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SDSU Alumnus Wins Apps Challenge

Computer Science alumnus Suhail Wakil’s XENERGY app won two awards in the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge.
Computer Science alumnus Suhail Wakil’s XENERGY app won two awards in the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge.
Computer Science alumnus Suhail Wakil’s XENERGY app won two awards in the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge.
When San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced the city was asking its citizens to develop innovative smart phone applications that would serve the public good, San Diego State University alumnus Suhail Wakil had an inspiration.

“I realized we have applications that make almost every aspect of our life simpler, so there’s no reason why compelling energy management applications shouldn’t be widely available as well,” said Wakil, who earned his master’s degree in computer science from SDSU.

Managing personal energy consumption

The resulting app that Wakil entered into the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge is XENERGY, which helps energy customers better manage their energy consumption.

“My motivation was how to make consumers better realize and visualize their energy usage to appliance level,” said Wakil, who founded application development company, APPCruizer.

XENERGY won two awards: AT&T Best Overall App — Honorable Mention and SDG&E Best Energy App, earning Wakil $7,500 in prize money.

A city of innovators

“It certainly is no secret that San Diego has a reputation for being a city of innovators,” Sanders said. “The Apps Challenge has been a perfect platform to showcase San Diego’s entrepreneurial, innovative spirit.”

Sponsored by the city, along with AT&T, SDG&E, CONNECT, Clean Tech San Diego, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the Apps Challenge urged amateur and professional software developers to create public service apps for computers and smartphones using city and other data.

“Talking to SDG&E and Green Button folks helped me get an idea of the data they had available for users and then based on the data I designed the app so that it will be user friendly with a simple design,” Wakil said.

XENERGY is designed to allow the user to observe their residential energy consumption trends in a way that is convenient and informative. The app uses personal energy consumption data, found on SDGE.com, which has been uploaded to Green Button Connect; a website dedicated to help save energy.

One of 78 submissions

Wakil’s app was one of 78 eligible applications submitted for the challenge, providing solutions to energy usage, traffic and access to places and events. Submissions were subject to panel judging and public voting, with winners sharing $50,000 in prize money, donated by challenge sponsors.

“Perhaps the greatest outcomes of this challenge were the bridges built between city government and the innovation community,” Sanders said. “Although this Challenge is over for now, I know we will continue working together to make San Diego an even better place.”
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