Durban University of Technology student, Pivendren Naik has created a Facebook Messenger Bot that helps people find their nearest police station.
The 24-year-old Bachelor of Technology Degree in Electronic Engineering: Computer Systems student from Newlands West in Durban, created the Facebook Messenger Bot after he could not locate a police station while in Umhlanga. “At the beginning of 2017 someone reversed into my car in my absence and I had to report the matter to the police. When I finally found a police station I was told that it was a wrong one, that was when I was struck by this idea,” he explained.
The Electronic Engineering creative has been selected as one of the top 60 finalists for the Middle East and Africa Bots for Messenger Challenge. Naik’s Bot was chosen from 1000 submissions across 64 countries in Africa and the Middle East. He (Naik) is one of the 12 students who learned how to create a Bot for the first time and had Facebook judges blown away by their (students) creativity.
“It is such an honour to have my Bot in the top 30 in sub-Saharan Africa in the Social Good category. Right now all I want to do is create more features for my Bot to make it more convenient and awesome for its users,” said Naik.
In a message from Facebook, Naik’s Bot is identified as one of the most innovative one. “Amongst all the amazing bots submitted, the judges unanimously agreed that your Bot stood out for its innovative use of the Messenger platform features, unique attributes and creative characteristics, and strong user experience,” said the message. The message further reiterates, that Naik’s Bot shows that he has a clear understanding of his users and has built a Bot which anticipates and responds to its users effectively. The Bot is also said to be enjoyable and creates memorable experiences.
Naik is not new to creative ideas, in 2014, he was chosen as the South African Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) of the year for 2013. He (Naik) was part of the Lumia Hackathon that revolved around creating apps. The MSP programme allowed Naik to have access to worldwide educational programmes designed to enhance a student’s employability by providing training skills.
As a result of his current achievement, Naik will be added to the Facebook FbStart program for startups to further the development of the Bot with assistance from Facebook in the form of technical assistance, mentorship and partner deals to the value of $40,000 and for being a student a cash prize of $2000.
Pictured: Pivendren Naik