APU engineering students trump 200 teams to emerge champions in global competition

  • Hilti Global IT Competition saw universities from 43 countries take part
  • An endorsement of professional qualities, critical thinking of APU students

Mentor Ir Ts Dr Lau Chee Yong (left) with the winning team which beat more than 200 teams from 43 countries. (From 2nd left) Lim Cher Khai, Lim Joon Yi and Tan Jia-Hao who is team leader. (The 4th team member, Chan Jing Hung could not make the pic shoot.)

[Ed: Caption edited for accuracy.]

The Internet of Things (IoT) has greatly changed how the construction industry operates and experts predict that the IoT market share in construction will reach US16.8 billion by 2024. As IoT can range from embedding objects with sensors, software, and other technology connected over the internet, construction companies can perform distance monitoring, tracking, controlling and analysing to achieve construction safety, efficiency and sustainability.

Answering this industry demand for talent to cope with the advancement of IoT technology, Hilti, a Germany based multinational that supplies the construction sector with technological systems, organises an annual global IT competition to identify industry-ready talents.

At this year’s Hilti Global IT Competition (ITC) 2021, Team Techgasus comprising four second-year engineering students, Chang Jing Hung, Tan Jia-Hao, Lim Joon Yi and Lim Cher Khai from Malaysia’s Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), overcame more than 200 teams from 43 countries to emerge as champions. Ir Ts Dr Lau Chee Yong, senior lecturer of the School of Engineering was their mentor.

[Ed: para edited for accuracy.]

“This competition is indeed a huge win for us. However, it is only a stepping stone to our future careers,” said Tan, the team leader. As a reward, Team Techgasus members have been offered an industry internship opportunity at Hilti – ahead of their peers in securing such an opportunity.   

The competition required integration of IT and engineering know-how to develop a prototype which the winning team members were well equipped with having been trained in mechatronics and robotic technology.  Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the team met regularly online to brainstorm ideas and develop the prototype - a system that provides an alternative way to keep track of the construction industry’s day-to-day operation like inventory and site workers count. Key features of the prototype include using RFID and IoT as well as remote monitoring technology.

Tan Jia-Hao with the prototype built by him and his team mates. Team Techgasus was the only team that was able to build a workable prototype from the over 200 teams that participated.

What won the judges over was that Team Techgasus was the only team that was able to conceptualise what they advocated, and further proved it with a workable prototype. “Becoming the champions of the Hilti Global IT Competition (ITC) 2021 is an endorsement of the professional qualities and attributes of our students -  communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and innovation, as demonstrated before the panel of judges made up of industry professionals,” said the team mentor, Lau.

APU's Engineering programmes are market-driven, practical, reflect current technologies which prepare and nurture students as employable graduates. Apart from technical knowledge, the programme modules enable students to build leadership skills, communication skills and these skills prepare them for the workplace as professional and confident engineers, with skillsets across the board.

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