KARACHI: Two years ago, school teacher Samia Maqsood asked her son to build an app that could help her stay fit, and the computer science student took up the challenge.
Therein began a journey of researching days and nights, experimenting with different models and brainstorming with friends until Moazzam Maqsood was finally "able to present the app to fitness freaks like my mother."
“In April this year ‘Worthy Walk,’ developed by our team of students, was sent to the Solution Challenge competition,” the 23-year-old told Arab News on Friday, referring to an annual contest presented by Google's Developer Student Clubs (DSC) that invites young tech-savvy people to develop solutions for community problems using one or more Google products or platforms. There are over 800 DSCs across the globe, according to Google.
Maqsood's app came third in June 2020 among ten global winners. It had already been available on Google Play since December 2019 and stood out in a competition in which more than 400 submissions were evaluated from around the world.
The developers used Google Cloud, Android, Firebase, Google Analytics, and Google Maps to develop the app. “To ensure more accuracy, we use GPS tracking systems,” Maqsood said.
With the advent of smartphones, mobile apps have become increasingly popular among people, with fitness apps growing 85 percent faster than most other applications, according to the International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering,
The concept behind Maqsood's fitness app is quite simple: walk, run and cycle and earn rewards in the form of inbuilt currency coins that can be redeemed as discounts from local businesses, shops and startups.
“People want to keep themselves fit and healthy, but they also have a tendency of giving up soon; the basic idea of Worthy Walk is to keep them motivated,” Maqsood said, adding: “The idea of rewarding people is at the heart of the app. It’s like providing them with vouchers which they can redeem at partner restaurants or garment stores.”
“So far, more than 5,000 people have used the app and the number is growing,” he said. “We are trying to come up with more rewards for our users by engaging big businesses.”
Maqsood said his idea was initially rejected by several incubation centers but was selected by his own university as a class project, which gave him and his classmates the opportunity to refine it.
“We frequently went back to the drawing board,” he said, “and after much trial and error launched the app on Google Play in December 2019.”