AT&T and its partners – Rochester Institute of Technology, Digital Rochester, High Tech Rochester and HackUpstate – today announced the winners of the 2014 AT&T Rochester Civic App Challenge, a two-month “virtual hackathon” in which developers leveraged open data to build smartphone apps that serve community needs, connect and engage citizens with their governments and demonstrate how mobile technologies can lead to the next generation of tech jobs and investment.  

The winners – chosen from among 23 entries – were announced at a ceremony at RIT’s MAGIC (Media, Arts, Games, Innovation and Creativity) Center. After the announcements, the developers demonstrated their winning apps.

“The quality of mobile apps created through the AT&T Rochester Civic App Challenge demonstrates the vibrance and talent of Rochester's technology community,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. "We applaud our partners RIT, Digital Rochester, High Tech Rochester and Hack Upstate for collaborating with us on an initiative that demonstrates clear demand for programmers, both amateur and professional, to create mobile apps that help our communities connect, build businesses and streamline our daily lives.”

The winners, by category, include:

New Civic App (apps created specifically for the challenge)

  • Grand prize ($5,000): Public Market Guide, Monroe County Edition, created by Nick Evevsky of Webster and Peter Traeg of Greece, which contains social media, event and venue information on farmers markets around the county, including the Rochester Public Market;
  • Second place ($2,000): RShield, created by University of Rochester student Francis John Hinson and Princeton University student Andrew Jung-Ming Ng, which uses a laptop webcam to create an in-home or business security system;
  • Third place ($1,000): RocReport, created by RIT student Debjit Saha and Syracuse University student Ricky Laishram, to serve as a virtual marketplace for area contractors to learn about civic projects;
  • Honorable Mention ($500): Erie Canal App, created by Eric Harty of Gates to provide information on boat launches, locks and other features along the canal;
  • Honorable Mention ($500): College Locator App, created by Nilay Yildirim of Henrietta and Gregory Sapio of Syracuse, which provides information on New York state colleges, including institutional profiles, available scholarships, financial aid and cost details.

Existing Civic App (apps that were in development prior to the challenge)

  • Grand prize ($5,125): CityWhisk, created by Marissa McDowell, an RIT graduate student and Jonathan Markowicz of Rochester, which allows the user to create an entertainment itinerary using information on a variety of businesses and attractions;
  • Second place ($2,125): MonroeMinutes, created by Timothy Duffy of Henrietta, an aggregator and indexer for producing meeting minutes;
  • Third place ($1,125): NextPlex Mobile, created by Nathan Henderson and Kyle Macey of Greece and Lail Brown of Rochester, which focuses on public events for entrepreneurs and technologists, providing a directory of civic and small business resources;
  • Honorable Mention ($625): RHoK the Hood, created by RIT students Mihir Singh and Mike Nolan, which provides concise versions of information frequently requested through Freedom of Information law.

Challenge organizers said they were pleased with the participation, and look forward to sharing the apps with the greater community.

“I am truly impressed with the diversity and quality of apps submitted in the Rochester Civic App Challenge, said RIT Magic Center Director Andrew Phelps. “ I am particularly pleased that so many of the winners have a connection to RIT, as current students, alumni or staff.  RIT and the Greater Rochester area should take great pride in their work, which will benefit our community.”

“The AT&T Rochester Civic App Challenge really helped shine a light on how much development talent there is in this region," said Jim Senall, president of High Tech Rochester.  "As a result of the program, there are now dozens of apps available that provide civic benefit.  And, there are several teams that have discovered real business opportunities. For those teams, the Rochester area offers a wide array of services and support to help them become viable businesses.”

“Through the ATT Civic App Challenge, DR, and our partners, have highlighted the high caliber of Rochester talent proficient in developing mobile technology," said Lisa Doerner, executive director of Digital Rochester.  "Our region’s businesses recognize that advancement in mobile technology is essential to their success.  In addition to providing a forum to showcase Rochester as a leader in innovation and technology expertise, the civic app challenge leveraged these skills to develop smartphone apps to benefit our community.”

“It was a privilege to collaborate with an exceptional team of partners, and to work alongside Rochester's best and brightest, said Doug Crescenzi, co-founder of Syracuse-based Hack Upstate. “The future is bright for Rochester's technology sector and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

Winners were chosen by a panel of judges, who based their decisions upon the apps’ potential impact on Greater Rochester, execution and creativity or novelty.

The judges were:

  • Ralph Bean, software engineer, RedHat;
  • Todd Bernhardt, founder and chief technical officer of AllAccessUS;
  • Remy DeCausemaker, Open Source Research Coordinator & MAGIC FOSS Evangelist, RIT MAGIC Center;
  • Lisa Doerner, executive director, Digital Rochester;
  • Michael Fisher, editorial director, Pocketnow;
  • Patrick Gallivan, New York state senator, 59th district;
  • Stephen Jacobs, professor, associate director of RIT’s MAGIC Center;
  • Anthony Jefferson, senior lecturer, RIT;
  • Steve Maier, senior technical evangelist, Microsoft, and RIT adjunct professor;
  • Joseph Morelle, New York state Assembly Majority leader;
  • Mike Riedlinger, program manager of technology commercialization, High Tech Rochester;
  • Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T New York president;
  • Paul Solt, iOS developer and RIT instructor;
  • Jeff Sonstein, associate professor, RIT, chief architect of; and
  • Tim Stevens, editor-at-large, CNET.

About AT&T

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