Presented by Capitec

Will these 10 ideas help tackle life after COVID-19?

Because Capitec is always on the hunt for big thinkers and big ideas, they put out a call to innovators, curious minds, and entrepreneurs to enter their Life 2.0 hackathon.

Their brief? To help South Africans live better in a post-COVID world.

Over the next three weeks, these 10 teams will be hard at work developing their ideas to help shape life after COVID-19.

Here are the big ideas put forward by the shortlisted teams.

Making payments more accessible

Thando Hlongwane and Roger Bukuru from team Lipa Payments want to address one of the biggest challenges in low-income communities. Currently, there is limited infrastructure to support digital payments at the local spaza, butchery, and bottle stores.

Their solution? “Lipa offers banks and fintechs an open-source software solution that allows merchants to accept card payments without a hardware-based POS device. The unique selling point is that Lipa is a Bluetooth-based payment solution for merchants whose mobile phones do not have near-field capabilities.”

Reimagining the minibus taxi industry

Vutlhari Ndlovhu and Mahlodi Mashapa from team NerdCode plan to optimise and automate the South African public transport experience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. “We see a future where the industry will align with the current challenges of COVID-19. We’d like bring to you something that is focused on the minibus taxi industry.”

Their solution? “The app we plan to build will handle all money transactions to reduce the spread of a virus. In addition, long queues at the taxi rank will be reduced because people will know when the right time is to get space in the minibus taxi.”

Automating keypads to reduce touch

Marc Nicolson, Zahur Ameeroedien, Sibongiseni Tembe, and Padraig Riley, who make up team ThingKing, say that COVID-19 has shown us that there’s a real need to relook the design of objects and spaces. “We believe design thinking, software, and electronics make the perfect combination to solve some of these problems.”

Their solution? “To build keypads that don’t require users to press buttons. They can be used to replace keypads in high-traffic/high-touch areas, such as vending machines, ATMs, lifts, building entrances, etc, where the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria is high.”

Helping reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs

Karabo Sitto, Phindokuhle Ngcani, Nanziwe Mzuzu, Sibonelo Gamnca, and Michelle Geere of team EcoDiesel want to help African companies reduce their carbon emissions and fuel costs.

“We’re highly motivated by a desire to uplift those around us and nurture the world we live in. We’d also like to create more opportunities for our communities, while contributing to the growth of South Africa’s economy.”

Their solution? “Our solution is made up of two parts: hardware and software. First, we’ll build a fuel pump that can connect to any fuel tank, which will be activated by NFC and collect data. Next, we’ll create a dashboard that pulls together all the information collected, which will be used to calculate the reduction in carbon emissions, compared to using fossil diesel.”

Making healthcare more accessible

Tsitsi Marote and Tino Manhema from team Guardian Health want to find a way to make access to healthcare more efficient, while reducing some of the admin that burdens the health sector. “COVID-19 came at a time when the world, including South Africa, was not ready in terms of digital platforms. One thing we’ve learned is that we need to change how we do things to meet such challenges.”

Their solution? “Due to busy schedules, people don’t always have time to see the doctor during the day. With the current pandemic, there’s also the need to maintain social distancing. We plan to build a system that allows people to book virtual appointments, including after hours. This platform will also allow for remote lab tests where health professionals can order lab tests for patients and labs can perform the tests at a time that is convenient for the patient.”

Reimagining tender processes

Chrisjan Wust, Benjamin du Preez, and Francois Wüst from team TenderBox believe that the way to apply for tenders needs to change, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What if the only way to enter this hackathon was to deliver printed application documents to Capitec’s head office? That is, surprisingly, still the only way to apply to most tenders and we’d like to change that.”

Their solution? “SealedEnvelope is a system that circumvents the problems associated with tender processes by transferring it to the digital domain. SealedEnvelope acts as an intermediary and tender applications are submitted online, and remain editable by the bidder but inaccessible – essentially a ‘sealed envelope’ – to the procurer until the submission deadline. Once the deadline arrives, applications are frozen, but can be opened and reviewed by all employees of the procuring firm.”

Monitoring children’s health and safety remotely

Eckaard and L’lynea le Roux from team Octopi agree that solving problems is great. “But solving something that can curb the spread of diseases and thereby reduce the number of deaths is a completely different ball game.”

Their solution? “To build an inexpensive mobile registering system that scans a child’s fingerprint, takes their temperature, and sends an SMS notification to the parents to notify them of their child’s temperature at the start and end of the school day. It will allow parents to track their children’s health and will serve as a security and monitoring system that notifies parents when their children arrive at school and when they leave school.”

Getting township businesses online

Thembani Fubesi and Simo Mafuxwana of team Own Appeal have noticed an increase in the number of youth businesses in the townships, many of which sell clothes, cosmetics, and accessories.

“It’s a challenge for their customers to order if they stay in a different area and there’s often a lot of time wasted trying to figure out how to get what they ordered. We’ve also noticed that many of the businesses don’t have proper catalogues.”

Their solution? “To create a marketplace, or an online store, which allows township-based businesses to sell physical and/or digital services. Our understanding of how these businesses work, some of which have been Own Appeal’s [software] clients, and our understanding of modern web technologies give us the edge to deliver this much-needed service. We’ll also create an admin portal where product owners can manage their inventory and oversee the whole e-commerce process from order to delivery.”

Cutting legal costs

Catherine-Jane Paulse, Dhanyal Davidson, Mikhail Davidson, and Yusha Davidson from team BriefCo believe Life 2.0 will come with increased pressure to get things done faster. “We’ve identified an area of law that is well suited for this – legal cost consulting.”

Their solution? “By using machine learning, we’re developing a tool that uses optical character recognition, automated bill creation, and data analytics to provide a faster, cheaper, and smarter offering for legal cost consultants. They currently use very little tech, often do not accept digital copies of documents and have turnaround times of weeks. Our solution will accept digital documentation, reduce turnaround time to a few of hours (or days, depending on the scope of the matter) and provide data analytics for deeper insights, all at a reduced cost. Legal cost consulting amounts to 11% of the legal fee and we can bring it down and improve the speed at which a matter is finalised.”

Normalising stigmatised health conditions

Mantaneng Ratale, Thato Sithole, Bennet Makwakwa, and Njabulo Ndlovhu of team Thato understand that many people need professional medical help.

“Unfortunately many people are hindered by the fact that they have to physically meet someone at their rooms or clinic, and the fear of being found out often prevents them from doing this.”

Their solution? “The statistics on gender-based violence, divorce, child abuse, and depression are going to skyrocket after COVID-19. In response to this, we are building a platform called Thato that anyone can use to talk to a professional on demand. The professionals will include psychologists, social workers, and qualified religious leaders. Once a request is accepted, a session will start and the client will be billed accordingly. The sessions can be planned or unplanned, and communication can be via video, voice, or text. Thato means ‘will’; if you have the will to come out, we have a very safe platform for you. Our pay-off line is ‘Thato – the will to transform your life’.”

This article was published in partnership with Capitec.

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Will these 10 ideas help tackle life after COVID-19?