The future is digital – and that applies to Zurich, as well. The Greater Zurich Area has entered into a partnership with the Digital Festival and HackZurich to encourage talented young people and promote the advantages of the Zurich business region for ICT companies. The congenial winning team of the GZA Prize at this year’s HackZurich event will have the opportunity to present its automated transcription and translation solution during the GZA innovation event known as the “GZA Talks” in San Francisco on October 20.

The Greater Zurich Area is an excellent base for companies from the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Digital giants such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Disney Research, and Fintech startups like Ethereum, Monetas and Xapo appreciate the business location advantages that the Greater Zurich Area has to offer: wide availability of talented employees, research and development collaboration with world-renowned universities, accessibility, outstanding infrastructure, and Switzerland’s high quality of living. And last but not least, when it comes to data privacy – both physically and from a legal standpoint – Switzerland is one of the most attractive locations for ICT companies worldwide.

Engage with the digital makers and shakers

In view of the increasing importance of the ICT industry and the digitization of almost every sector, Greater Zurich Area AG has entered into a partnership with the Digital Festival and HackZurich. Digital innovations don’t just change the way business is done, they also create values and potential. At the Digital Festival in Zurich the Greater Zurich Area takes a closer look at the new business models and connects with the digital makers and shakers of today’s digital world. Greater Zurich Area AG (GZA) donated its own prize for the centerpiece of the Digital Festival – HackZurich, also known as Europe’s largest hackathon. The winning team is made up of four IT students from the University of Zurich: Dominik Schöni, Genc Mazlami, Joel Scheuner, Fabio Isler. In less than 40 hours, they developed the web-based PowerParrot application that enables presenters at a conference or meeting to automatically transcribe and translate their speech in real-time, displayed right on the current slide. They are a pretty diverse team in terms of skills and experience. Joel has extensive knowledge with various cloud providers, Genc was their backend hacker, Fabio brought expertise with deployment and Dominik was responsible for the visual appeal and frontend code.

Why did we choose PowerParrot as the winner of the GZA Prize? PowerParrot stands for Digital Innovation made in Zurich. In 40 hours the team created an application which is immediately applicable and solves a real problem. Moreover, the team build their solution on technology which was developed by one of the key players in our region, Google Zurich. The fact that, in addition to the GZA Prize, the PowerParrot team also won the Tecktalk Award from Google speaks for itself. In honor of their tremendous performance, the four young men from Zurich will be given the opportunity to present their solution at the “GZA Talks: Leading the future of tech” innovation event at the new Swiss Pier in San Francisco on October 20. A fascinating visit to Google’s Silicon Valley global headquarters in Mountain View also awaits the innovative programmers. Team member Dominic Schöni had the following to say: “Under 40 hours to implement the idea end-to-end was a huge challenge, but we managed to put all the pieces together before the deadline. We’re really happy with how well the project was received, and are looking forward to presenting it in San Francisco.” To be followed



About the author

Lukas Sieber is Executive Director USA at Greater Zurich Area (GZA). Prior to GZA, he worked at Burson-Marsteller Switzerland as digital strategist, developing digital and social media campaigns for national and international clients in the EMEA region. Previous to Lukas’ position at Burson-Marsteller, he worked at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and was responsible for all public diplomacy activities and programs for the Swiss government throughout the United States. Lukas hold a master’s degree from the University of Zurich in Political Science and Geography and earned a postgraduate certificate in International Business Management from Georgetown University.

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