Hauwa Ibrahim Aminu is a 22-year-old creator of ArchiScope and JupiMart apps. The young tech enthusiast holds a distinction from Middlesex University, Mauritius where she just finished a Master’s degree in Business Information and Systems Management. Hauwa had her first degree in Computer Science with a first-class, from Lancaster University in Ghana. In this interview, she speaks on how she works on two augmented reality projects that could help significantly in the built sector and the business world.
What motivated you towards creating these apps?
I am someone that helps people to solve problems without even knowing that. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved the whole idea of creativity and innovation.
For JupiMart, one motivating factor was that I wanted to create something that would give buyers certainty and confidence regarding what they were purchasing online. I wanted to help customers in their decision-making on what to buy, reduce incidents of return of goods, and ultimately boost buyer confidence in online shopping. I realized that if the customers always got exactly what they ordered, the rate of product returns will decline, which will be a win-win situation for all parties involved.
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For the ArchiScope app, I primarily drew motivation from my interest in the field. After conducting extensive research into the pressing challenges that modern architects faced, especially in terms of communicating with their clients regarding structure design, I decided to develop a more visual-friendly solution that could potentially enhance communication between them.
Such an app will create value for both parties, as it will significantly cut the communication time, reduce project design and development costs and timeframe, and ultimately ensure that both architects and clients are fully aware of the nature of the final product to be delivered.
Can you describe what the apps do?
One problem I consistently came across during my initial research phase is that there is a situation where traditional blueprints (architectural drawing) seldom provided adequate information regarding what a completed project would look like; therefore, clients are never fully able to visualize what the final product will look. Such a situation has the potential of leading to an unsatisfactory outcome for clients, and subsequent conflict. With an application such as ArchiScope, the two parties will have a fair idea of what the final product will look like, by visualizing a “mini” version of the house or structure.
ArchiScope is also interactive, thanks to the Augmented Reality feature that has been used to develop the app, hence, communication will most certainly be improved between architects and their clients.
Regarding JupiMart, I noticed that various people complain about receiving items that are different from what they purchased online. I have personally experienced a similar situation in the past. Thus, JupiMart has been designed to provide customers with a much more interactive way of online shopping, by giving them the option of being able to better visualize a product in the real world, through the utilization of 3D technology.
It was definitely challenging balancing everything while also trying to get some time for myself, but I guess that was what being a student was all about. I still managed to make everything work in the end.
Are you getting positive feedback on the apps?
Upon my return to Nigeria in January 2021, after completing my master’s degree, a lot of architects and building professionals showed an interest in the project work, and this gave me an opportunity to present them with details of the work, as well as demonstrate to them how the app works. They initially found ArchiScope fascinating, and after a brief test run, they returned feedback claiming that the app was very useful in helping them to resolve previously contested details with their clients.
ArchiScope is yet to be commercialized; nonetheless, the plans are already being put in motion. While I have just returned to Nigeria, I have already made progress by getting architects to test-run the product and return feedback. I am presently working on introducing ArchiScope to more architects, to gather more feedback.
Creating these kinds of IT solutions often has huge costs, how did you pull through this?
From the start, I have been fortunate to enjoy a quality education, which has been a great motivation for me over the years. I have always had a massive support from my parents and was also privileged to attend an international school where I had a good foundation in both programming and entrepreneurship, which were a part of my Cambridge secondary certificate curriculum. For my undergraduate studies, I was equally fortunate to study Computer Science under a British curriculum at Lancaster University Ghana, where I trained under very intelligent lecturers, who not only helped to develop me in my field but further intensified my passion for what I was studying
I decided to pursue further studies with a focus of a blend of IT and business in a master’s programme at Middlesex University, Mauritius. Through my academic journey, I have developed an enthusiasm for research, while persistently deepening my zeal to make life easier for people by drawing from my own experiences, and those of others around me.
I guess another cost you could say I incurred was the time taken to carry out each research. I worked on these applications as my BSc and MSc projects. In addition to the coding aspect, I had to write my dissertation while balancing my coursework for the other courses. It was definitely challenging balancing everything while also trying to get some time for myself, but I guess that was what being a student was all about. I still managed to make everything work in the end.
Being a problem solver in the real estate industry, do you consider setting up?
At the moment, I am focusing on having my own tech startup. I do not know for sure what would happen in the future but, if the opportunity comes my way, I may consider taking it.
What are your targets for these applications?
In three years, I aim to push one or both of these applications to markets and industries outside Nigeria, especially in the West African sub-region. I have studied in three different African countries and have developed networks throughout. I intend to use these networks to introduce ArchiScope to architects in Ghana very soon. In three years, irrespective of market size, I hope that ArchiScope will be recognized beyond the borders of Nigeria.
Do you have any other words on your career path?
I would very much like to see that at least one of my applications gets commercialized and functions as it should. I hope to successfully run my startup and even go ahead to expand my brand across the globe.
In the longer term, I hope to generate value so I can contribute to society in general and not only my immediate family. It is my wish to transfer the knowledge I acquire to younger generations to follow, especially in the most marginalized communities, and for the most marginalized individuals (for me, the Northern Girl-child).
As soon as I conclude my national youth service, I hope to take up employment for a few years, gain some experience, then later become an entrepreneur where I can generate employment and contribute to improving Nigeria’s economy.
As a young innovator, what is your advice to other youths?
My one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to not give up on their goals. It definitely gets hard sometimes, and you are allowed to take breaks or a step back when you need it. But that should still not be an excuse to give up on your dreams, no matter what anyone tells you.
Additionally, you should always stay true to yourself, no matter where you get to in life. Do not forget where you came from and try to look back at how far you have come. Most importantly, stay creative, the world is your canvas!