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TRSM student wins Red Bull Basement University Competition in Berlin

December 07, 2018
TRSM's Temirlan Toktabek and OCADU's Anna Pogossyan

Red Bull may give you wings, but the organization just gave a TRSM student a case competition win.

Temirlan Toktabek, a 4th year Global Management Studies and Entrepreneurship and Strategy student, beat out teams from 16 countries and over 300 universities with an innovative idea to help students find study space on campus at the first ever Red Bull Basement University Competition in Berlin.

Toktabek and his collaborator Anna Pogossyan, a 4th year OCADU Environmental Design student, created Vacant: The Real-Time Occupancy Information to save students time and reduce their stress of trying to find the perfect study spot on campus.  Red Bull Basement University is a collaborative platform for students to innovate, collaborate, and drive change on campus through DIY-based technological solutions.

Vacant is a series of processors and motion sensor detectors that allow students to see real-time information on desk availability and room occupancy around campus.  Space occupancy data would be accessible through campus LED displays as well as a mobile app, helping students save time – whether they are planning ahead of time to study or faced with an immediate decision in the Student Learning Centre (SLC) elevator.

In late October, their innovative idea beat out others from across the country to represent Canada in the global Red Bull Basement University Competition. Toktabek and Pogossyan were given 30 days and the resources required to begin their prototype before going to the Red Bull Basement University Global Meeting in Berlin from November 29 to December 2, 2018. 

In Berlin, Toktabek and Pogossyan spent four days participating in lectures, workshops, mentorship exercises and activities.  On their last day, they participated in the final pitch competition, which only five teams that attended the Global Meeting were granted access to, and were crowned the first winners of the Red Bull Basement University competition. 

Next up for Toktabek and Pogossyan is meeting with universities across Canada to run their first pilot and work on the technicalities of the prototype.