ChilDroid developers go gaga over Ericsson Application Awards

Three young Italian developers are living proof of the benefit of entering the Ericsson Application Awards. Just six months after their ChilDroid application – which helps parents locate their children via SMS – finished runner-up in the 2009/10 competition, they are preparing to take it to the market – with Ericsson’s help. The ChilDroid team is urging other budding developers to enter the 2010/11 competition, saying it could be the springboard to success.

ChilDroid team leader Daniele Albanese advises amateur developers and students not to miss this valuable opportunity. "It’s a wonderful chance to learn how to develop great applications," he says.

The Ericsson Application Awards (Code for Cash), which are open now, offer Android application development teams the chance to gain exposure, reach out to potential customers and win up to EUR 15,000.

The team behind ChilDroid, which enables parents to locate their children and children to instantly contact parents when they need them using SMS technology, entered the awards after seeing an advertisement on their university’s website – the University of Rome "Tor Vergata".

"We analyzed the market and identified a need for socially useful applications," Albanese says. Once registered for the awards, the ChilDroid team received invaluable help in making their idea a reality. "We got excellent support from Ericsson throughout the competition," he says. "There was always somebody to talk to, each stage of the process was really clear and it was easy to use the free application programming interfaces (APIs) that were provided."

The benefits continued, even after the competition was over. "After the contest, newspapers started to write about us and several companies expressed an interest in our technology," Albanese says. The team also became involved with Ericsson Italy’s Ego Programme, which provides growth and development opportunities to young entrepreneurs and talented students in the ICT sector. As a result of the logistical, organizational and consultancy support granted by the program, the ChilDroid application is set for commercial release in early 2011.

The theme of this year’s Ericsson Application Awards, "Connected Things," could not be timelier, Albanese says. "The future will be all about getting connected – with people and with things," he says. "Mobile applications will become essential to these connections and developers therefore have a key role to play in enabling people to connect and live better."

Registrations for the awards close on February 28, 2011, with the finalists announced on May 28, 2011. Albanese offers a final word of encouragement to other developers who are considering entering. "We are really grateful for the opportunities that the awards have given us," he says. "We’re starting an exciting adventure and without Code for Cash, we wouldn’t be where we are today."