Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

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$10,000 Build-A-Bot Challenge Wants To Know What’s Good About Technology Anyway?

By DAVID Jenness posted Wed June 23, 2021 12:08 PM


What happens when a developer asks, “How can I use technology to solve the world’s problems?” The question is the first step in a creative process that leads to understanding a problem, shaping a vision for fixing the problem, and then designing a solution. Most of the technological breakthrough we celebrate today began with this question.

IBM has a history of challenging developers to create change. Perhaps you’ve heard of IBM Science for Social Good or the annual IBM Call for Code Global Challenge.

In the same spirit, IBM Automation has create the IBM Build-A-Bot Challenge, which offers two prizes of $10,000 each for an IBM Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution that can make a difference. The contest is open to IBM Customers, Business Partners and Individuals in United States, Canada (but not Quebec), United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and Italy. If you want to learn more and enter the contest, click here.

But wait a minute. Not so fast.

RPA is a software-based tool that can connect systems without an Application Programming Interface (API) and do repetitive tasks, like cut-and-paste, log-in to systems, and fill in form data. How can that change the world? 

First of all, that’s the challenge that we are laying down. 

And second, it’s important to widen your vision of what RPA can do – especially in collaboration with data sources, artificial intelligence, and other Automation systems, like business rules, document processing and workflow.

For inspiration, consider the honeybee and its role as pollinator to the agriculture industry. For several years now, we’ve heard that bee deaths are on the rise, with losses outpacing colonies' ability to regenerate. In 2019, Appalachian State University’s Center for Analytics Research and Education (CARE) launched a global initiative to count the world’s bee population. Their innovative World Bee Count app uses sensors and cameras placed in hives to listen and monitor hive health, collecting massive amounts of data.

With all that data being collected, there’s no doubt that machine learning, automation and RPA can help accelerate data gathering for an interactive map the team is building that will visualize the state of the honeybee population around the world.  To be clear, the Build-A-Bot Challenge is not affiliated in any way with the Bee Count App, but it’s a great example of how technology can help us understand and address serious issues. And perhaps it will get you started thinking the right way about a problem.

Now it’s time to see what you will do. You can enter one submission each for two possible prizes: IBM RPA Solution That Improves Your Workplace or IBM RPA Solution That Addresses a Social Challenge.

Good luck.

We’ll have Open Office Hours every Friday, at 8 AM ET for any participant or team that wants to drop by and ask a question or report on their progress. There’s no registration needed – just drop by. I hope to see you there. Click here to join.