The University of Toronto Engineering “Team WISE+1”, composed mainly of Filipino-Canadians, competed in the 2nd Annual National Women in Science and Engineering Conference and won 1st place in the Cisco Social Impact Consulting Challenge. This 2nd Annual Conference held in the recent Engineering week in Toronto that was held at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital.
The challenge tasked teams “to develop an innovative approach for the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), an organization representing 55,000 Inuit people living in 53 Northern Communities, to connect Inuit populations living in remote locations in Northern Canada with vital health, educational, and other resources to lessen the effects of their isolation”.
More than 20 university engineering student teams from all over Canada participated . The teams were formed during the Conference. They were to develop and present their project during the conference.
The University of Toronto engineering “Team WISE+1” won 1st place in the competition. They were awarded individual glass Trophies, the opportunity to be involved in Cisco’s North Initiative and a prize of $1000.
The Filipino community congratulates the Filipino-Canadian University of Toronto engineering students Tiffany Ongtengco, Nico Poblete Valenton and Monina Cepeda as members of the winning team.
Solution and Goal of “Team WISE+1″
Team WISE+1’s solution: Use the current and available Cisco products and technology to implement two-way room communication (voice and video) between multiple Northern communities in real-time. The overall goal of the design was to reduce isolation effects (such as high suicide rates, dropout rates, alcoholism, and poor health) through connecting Inuit communities by providing a means of sharing information with each other and the Canadian society. This solution would result in the strengthening of the community, sharing of culture, spreading of knowledge and education, save many dollars in travel of teachers and professionals, and the integration of communications technology into the everyday lives of the community.
The design innovated on the idea to allow communities to ‘program’ or organize the discussion or topic of such communications in a TV-guide like method, allowing communities to ‘tune-in’ to programs of their interest. Programs would include education (allowing everyone access to engaging classroom topics), health (e.g. family doctor, dentist, mental health, social support), regular communication between communities, special guest, access to specialist/professionals, and contact with other communities around the world. (In summary, the “TEAM WISE+1” project design will minimize isolation, build a sense of community among the northern communities and they will be responsible on what they want.)
On April 2, 2014, Team WISE+1 attended the official launch of The Connected North program where the Government of Nunavut, Cisco Canada, and several other core groups partnered to invest in the Northern community.
Official press release issued 14 April 2014.