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Foxconn has announced the first round winners of their Smart Cities – Smart Futures Competition. Five UW-Parkside students, and one faculty member, were named winners of the first round of the competition.
Diane Boehm (Sensors), Edward Evans (Optimizing UX), Judy Terletzky (Energy & Environment), Dang Khanh (Mobility & Transportation), Maxwell Seebec (Big Data Analyticsk), and UW-Parkside Associate Professor of MIS Weijun Zheng (IoT) all won the first round and will move on to the second round of the competition.
Individuals and teams led by students, academic staff and faculty at Wisconsin’s public and private higher education institutions developed and submitted “smart” proposals to identify innovative solutions and to harness technology. These innovations will improve living and working conditions, streetscapes, transportation networks, and sustainability.
Diane Boehm is pursuing Master’s degree in Business Administration. She is from Kenosha and went to Tremper High School. Boehm learned about the competition from the newspaper and in her Global Supply Chain class with Dr. Parag Dhumal. She explains that her family was what motivated her entry.
“What motivated my idea is the fact that I am dealing with an elderly parent, but I am involved with technology at work. When the new Apple Watch was announced with all of the new health features, it occurred to me that the elderly and disabled could use a product more robust than Life Alert,” Boehm said. “What if someone fell and couldn't push the button on their device? Or wasn't loud enough for the monitoring person to hear them? With the fall detection features, the device would call on the users behalf. And it could have many of the features of an Apple Watch without the cost to the user.”
Weijun Zheng, from China, has been a MIS professor at UW-Parkside for 14 years. He heard about the competition on the day it was announced by Foxconn at UW-Parkside. His motivation was his family and desire to develop his ideas. “My wife and I, as parents, worried about my daughters getting on the school bus on time. It is natural for me to develop my idea from my life.” Zheng explains.
Edward Evans is from Racine, WI and went to Horlick High School. He recieved his undergraduate degree in business management with a focus in finance from UW-Parkside and is currently in the Graduate program for business administration. Evans found out about the competition through a supply chain management class. According to evans the class examined the different criteria and categories that the project entailed and decided to focus on a project that would improve quality of life.
"Once the category was picked then we began to brain storm on potential ideas. We wanted to pick something practical that could be used by everyone in multiple situations but something that would be cost effective to produce and for the consumer to buy. Once we decided on the project we started to breakdown exactly what we wanted it to do and focus on developing those areas," Evans explains.
Foxconn has committed up to $1 million over the next three years to this broad initiative. Foxconn’s motivation for making this investment is their interest in new and emerging technologies.
The participants are competing for financial awards, technical support and in-kind contributions to further develop and possibly implement their proposals, thus building more attractive living and working spaces across Wisconsin.
Foxconn’s partners will also be contributing to the initiative by providing input, give counsel, and aid in increasing awareness through their organizations. The funding for this initiative is separate from the investment that Foxconn has committed to building their Racine campus.
The “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition is also supported by the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Wisconsin Technical College System. Foxconn is also working with several statewide organizations in the competition including the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the WiSys Technology Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the UWM Research Foundation.