IT TOOK four months for the application named ‘The Sulu Princess’ to be created by a group of three young and ambitious Higher National Diploma (HND) students for their final year project at ITB. The project went international and won a Merit Award in the prestigious Asia-Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards competition held in Jakarta recently.
Another two projects by home-grown talents representing the country in APICTA also brought home merit prizes in their respective categories: Teleconsult Sendirian Berhad in the ICT industry Category and Chung Hwa Middle School in the secondary level education. The competition featured either ICT products that were valued for their problem-solution purposes or entertainment for the masses.
The APICTA Awards is an international awards programme organised by APICTA, which aims to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist in bridging the digital divide. By providing networking and product benchmarking opportunities to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs in the region, the programme is designed to stimulate ICT innovation and creativity, promote economic and trade relations, facilitate technology transfer, and offer business matching opportunities via exposure to venture capitalists and investors.
Participants of the awards programme comprise members of the Asia-Pacific ICT Alliance. They are guided by the Framework of Cooperation identifying how member-economies can work together in support of the awards programme as well as other programmes that foster development and growth of the ICT industry in the region.
To date, APICTA comprises 17 economies namely Brunei Darussalam, Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. APICTA member-economies take turns to host the competition. In the APICTA Award Competition held recently in Jakarta, there were 183 entries submitted by the 13 participating economies including six projects from Brunei.
Before joining APICTA, ‘The Sulu Princess’ also succeeded in winning the College and University category in IGNITE Entrepreneurship Award 2013 and first runner-up in the Brunei ICT Awards (BICTA) 2014.
The team utilised augmented reality to deliver the story of the Sulu Princess on mobile phones through inspiration that encouraged them to be different. It can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store for Android and is currently under the Copyright of ITB with plans to offer an extended version for a small fee in the future.
ITB prides itself with the hands-on approach to teaching and learning at the university through its HND, Foundation Degree and Undergraduate Degree programmes and consistently encourages and mentor students in joining competitions for exposure and priceless hands-on experience. The creators of ‘The Sulu Princess’ share their thoughts and experience:
Tell us about the ‘The Sulu Princess’ application.
‘The Sulu Princess’ is an ICT product that has two main elements. Firstly as an application, that can be downloaded from Google Play and 1Mobile market. Secondly, a storybook, that augments animation of the famous Sultan Bolkiah and Laila Menchanai story.
Who are the creators of ‘The Sulu Princess’?
The people who were responsible for the ‘The Sulu Princess’ are: Dk NurAzimah binti Pg Abd Aziz (Bachelor of Business in Technology Management, Year 2), Dayang Mariatul Kiptiah binti Ariffin (Bachelor of Science in Digital Media, Year 1), Dayang Nurul Nadhirah binti Mustapha (Higher National Diploma in Internet and Multimedia Development, final year).
How is your application different from the typical tablet-based story-telling application out there?
The application has a special feature that will grab the audience’s attention and interest as we integrated Augmented Reality technology into our animation which can be fascinating and interesting to experience as compared to other typical application. This makes the experience more meaningful and enjoyable.
In creating the application, did you talk to other stakeholders eg kids, school teachers, or parents?
Oh yes, of course! For this project we were targeting children from the age range of five to 10 years old, hence, interviewing and talking to these kids including school teachers and parents had to be carried out to understand the needs and expectations of our stakeholders. Besides that, we also talked to our peers and did a lot of reflection on our personal experiences as well.
Why did you name the project ‘The Sulu Princess’?
For this project we selected the famous story of Sultan Bolkiah to work on. The Sulu Princess was the name Puteri Laila Menchanai was known for as she was a princess who came from Sulu and later married Sultan Bolkiah.
How was the project started?
The project started off when we were doing our final year project whilst finishing our HND. The idea was pitched by one of our team members who was introduced the application AR by her supervisor during her work attachment and shared the possible opportunities that could be explored from it.
What have you learnt from the competition?
Besides the technical experience and excitement in developing the application, time management was the main thing that we learn to master whilst being part of the competition. We learnt how to manage our time well as we need to juggle between exams and getting the application competition-ready. Also, we learnt to trust and believe in ourselves, trusting that we can do better and most importantly confident in what we do and our abilities in achieving it.
Is APICTA 2014 the first competition ‘The Sulu Princess’ has ever entered?
No. ‘The Sulu Princess’ has made its debut in few competitions before APICTA 2014 and proudly it has won the prestigious IGNITE Entrepreneurship Award 2013 in one of the categories and sharing the first runner-up place in BICTA 2014.
How many competitors were there in the Tertiary Student Project Category of APICTA?
Altogether there were 21 participants including ‘The Sulu Princess’ under the category. There were three from Hong Kong, two from Taipei, two from Indonesia, two from Pakistan, three from Malaysia, two from Thailand, two from Sri Lanka, one from Macao and three from Brunei Darussalam.
How long did you had in completing the project?
Altogether the project took four months to be completed. Three months of research and a month for developing the application.
What were the challenges you faced in the competition?
First and foremost, the biggest challenge was the pressure of having to juggle between our exams and preparing for the competition! Nearing the competition, we were confronted with coursework due dates and also the need to fit in our schedules to meet up as all three of us were from different faculties.
Secondly, preparing the product and making sure that the product is universally and internationally understood by others, this is especially critical for the international judges.
Thirdly, sacrificing our time and the pressure of having to be absent for some of our examinations and having to sit for the exam right after we got back from Jakarta from the competition.
What was the most unforgettable moment in the competition?
There were a lot of unforgettable moments but the ones that are worth mentioning were the face and expressions of the judges when they saw our project. They were in awe and were very impressed with our project. Also, not forgetting the endless support and mentorship by our supervisors throughout the competition, the workshops we attended were very useful and constructive comments from others who inspired us to better our product.
Another moment was when we were told we were getting the Merit Award while doing our revision for exam, still tired after the long flight. It was unforgettable! We jumped with Joy!
And also the times where we made new friends with delegates from other countries with different background and ideas, sharing experiences and tips to go through the competition as well as receiving and giving supports to each other. The experiences were priceless and so unforgettable! We hope to have the opportunity again in the future! – Courtesy of ITB