The innovative ideas by young winners at the data hackathons, organized by Metamorphosis Foundation as part of the USAID’s Project for Civic Engagement, but also other initiatives in the region, have proven their big potential at today’s panel discussion on the subject of “What can be done with open data?” that took place as part of the International Open Data Conference.
The young programmers and businessmen presented their projects to the people in attendance that were created by processing public data with the goal, as stated by Tanya Marash, an expert on Digital Connectivity at the Regional Cooperation Council, to allow free flow of data in order to achieve a unique connection between the public and the private sector in the region.
Among the projects that the public got acquainted with, was Novica Nakov’s project, who is a representative of Discindo. He used a video to present the possibilities for mapping the municipalities’ budgets.
His demo version of an interactive map, as he explained, is easing the access and the ways for searching and processing the municipalities’ budgets. In this way, according to Nakov, the interpreting budgetary codes is simplified and is more apprehensible for the journalists as well, but also for anyone that has need of finding a piece of information. Additionally, through the application, different interactive displays and visualizations, charts that can be used for presentations, can be selected. Also, there are tables for revenues and expenditures that can be analyzed in different ways, and since it contains archived data for all or selected municipalities, analyses can be made for comparisons of certain time periods.
During the presentation of his application, which is still in its development phase and has the goal of processing data for secondary schools, Ali Avzaj said that during the data process what was surprising was the number of casinos located in near proximity to the schools.
He stressed that one of the problems he has faced during the making of the app, which purpose is to serve pupils and parents during the process of selecting the best school, is that many of the schools haven’t published the correct addresses.
Another problem showed up while working on this app, and they managed to solve it with the help of Metamorphosis, and that was the lack of detailed information about the schools, so they had to overcome it by filling in a questionnaire.
Simeon Markovski of Data Grabbers presented his digital solution for an application that is mapping all drugstores and medical facilities and comparing the prices of medications. According to his expectations, the application could become operational soon.
“We are in the process of upgrading and have collected around 17.000 products. If a user wants to buy a certain product from a certain drugstore, he will be able to see from the map the drugstore’s location and its price. This way, the users can find the cheapest product that can be sorted by a certain algorithm,” said Markovski.
He said that he is expecting in the future, with the help of this app, to identify all health services. This will be of benefit for the competent institutions to be able to identify the health services that are lacking in certain regions.
Markovski expressed hope when this digital tool becomes functional, it will motivate the drugstores to become socially more responsible and more often update and renew their data with prices for medications in order to be publicly available.
Nenad Jovanovski from Bifrost, Serbia presented himself with an eco-idea. He presented his solution for the production of bioplastics from industrial hemp.
“This is not only a software solution, as there is a big background. Our solution was birthed at the very start of the coronavirus crisis when we received equipment for printing 3D protective facemasks for the medical personnel and we come from an organization that is eco-friendly and we tried to create an eco-solution in order to lower the use of plastics,” said Jovanovski.
He explained that he is working on a project for the production of boxes for storing food and that current results from the tests show that his product is 100% degradable.
“We consider this material can change the game rules because most of the countries have banned and will ban the use of plastics,” said Jovanovski.
He said that for a software solution a lot of data is necessary, and a copyrighted intellectual patent will have to be secured. And he and his co-workers had to design the machines for the production of boxes.
However, as Jovanovski said, a lot of documentation has to be prepared for the whole process.
“We were the first country that was considering expanding the business idea in Macedonia as well since it has qualitative and hard-working partners and producers of industrial hemp. We want to expand in other countries from the region as well” said Jovanovski.
Sanela Pajazitovic, the creator of the Pokupi app from Montenegro, said that she was inspired by her friends from abroad who whenever they arrived at the airport in Podgorica, didn’t know how to call a taxi.
“Montenegro is a tourist destination and had no app how the tourists can order a taxi through an app and were forced to ride with drivers that present themselves as taxi drivers,” said Sanela.
Her app is now functional in 4 languages and will be upgraded for people with special needs, but she faced numerous problems in order to create it.
“We had to do the research by ourselves. They are very expensive and many of them have to be made with personal talks in order to see the needs of the industry,” said Pajazitovic.
She stressed that in order to activate the app, even though she has an IT company, she had to register a dispatching company in order to meet the legal requirements and be able to work.
Also, she stressed that she was faced with a lack of credit card payment culture among the taxi drivers and taxi companies.