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Challenge 22 and chatbot could bring in-seat food delivery to 2022

Hungry football fans won't have to miss a single minute of a match for a food run if an idea developed through Challenge 22, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)'s regional innovation award, becomes a reality by the time of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.

Halah Hajahjeh, co-founder of Evii, at the Challenge 22 Astrolabs Learning workshop at Qatar Science and Technology Park, Education City, Doha, Qatar.

The idea – which has progressed to the semi-final stage – is called Evii, and comes from a team of innovators from Jordan who came up with their project while waiting in line at a food stall in a stadium.

After meeting at – and subsequently leaving – a start-up company, Halah Hajahjeh and Samer Tarazi, two of the co-founders, decided to stick together and take their idea forward.

Halah explained: "Samer is a product manager and I'm an online consumer behaviour specialist. We put our brains together to come up with a solution for the long queues we had to stand in at concerts and matches.

"We didn't want to invent a new application, we wanted our solution to be part of something people already used. This is why we decided to use a chatbot, built into Facebook Messenger, to enable fans to order food or merchandise right from their own seat, simply by chatting," she added.

After carrying out some research in Jordan and across the region they found out that Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular apps. "We came up with this idea to offer individuals the opportunity to order food and drink and get it delivered to their seat without downloading any other software," said Halah.

Halah Hajahjeh, co-founder of Evii, at the Challenge 22 Astrolabs Learning workshop at Qatar Science and Technology Park, Education City, Doha, Qatar.

Their next step was reaching out to stadia in Europe, America, and Dubai to get their feedback about the initial idea. As the response was very positive, they launched a prototype on a smaller scale in coffee shops and cinemas with the help of the third co-founder, Odeh.

At this stage, they submitted their idea to Challenge 22 with the goal for it to be implemented during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. "We hope our idea will improve the customer experience inside and outside the stadia and contribute to transforming the host venues to give a smarter, better experience to their visitors and customers," concluded Halah.

Speaking about the subject at a conference hosted by Northwestern University in Qatar this week, the Assistant Secretary General for Tournament Affairs at the SC, Nasser Al Khater, also spoke about the importance of making the stadium experience more immersive.

He said: "How can you interact with technology for games? We will make sure to adopt the latest technological trends and are looking at places like the NBA or NFL, where you have video on demand, food ordered to your seats and other innovations.

"So we will find ways to make the stadium experience more immersive."

The team will find out whether their idea has progressed when the finalists are announced on 11 April 2017.

The winners – who will each take home USD 15,000 to develop their ideas and become eligible to apply for a grant of up to USD 100,000 – are revealed at an awards ceremony in May.

Find out more about Challenge 22 here.