20 March 2017. The Grand Final of the TMT Predictions Schools Challenge 2017; an initiative created to ‘plug the skills gap’ for clients who report challenges in engaging young people with the skills and interest to pursue careers in the Technology, Media or Telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Milton Keynes Academy had been given the topic of Biometrics and were tasked with presenting a relevant, innovative use for the technology. Myself, along with two colleagues, Deane Copson and Michael Garz, were first time coaches for the school, who had now reached the finals for the third year in succession. The competition was tough, but we were confident that our and MK Academy’s revolutionary concept, “BioBuddi”, would catch the attention of the judges.
After all three presentations from the finalist schools had been shown, the judges deliberated on deciding which should be the ultimate winner. In the end, MK Academy got the judges vote, beating off two other great ideas from Maria Fidelis and Whalley Range High School, who presented on Internet of Things and Ultra-Fast Connectivity, respectively.
So, what is BioBuddi? The concept of BioBuddi is centred on the idea of a wearable wristband which can use various biometric sensors to track key measurements in the human blood. These statistics could then be used to monitor changes in a person’s vitals and link it to their mental health. An interactive app would then partner with the device for the user to track their own stats, play interactive games and be given unique advice on how to help improve the users’ own mental wellbeing.
With mental health and wellbeing a very topical subject, and with Theresa May expressing her support for digital mental health, with plans for £67million worth of funding, we thought it’d be a great time to support the cause.
The whole development process took approximately five months. Coaches were selected prior to this from a selection of volunteers. In total, nine Deloitte Access schools competed, each partnered with coaches from their local Deloitte offices. As coaches, it was our duty to support the students and guide them on how to research the idea, present the concept and also allow them to be creative.
Most of the students involved in the competition are from disadvantaged backgrounds and the work which Deloitte does to help them to gain the experience and skills needed once they leave school has already made, and is continuing to make, a hugely positive impact. All of the schools involved in the Challenge are part of the Deloitte Access programme, in collaboration with Teach First. The programme is just one component of Deloitte’s wider social impact strategy, One Million Futures. Our goal is to support a million people to get to where they want to be; whether it's in the classroom, the workplace or the boardroom.
The TMT Schools Challenge 2017 was a huge success, not just for MK Academy, but for Deloitte in general. Being my first time taking part in something as unique as this, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish. To see myself grow, the students build confidence, to conclude the experience with a victory having developed a potentially ground breaking concept, was invaluable.
What next for BioBuddi? Can the bar be raised even higher next year?