The pilot project is actually to work most for farmers who are established to an extent, but during Hult Prize UI Competition, we found a team working on an automatic translator project for small farmers to receive updates about weather and supplements in their local language. So as our project moves forward, we hope to partner with them and have that feature as part of our project.


Theophilus: Brilliant! How did IoTeam come about the idea of Autocroft? And what contributory roles did each team member take on?


Majid: Alright. We decided on this project when trying to apply for 2019 Hult Prize. I think we decided everyone should come to the next meeting with an idea for the competition that has something to do with Internet of Things. We debated and finally decided to go with applying Internet of Things in the agriculture field and finally a precision irrigation system.


Theophilus: What would you say stood IoTeam out from the outset, and how well did the Bootcamp contribute to your eventual emergence as winners of the grand prize?


Olaoluwa: The bootcamp really helped us by introducing us to things we weren’t too familiar with: business model, marketing. Then we were assigned a good mentor that put us through these things and enabled us to develop a good presentation.


Theophilus: What stood you out from the outset? What edge do you think IoTeam had over other teams?


Olaoluwa: We were the only ones that showed a prototype during the competition, so, I feel that gave us an edge.


Theophilus: How would you rate your fellow competitors? In other words, how challenging was Hult Prize UI 2021 for you?


Olaoluwa: There were teams that were really fantastic, but in the end, we won and we’re proud of that.


Theophilus: Were there any glitches brought about by the virtual nature of this year’s contest?

😅


Olaoluwa: Yes. We had network issues at some point and we even accidentally muted ourselves .


Theophilus: What challenges did you face in the course of brining your idea to life? How did you overcome these challenges?


Majid: The main issue was always business analysis. We overcame that by having a wonderful mentor in Miss Adepoju and also through the hardwork of everyone on the team.


Theophilus: What moment would you call the most memorable?


Majid: I would say when we were announced the winner. I don’t think I have ever screamed the way I did after it was announced.

😅


Promise: The most memorable moment was when we were announced as the winner. We were announced to have taken the 1st place, wow! We were so excited. We literally screamed so loud . It felt surreal and awesome.


Olaoluwa: The most memorable thing for me was winning the competition. It was shocking.


Joyce: Winning, of course! Not just the competition, but also the Viewers’ Choice Awards. It felt amazing knowing how much people believed in us.

Theophilus: You will be UI’s flagbearer at the Regionals. How prepared are you?


Majid: We are immensely working to ensure we have a fully-working system that has been tested before the regionals l, and I can say we are moving at a good speed. We are also working to improve our business model: get more grounded in the business and marketing aspects — as you can notice, we are a team tilted towards the technical aspect.


Theophilus: Great! We are rooting for you! How would you rate the Hult Prize UI 2021? How was your Hult Prize UI 2021 experience?

Olaoluwa: Overall, it was a good experience. However, it was a bit hectic with all the preparations we had to make within one week.


Joyce: It was a really nice experience. We got to learn a lot and step out of our comfort zone. But it was totally worth it.


Promise: It was an amazing experience. I found it thrilling and intriguing because I had always wanted to do something quite productive and different. I’ve learnt so many new things and how to do so much within a short period of time. The journey wasn’t all that smooth, there were quite stressful moments but I’d say it was worthwhile.


Theophilus: It’s no gainsaying that the Hult Prize UI 2021 Challenge was all shades of memorable for the phenomenal IoTeam. Thank you for granting us audience, IoTeam, we hope to see Autocroft in the market very soon.


Olaoluwa: Thank you.⁩


Promise: Yes. Thank you.


Majid: Thank you.⁩


Joyce: Thank you.

ICYMI: You can watch the full highlights of the Hult Prize UI 2021 Grand Finale.

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