They’re just 16 years old, but Armenian programmers Rafael Sahakyan and Sargis Yeghoyan already have helped create a gadget they hope will help put their hometown of Gyumri on the world’s IT map.
Working with Sahakyan’s father, electrical engineer Khachik Sahakyan, and other experts at the town’s Armenian Green Technology Center, the teenagers have developed an all-in-one system to control a house’s lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and security systems via a smartphone and an internet connection.
Their know-how comes from a local training center, part of a private-public campaign to encourage young Armenians to jump into IT; at roughly 20% per year, the country’s fastest growing economic sector, and a magnet for foreign investment.
For Gyumri, a northern town of about 150,000 besieged by unemployment, that means phones could be about more than communication. They could be part of the answer for a better life.