- Students from 20 schools across 14 countries took part in the challenge
- Winning UAE team proposed creative mobility solutions for UAE’s elderly population
- Otis mentors worked with this next generation of innovators to develop new solutions
Dubai, UAE - April 21, 2022 – Otis Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: OTIS), the world’s leading company for elevator and escalator manufacturing, installation and service, has named GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis as the EMEA region winner of its second annual Made to Move Communities™ global challenge.
Otis’ Made to Move Communities challenge partnered with students around the world to inspire and build creative solutions to their communities' mobility issues. Students from 20 schools across 14 countries and territories participated around the world. In EMEA, 42 students from five schools in five different countries competed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. They were supported by a team of 75 Otis mentors. This year’s theme focused on mobility solutions for the aging population.
In response to this year’s challenge, students proposed concepts ranging from connected wheelchairs, smart escalators, and an emergency call device that can manage prescriptions and streamline paperwork in healthcare, to aid in using public transportation.
The GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis team who won the challenge in EMEA proposed a connected, motorized wheelchair to help the older population navigate Dubai’s myriad shopping malls, which are also among the largest in the world.
In the UAE, according to the Dubai Health Authority, the nation’s aging population is expected to increase from 6 percent in 2017 to 29 percent by 2050. Having access to inclusive mobility solutions that allow the nation’s elderly to remain active, independent, and safe within our communities will prove crucial in the coming years.
“Through the program, we are engaging young minds to imagine new mobility solutions for a growing elderly population within the communities in Dubai. The GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis team did a remarkable job in identifying and addressing everyday mobility challenges and ensuring a more diverse and inclusive mall experience for the aged. At Otis, we believe in providing students with safe, hands-on experiences under the mentorship of our experts to spark an early lifelong interest in STEM subjects, and we hope through initiatives such as the Otis Made to Move Communities challenge, we inspire the next generation to build successful STEM-focused careers,” said Mohammed Al Qaisi, Managing Director, Otis Gulf.
The student teams spent eight weeks working with Otis mentors to develop STEM-based solutions to make it easier, safer, and more accessible for older demographics to move within the communities. Each team virtually presented their ideas to a panel of regional Otis leaders who carefully evaluated the presentations.
Commenting on the project, Shafaque Riaz, HOD ICT and CS, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Leader, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, said, “During the Otis Made to Move Communities challenge 2021-22, 13 WSO students were lucky enough to be mentored by local and international Otis experts to develop and advance real-world STEM solutions for an ageing population. The theme of the challenge required students put themselves in the shoes of the elderly and identify mobility challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Students visited local malls, interviewed the elderly, researched the relevant statistics of local and international populations, as well as the necessary UAE guidelines regarding underrepresented communities.
“This incredible opportunity helped our students to develop research and communication skills, technical understanding of the navigation, browsing and safety systems required; being able to then apply these skills to address a real-world problem. 'World Class, World Ready' absolutely embodies their achievement of winning this challenge.”
Otis’ Made to Move Communities challenge continues to grow, too – by doubling the number of students and employees engaged and expanding from nine countries and territories last year to 14 in 2022.
The announcement of the Made to Move Communities winners is part of Otis’ annual Lift Our Communities Month celebration. Throughout the month of April, the company celebrates its ongoing commitment to support the communities where its colleagues live and work. Later this year, Otis will launch its third annual Made to Move Communities challenge, again teaming students and Otis volunteer mentors to develop solutions to real-world mobility issues in their local communities.