SMK Bintulu’s EZ Park IoT-based smart parking system and app is top innovation
IT was a proud moment indeed for team IT Warriors when they were crowned grand champion of Shell NXplorers Malaysia 2022, after competing with five other teams from schools across the country.
IT Warriors comprising Yiek Siew Hao, Sean Lee Jia Roung and Christalyn Siaw Ern Qi came up with the winning innovation EZ Park, which is an IoT-based smart parking system and app that helps drivers find indoor parking in a much easier and faster manner. Additionally, a special prize for best presenter was awarded to Yiek for his eloquence and detailed explanation of EZ Park.
The app enables drivers to know exactly where to park by receiving real-time data from sensors connected to embedded systems (Arduino software) via Bluetooth.
Using this app will not only saves time but most importantly, minimises greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our app also allows drivers to see the exact number of parking seats left so they can plan and manage timing of their outings,” says Team IT Warriors.
According to Yiek, his family spent quite some time finding a parking spot at a mall during the weekends.
“We would circle around in hope of finding a suitable parking spot near the entrance but sometimes there is none, so we have to turn back. This gave me the idea to build something that can save my time and the car’s fuel.”
Of course, coming up top was not without its challenges.
“Working together and coming up with a winning idea is not that easy as it requires us to think out of the box and get out of our comfort zone,” says Lee.
“As we all have our own opinions, we really had a hard time coming up with such an idea. To overcome this, we applied the NXthinking technique, which allowed us to come up with this amazing idea at the fastest.”
Shell Nxplorers aims to create such thinking and introduces such methodologies among the younger generation to generate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“Aside from that, the Shell NXplorers programme gave us a golden opportunity to not only enhance our teamwork, but to also improve on our speaking, writing and social skills. It’s incredible that we’re able to meet, interact and share insights with other fellow participants in Malaysia through this programme,” shared Siaw.
“We introduced Shell NXplorers in Malaysia in 2017 to address the deficit of students in the science stream in secondary school, as Malaysia is not able to meet the target of 60% – which would lead to shortage in the STEM-related workforce and necessitate technical dependency on foreign talents,” says Shell Malaysia chairman and Upstream Malaysia senior vice-president Datuk Ivan Tan.
“This global education initiative empowers young people to address the complex challenges the world faces today. It provides the tools, methodologies and skills needed to tackle real-world problems using collaborative, innovative and interdisciplinary approaches.
“We aim to provide early exposure and influence students to take an early interest in STEM fields, which will help increase the number of local talents in this arena, while empowering lives by building human capital among the community to prepare them for a greater and sustainable energy demand.”
According to Lee, the NXplorers programme requires plenty of research to prove the participants’ perspectives.
“Researching on these perspectives makes a person ask why. We get more curious about things around us and would like to know more about them. With this, we are exploring the world and also gaining knowledge, traits of scientists, and this slowly becomes a habit in our daily lives.”
As testament to the quality of the innovations submitted for the competition, Yiek says: “The other teams’ innovations show their best in approaching their ideas. For one, the flood alert system built by the team from Sabah was truly an incredible innovation that opened my eyes. Every innovation of each team tackles different kinds of problems and it’s heart-warming to see how young people like us can spend precious time tackling problems around the world.”
The IT Warriors team encourages young students out there to participate in programmes like Shell NXplorers.
“Shell NXplorers is an interesting and tough journey. Whether you are a champion or not does not have great impact on your life. What matters the most is the knowledge and experience you gain,” says Siaw.
“It is definitely not easy but believe in yourself that one day you can change the world with your inventions, innovations and successes.”
Lee adds: “On the road to innovating, each of us should learn to overcome our worries and weaknesses by working as a team because that is what teams are for.
“Another thing is to be confident that your project will change the world. Using this confidence, we can deliver our message to the world and let them see how we’re going to make a change.”
Collaborating for the future
According to Tan, Shell continues to improve on and expand Shell Nxplorers to reach out to more schools, so that more students in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia can benefit from the programme.
“We have also trained many schoolteachers through the NXplorers Train the Trainers workshops held in Kuala Lumpur, Miri and Kota Kinabalu.
“Working in collaboration with our strategic partners from the Education Ministry and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), this programme is aligned with Malaysia’s path to digitalisation and our Shell Powering Progress strategy.
“With support from the Shell NXplorers global team, we are proud to collaborate with the Education Ministry and recently launched the self e-learning NXplorers STEM module alongside our road safety module on MOE’s DELIMa portal.
“This is a significant contribution to STEM education in the country, as it provides access to over 2.5 million secondary school students nationwide.
“We are always on the lookout to partner with the country to further develop STEM-related initiatives and to increase the number of competitive local talents.”
Tan further adds that the world is fast evolving, and the future needs the young generation to be equipped with the skills and knowledge for greater energy demand.
“The challenge is complex, but we can all play a part. We need to apply new and creative ways of thinking, to create a vision for a better future and to make positive change happen.
“This is what NXplorers is about, equipping our future leaders with critical thinking and problem-solving abilities,” says Tan.