Young Brixton entrepreneur Charles Clayton, 16, recently met Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web.
Charles, a student at Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, was invited by the BBC to take part in the filming of his Richard Dimbleby lecture: The World Wide Web – A Mid-Course Correction, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 10.30pm on Sunday (17 November).
In it, Sir Tim talks about his aspirations for the future of the world wide web, now 30 years old.
He says that the fourth industrial revolution is well under way with the internet of things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality soon to be commonplace.
“Yet,” he says, “fewer women than men are online, more than half the world remains offline, and developing countries are missing out on revolutionary opportunities.”
For the first time, the lecture is followed by a question and answer session, providing further insight into the importance of access to the web and how it can adapt to fight threats like fake news, corruption and crime and realise its full potential.
Charles Clayton was one of those taking part.
He and fellow students started their own tech company, The AlphaApps, which has attracted the attention of top managers from Disney and Microsoft CEO.
Charles and Tim had a conversation in which Tim had the opportunity to hear about what Charles was doing and was very impressed.
The aim of AlphaApps is to look at new ways of presenting technology through smartphone applications and began as a school project when form tutor Sumair Mohammad encouraged Charles, Bruno Silva and Leynner Caicedo to take part in the TeenTech Awards competition.
Their concept attracted the attention of Nick Cannon, chief technology officer of Disney Animations, who agreed to mentor them and helped them with developing The Alpha Apps.
After winning the Future of Music, Media and Entertainment Award at the 2018 TeenTech Awards, as well as receiving praise from the CEOs of Vodafone and Microsoft UK, the boys decided to turn their school project into a real business.
The boys were also invited to Buckingham Palace by Prince Andrew this year to be congratulated for their work.
Their intention is to inspire other people younger than them to get involved in technology as they believe this is an industry that is truly open for all.
Who are the Alpha Apps?
CHARLES CLAYTON – CEO
Charles Clayton only recently finished his GCSEs. Born and raised in South London. His responsibilities in the team go far beyond management. He also took on the role of the artist behind the artwork in their comic book and app Big T Adventures.
BRUNO SILVA – DEVELOPER
Born in Portugal, Bruno moved to the UK in 2014. His love for computing began early. In year 9 he created his own computer at home and has used it to develop games for The AlphaApps. He very quickly taught himself Python, Java, C# and C++. Programming languages are not the only ones he is familiar with. Bruno can also speak Portuguese, English and Mandarin.
LEYNNER CAICEDO – CONTENT CREATOR
Leynner Caicedo moved from Venezuela to London at around 10 years old. Unsure of the move initially, Leynner now loves living in London. His current responsibilities with The AlphaApps include developing content for its social media pages.
SUMAIR MOHAMMAD – CHAIRMAN
Sumair was the form tutor/computer science teacher of The AlphaApps. He saw potential in the students and how their differences could come together to make a great project. After the boys grew a passion for the project and wanted to turn it into a business, Sumair agreed to help them manage the business and took on the role of their chairman. Sumair has been teaching in Brixton since 2015 and has won a Teacher of The Year Award as well as a Platinum Award for his continued contributions to education.
Big T Adventures
The AlphaApps current project is an augmented reality comic book and video game – “Big T Adventures”. Users will be able download the app for free and buy the comic book from the website TheAlphaApps.com and shops. The app is used to scan a page from the comic which, once scanned, activates an augmented reality video which is linked to what the reader has seen on that page.