Startup Weekend: uTrack TV Motoring on to new ideas

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After 54 hours, a nine-team strong competition and a couple of restless nights, a group of motoring enthusiasts drove a simple idea into reality when they took home the winning cash prize during a thrilling search for innovative business ideas.

High-tech brains and energetic entrepreneurs from across the kingdom came together to compete in Batelco’s second Startup Weekend Bahrain, supported by GulfWeekly. A team of eight, calling themselves uTrack, walked away with the top prize of BD4,000 for its high-tech business venture.

They aim to help create a new generation of live motorsport streaming fans through a smart phone application.

Team leader Hassan Al Doy initially presented his vision to a room of 60 participants at the start of the weekend, whereby IT and computing students from Arab Open University, Khalid Al Balooshi, Nader Sherouqi, Osama Fayez and Husam Tuhami, joined uTrack, along with Ali Mahmood, Mohammed Al Gharieb and Abdulla Al Qassar.

Hassan, 32, from Riffa, said: “Although I initially pitched the idea, the other team members added and developed it even further, making it a possible venture.”

“We are filling a gap in the motorsport market. Although many spectators want to become a part of the experience there is often a big separation between the audience and the actual participants. They may watch the race, pit stops and even crashes but they don’t understand, or experience, what is actually happening.

“uTrack would totally change the whole understanding of the sport by using a professional GoPro HD camera to stream every driver’s point of view from the vehicle on a mobile phone application.”

GoPro HD cameras, which are small wearable waterproof and shockproof camera/camcorders targeted at adventure photography, could be mounted on the driver’s vehicle or helmet.
Hassan explained that these cameras already have the technology for streaming but are currently only manufactured to be viewed on a mobile phone at a 300m range using a WiFi connection.

uTrack believes using radio waves would allow a person to connect to their smart phone application and stream the feed without the distance restriction or WiFi connection limitation. They are currently considering whether to use part of the prize money towards patenting the invention.

“The technology we are working on will allow the person to stream the feed on a 3G connection on smart phones in clear high definition footage,” explained Hassan. “What differentiates us from any other business is that most of the team members are major motorsport enthusiasts, which mean we are extremely passionate about the subject and are willing to put our heart and soul into the project.”

The name uTrack was inspired by YouTube, the video-sharing website, and was chosen as it best described fans involving themselves in motoring action off the track.

The team worked together to see where their strengths lay before assigning the roles within the group. Abdulla and Osama, who are both developers and innovators, created a real-life presentation to be presented to the judging panel, made up of experts in the industry, whereby they showcased exactly how the mobile application could be used on team member Husam, who was sporting full race gear with a camera on his helmet.

Ali, 26, currently works at Karting Mania, a motorsports stand. His expertise in racing accessories landed him the role of camera engineer.

Nader, 40, from Umm Al Hassam, said: “We work very well together. I am the graphic designer of the group and have designed a logo for our team.”

Khalid Al Balooshi, 41, is a pilot for Gulf Air and is the main co-ordinator for the group. He is also supported by 38-year-old Egyptian Mohammed Al Ghareib.

Source: Gulf Weekly