AppsForAsia program seeks to create sustainable technological solutions for the economic and development issues in the region
Winners from five participating countries to showcase solutions at the ADB 46th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Delhi
COME May, three Malaysian teams will be showcasing their solutions and representing the country at the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) 46th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Delhi, India from May 2 to 5.
The teams were the winners of the inaugural AppsForAsia program, a regional Microsoft-ADB collaboration that was held across five countries.
“We know that maximizing the use of technology is one of the fundamental drivers that empowers the poor and helps them improve their lives,” said Robert L.T. Dawson, corporate secretary of ADB.
“When Microsoft approached ADB to partner on this project, we welcomed the chance to share our knowledge and to stimulate the exchange of information and opportunity between technology users and technology creators to drive the creation of new solutions for a better tomorrow,” he added.
Between 2000 and 2011, ADB supported 372 ICT-related projects and technical assistance worth RM41 billion (US$13.22 billion).
The program seeks to harness the innovative minds of hundreds of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) across Asia to create sustainable technological solutions to address economic and development issues in the region.
Ng Wan Peng, chief operating officer of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), graced the awards ceremony and said she was encouraged by the quality of the winning innovative apps.
“Initiatives such as AppsForAsia support our drive to empower businesses and connect communities through ICT. ... Microsoft and ADB have provided the perfect avenue for local entrepreneurism to flourish and contribute to nation-building through the use of technology, on top of the opportunity for our winners to bring real-life changes to governments, businesses, and citizens across Asia,” she said.
Dinesh Nair, director of Developer and Platform Evangelism at Microsoft Malaysia, said AppsForAsia is a continuation of the company’s efforts to create a real impact in the IT industry, supporting Malaysia’s aspirations of moving towards a high-income, knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.
“We are extremely proud to partner with ADB for AppsForAsia to develop innovative solutions to address real-life challenges for the benefit of local communities. It is testament to our investment in initiatives that are geared towards developing software and application development talents,” he added.
The program was rolled out as a series of application development contests in Australia, India, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, where ISVs and developers were introduced to the elicited or identified needs of thousands of end-users across Asia in seven key sectors: Civil society, education, governance, transport, urban development, water and youth.
Throughout the contest, developers were given access to Microsoft’s Cloud platform, Windows Azure, as well as deeper insight into Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, to develop applications using the cloud across various platforms and devices.
Developers were also given technical and architectural consulting, as well as support, as they developed their applications to address real-world needs. ADB provided developmental challenges to participants in seven key sectors and technical guidance support to programmers and developers.
The winning teams will have the honor of flying the Malaysian flag and showcasing their solutions to thousands of attendees. Some 4,000 delegates including ministers; central bank governors; policy makers; chief executives of corporations; leading academics and heads of think-tanks; leaders of civil society; members of the diplomatic corps; and journalists from international, regional, and local media are expected to attend the meeting.
Opening the right doors
About 29 submissions were received for the Malaysian leg of the program, with Dinesh adding that entries were judged based on whether or not it solved a real need, followed by how innovative and creative the solutions was and what the potential on-ground impact of the idea was.
The second runner up was Centium Software Sdn Bhd with its Blood Request & Receive System (Blood R2 System), which provides the ability for people to request and receive blood. The team received RM5000 in cash and goodie bags from Microsoft.
These requests are pushed to everyone else using the app on both the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms – who can respond immediately – with specific details.
G. Saravanan, chief technology officer of Centium Software shared that the Blood R2 System was already installed in four hospitals including two in Vietnam and one in Bangalore.
He and team were looking forward to the opportunities that will be unleashed via the showcase in Delhi.
“We’re excited at the opportunity to showcase our solution to a roomful of decision-makers and delegates from the medical industry and hope to open more doors,” he added.
First runner-up place went to Gnowledge Sdn Bhd, a free-to-use public portal for teachers, student and parents to create, publish, share and take tests, exercises and assignments. The team received RM10,000 in cash and goodie bags from Microsoft.
Choong Chong Yew, chief technology officer of Gnowledge said the utopian vision for the company is to make a difference in society, through the products and services it provides.
“We developed our website with the vision of democratizing education by advocating community-generated content and assessment for every conceivable syllabus worldwide,” he added.
The portal currently boasts over 7,000 users from 30 countries, and Choong shared the team is especially keen on connecting with educators in Delhi to further promote the platform.
The grand prizewinner was Dream X with EPIC Hope, a collaborative platform that connects and empowers communities in Malaysia to get involved in building sustainable housing for indigenous peoples. The team received RM15,000 in cash and goodie bags from Microsoft.
Tan Jit Ren, DreamX co-founder, said that the team was inspired by the vision of EPIC Homes, that is, to provide each and every indigenous family in Malaysia with a safe home.
“We looked into the process and identified the challenges faced by EPIC Homes in fulfilling their mission. A key challenge was the coordination of volunteers and materials from urban hubs to the rural communities and we looked into how technology could be leveraged to support that,” he added.
For more information about AppsForAsia, click here.
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