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Capgemini's Tech Challenge 2021 Harnesses the Power of AI and Blockchain

Capgemini announced the winners of Tech Challenge 2021, the company's flagship annual hackathon, which is the 8th edition. This year's winning team, dubbed "Hawk Eyes," was rewarded for developing innovative solutions and prototypes that used artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain to reimagine the future in order to promote a circular economy and reduce carbon footprints. It was the second year in a row that the grand finale of Tech Challenge 2021 was conducted entirely online. The number of participants in this year's competition increased by 40% compared to the previous year, with women accounting for 35% of all those who entered.

Capgemini collaborated with its client KODA AUTO Volkswagen India to develop a problem statement that captures both organizations' commitments to achieving a more sustainable future. This was a novel approach to this year's challenge.

The winning team comprised of both students and professionals developed a solution based on two goals for creating a circular economy around electronic waste that would, in turn, reduce CO2 emissions: 

  • First, to reduce the amount of waste generated; and second, to reduce the amount of waste generated. Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, consumers, government, environmental supporters/sponsors dispersed across a wide range of geographical locations to simplify and accelerate the process of recycling electronic waste in a seamless way.
  • The 2nd goal was achieved through an appealing incentive model that entailed the acquisition of green coins in exchange for tax credits. The second goal was to motivate all stakeholders to participate in this circular economy. In the system solution, which implements the circular economy model using Truffle, Solidity, and smart contracts, the Ethereum blockchain, which is distributed, decentralized, no single authority, and secured technology, is at the heart of the system solution. 

In order to capture the weight of glass, plastics, and various metals used in any electronic product throughout its lifecycle across a wide range of stakeholders and geographical locations, the Ethereum blockchain Smart Contract tool was utilized. This weight data would later be used by the solution to calculate CO2 emissions. It was also integrated with the same Ethereum blockchain network, resulting in a solution that was not only feasible and social, but also profitable for all possible stakeholders.

Arul Kumaran Paramanandam, Chief Operating Officer of Capgemini in India, congratulated the winners and finalists and stated, "There is an urgent need to reimagine our future as we emerge from the pandemic and contemplate a post-pandemic world." At Capgemini, we are defined by our mission: to unleash human potential through technology in order to create a more equitable and sustainable future for all. In accordance with this goal, Tech Challenge 2021 provided rising young tech talent with a platform to demonstrate the power of their imagination by designing innovative solutions that can solve real-world problems while also raising awareness of their work. The overwhelming response we received this year for Tech Challenge is a testament to our belief in the importance of collaborating with partners and clients, such as Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, in order to achieve our shared goal of constructing an inclusive and sustainable future for everyone.”

When asked about his participation in this year's Tech Challenge, Sanjay Khare, Board Member and Vice President – KODA AUTO Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd., said, "We are pleased to collaborate with Capgemini's annual Tech Challenge to address a genuine societal concern." We at KODA AUTO Volkswagen India truly believe that sustainability is the only path forward for a better future, and as part of our ‘Go to Zero' initiative, we are working to make our operations in India carbon neutral by 2030. Technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are having a significant impact on the way we live, work, and communicate with one another. We are creating a truly circular economy and reducing CO2 emissions at a large scale – both globally and locally – by utilizing these emerging technologies.”

In addition to Capgemini India management, the finalists were evaluated by a jury panel comprised of experts from academia and industry. Doctor Shikha Singh, Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Dhanbad, India; Aditya Kumar Sinha, Director C-DAC Patna, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India; and Prasad Deore, Regional Head and Director, NASSCOM were among those who served on the external jury. Capgemini was represented by Arul Paramanandam, Chief Operating Officer of Capgemini in India, and Nisheeth Srivastava, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Capgemini in India.

The winning team of the Capgemini Tech Challenge 2021 received INR 3 lakh in prize money, as well as automatic qualification for the final round of interviews for potential employment opportunities at the consulting giant. At the virtual grand finale, special trophies were presented to the top five colleges who had the greatest amount of participation in the event. Aside from that, there were regional prizes for participants, including awards for the Top Campus Coders, Fastest Finger, Best Language Coders, Best Women Coders, Best Social Coders, and Zone-wise winners.

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