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Indian student part of winning team at DP World’s inaugural Big Tech Project competition

Hyderabad: An Indian student from Hyderabad studying in the UAE, Dhanalaxmi Gaddam has been announced as the winner of the first edition of DP World’s BIG TECH PROJECT, claiming the top prize for a virtual solution that could enhance productivity and efficiency at ports and terminals around the world.

DP World, a leading provider of smart logistics with operations across the globe, including a technology hub in India, challenged students from all over India and the UAE to design solutions that answer one question — How would you solve trade challenges through the power of the Metaverse?

The Inaugural Big Tech Project challenged students from the top universities in UAE and India to reimagine global supply chains and create new technology-driven solutions. The event witnessed participation from major universities in India and the UAE, before the final four teams were treated to an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai.

The expert panel of judges assessing the four shortlisted solutions felt that the Metaverse based solutions created by students from some of India and the UAE’s leading universities have the potential to change the face of global trade in the future.

Hailing from Hyderabad, India’s bedrock for tech talent, Dhanalaxmi Gaddam, currently studying at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Abu Dhabi, UAE, along with her teammate Abass Bamidele Abdulsalam overcame stiff competition from three other teams, including Akshat Garg and Agrim Jain from International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore, India (IIITB), who took the runner up spot. Other teams from IIIT, Bangalore and IIT, Kharagpur, India, made up the remaining finalists.

All the finalists will now be offered an exclusive two-month internship and private mentoring with DP World where they will be introduced to staff leading the development of cutting-edge applications in heavy automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics to change how trade flows. The winner will also receive a top-of-the-line Macbook and a $5,000 cash prize, while the runner up will receive $3,000. 

Dhanalaxmi, a Masters Student in Machine Learning and Abbas Bamidele Abdulsalam, pursuing his M.Sc. in Computer Vision, describe their winning solution as two ideas in one; using 3D immersive experiences via  VR, MR and AR technologies to better improve supply chains.

The first idea is a virtual training simulation using Oculus that gives new employees the opportunity to gain on-ground experience and training without having to physically visit the terminals. Additionally, the team also developed a second virtual solution using Google Glass that enhances efficiency and maintenance at ports and terminals by providing easy to access instructions for work done in real world operations. Together, the solutions will reduce the risk of accidents on site by facilitating virtual inductions and increase efficiency by streamlining training. 

Dhanalaxmi said: “We are very proud of our solution. It might not be the biggest idea, but we would like people to know that technologies can help companies to work smarter. We wanted to understand the challenges that the logistics industry faces and how technology can alleviate genuine issues a company like DP World experiences.

“We couldn’t have done this without our mentor Mostafa ElSayed from DP World. He gave us the understanding of the industry that we initially did not have, helped to polish our ideas, and also helped us to see how being process driven is critical to coming up with technological solutions

“It is very encouraging to witness that companies like DP World are focused on using the Metaverse and other futuristic technologies for solutions to their challenges and our experience has given us a feel of what working with the company would be like. We would definitely want to work with the company in the future as they are committed to using technological solutions to solve a range of pressing challenges the industry and the world faces today.”

Pradeep Desai, DP World’s Chief Technology Officer, who was part of the judging panel said: “The metaverse is obviously very new and we cannot predict exactly how it could be utilised in our industry in future, but the ideas these inspiring students put forward have the potential to change the face of global trade. We were impressed by what we saw and are really looking forward to the students joining us for their internship.”

By digitising a traditionally analogue industry, DP World aims to make trade smarter, keep it flowing, increase visibility and minimise disruption. Its tech hubs in India and the talent it recruits are crucial to the company’s commitment to digitisation. DP World recently established three new tech centres at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Gurgaon, and continues to expand its tech centres worldwide.

Through technology integration and solutions, DP World is working to streamline operating systems that drive warehousing, inland container depots, container freight stations, railway or ocean terminals to deliver a seamless experience throughout the supply chain for cargo owners and end customers.

Desai added: “At DP World we are focused on making trade flow seamlessly through technological innovations and solutions. We believe that technology will make trade more resilient by infusing flexibility, resilience and transparency into the logistics ecosystem.

“This event has demonstrated the power of fresh, innovative thinking and we are confident that the internship will benefit the students as well as our organisation as we work together in changing what’s possible in trade and logistics.”

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