Student-Created Blackberry App Wins Prize

Applications allows business managers to capture and harvest data

TAMPA – Students from the USF Muma College of Business placed second in a nationwide competition to create an app for the Blackberry® Storm. Dubbing their application the "CA Quickshot," the students' prototype allows business operations managers to quickly capture and harvest data, summarizing key performance metrics on a digital screen with a simple red, yellow, and green alert system.

The three-man team, made up of students from USF's Information Systems Decision Sciences department, bested teams from universities such as Carnegie-Mellon, Kettering University, McMaster University, Millersville University, Queen's University, Texas A&M, University of Victoria, and University of Waterloo. The State University of New York – Stony Brook won the competition.

"We created a program to help operations managers monitor their systems and have real-time metrics even when away from their workstation," said Sohail Bhola, describing the Blackberry® app his team created. "Finding and responding to potential problems, like response rates, errors per interval, and delays for deposit and other transactions could result in huge savings for their employers" in the banking industry.

Teammates Jeremy Fisher and Naresh Kumar Kalla said the team used Java to create the application. Noting that the project was much more involved than simply dropping coding into an established program, students submitted their coding and working documentation online and demonstrated their product to judges via web conferencing. "We knew we were facing some impressive competition," said Bhola, pointing out the number of highly-regarded universities participated in the invitation-only contest.

Gary Weiss, senior vice president of strategic business development for CA, Inc., the company sponsoring the inaugural College Smartphone Application competition, lauded the students' work.

"Congratulations to University of South Florida on a second place finish in the inaugural College Smartphone Application Contest," said Weiss. "Competition was fierce with innovative applications designed and submitted by talented teams from top-level universities across North America. The work of these creative students gives us a glimpse of the future of IT innovation."

USF Muma College of Business Dean Bob Forsythe isn't surprised the team kept such good company, given the number of hands-on, applied learning projects that are part of the MIS curriculum. "This is yet another indicator that USF students can compete against the best students from the best universities in the world," he said.

The students will share a $2,500 cash prize and each received a new Blackberry®, courtesy of Research In Motion, the smartphone's designer and manufacturer.