What is the Telstra X UNSW Smart Games?
The inaugural Telstra X UNSW Smart Games is a design challenge that gives UNSW students the chance to solve a real-life challenge posed by one of Telstra’s partner companies: Microsoft, Cisco, Ericsson, LX Group or HiVis.
Challenges will focus on connectedness, so things like the Internet of Things, smart cities and smart products etc. The first prize is a summer internship with Telstra, where the winning team will get to build the solution they’ve pitched, so it’s a phenomenal opportunity.
Do you have to already have a team to register?
If you have a group of friends you want to work with, you can register as a team. Or if you want to meet new people you can sign up solo or in a pair and we will put you in a newly created team.
How does the competition work?
Students have until the 9 August to register, and a launch event will be held on 16 August where the companies pitch their challenges to the students. Teams have a week to decide which challenge to tackle and to devise a solution which they’ll then pitch back to the companies. The top team from each company challenge then enters a finalist pitch night in October where an overall winner will be selected.
A couple of nice add-ons is that all finalist teams will be invited to an intimate speed networking session with the five companies. They will also be mentored by the company that has selected them.
Another bonus is that, if you win, this could count towards the industrial training component of your degree because of the internship you get at the end.
The first prize is a summer internship with Telstra, where the winning team will get to build the solution they’ve pitched, so it’s a phenomenal opportunity.
Vivian Bakiris is a fourth year Bioinformatics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering student
Is it only open to engineers?
Absolutely not, it is open to anyone of any discipline, a tech background is not compulsory. Challenges will be broad enough that any student can tackle them. Diversity in opinion and perspective are valuable to the development of any successful solution.
What’s in it for Telstra?
I didn’t realise this before I started working there, but Telstra is not just the leading telecoms company in Australia, they’re also the leading technology company in Australia. They are on the cutting edge of innovation in the connected communities space and involved in a vast range of smart products and services. Through this initiative they are aiming to strengthen their alliance with UNSW and build relationships with students who might want to join their company in the future.
What’s your role and how did you get involved?
I’m the Smart Events Lead at Telstra and I work there three days a week. I started a couple of months ago after being approached by Telstra to see if I was interested. They found out about me through my work as the Vice President of Events for the Women in Engineering Society (WIESoc).
It’s funny, when they hired me they didn’t realise that my skillset came from a computer science background, so I was initially just working on events management. Now, however, I’m involved in product ideation and development to support Telstra’s Internet of Things solutions, which is very cool. The Telstra X UNSW Smart Games is one of many projects I’m involved in.
When you got offered the role, did you feel prepared for life in the workplace?
I didn’t feel at all ready and the whole thing came as a huge surprise! It’s been quite overwhelming but rewarding too. I think my boss has more faith in me than I have in myself.
Interestingly, everyone on my team has told me it’s completely normal to feel out of your depth when you start a new job. The phrase “impostor syndrome” is thrown around a lot i.e. you’ve been successful as a fluke and don’t really belong. But with perseverance and hard work it’s already getting easier, which is great.
Why did you join WIESoc originally?
I was the only girl from my high school that went on to do engineering at UNSW and, if I’m being honest, even when I arrived I was quite confronted by finding myself in a room full of guys. WIESoc provided a community where I felt comfortable straight off the bat, and as such I was super-duper grateful.
Taking on the Event Management Role was a way of giving back to the community that had already given me so much. I’m just astonished it has led me onto a great job even before I leave uni.
What to get involved?
Registration for the Telstra X Smart Games is now open. Click here to register by the 9 August