Students’ shopping cart app wins top prize

A mobile app designed to help shoppers spend smarter won the top prize for two information systems students at the Retail App Rumble, a competition organized by the software development company SAP. Two other apps created by SF State students have been honored in SAP-sponsored competitions this year.

A photo of information systems seniors Jon Foose and Brianto Hanitio

Information systems seniors Brianto Hanitio (left) and Jon Foose (right) created the Shopping Cart App, a mobile application that improves the in-store shopping experience.

The multinational software developer hosts forums and competitions for university students, encouraging them to consider how mobile applications can benefit specific industries. App Rumble winners receive a complementary iPad and have the opportunity to continue developing their app alongside SAP professionals. Winning apps become available in the SAP App Store.

At the Retail App Rumble on Oct. 10 in Dallas, Texas, seniors Jon Foose and Brianto Hanitio presented the Shopping Cart App, which allows customers to scan items with their smart phones while in the store, tracking their total and offering shoppers comparative prices, customer reviews and self-checkout.

“We spent 11 hours a day at the App Rumble, talking with executives and developers about our app,” said Hanitio. “I got a lot of great advice, but these were our judges. I had to convince them our app was the best, I had to be a salesman. I wanted to win, but that role was really new for me. I learned more than I expected from the process.”

“It’s no coincidence that our students are so successful,” said Leigh Jin, associate professor of information systems, who encouraged students in her Business Mobile Development course to submit proposals to the App Rumble. “Tech companies want what’s new, young and innovative and our students can give that to them. They understand what the customers are going to want next.”

Another team of information systems students won the top prize at SAP’s Hack Day on Oct. 22 for succeeding in under 48 hours to create an app that would integrate with the user’s car. SF State’s team worked with experts from Ford’s Silicon Valley lab to develop an app for social network carpooling. The app automatically reduced the drivers' safety rating when their vehicle speeds.

Alumni Daniel Sanchez and Gary Longoria were the first group of SF State students to compete in an SAP-sponsored event. They won the inaugural App Rumble in May with the Advanced Diabetes Management App, which will soon be available for download in SAP’s App Store. After completing development for the app, Sanchez was hired by the company and is currently training at SAP headquarters in Philadelphia.

“At first I was trying to bring a little of the tech industry into the classroom, show my students how businesses think about mobile apps.” said Jin. “The results have been phenomenal. My students are more talented than they know.”

-- Gianna Devoto