Developing apps for kids has its rewards


By GABEY GOH bytz@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: A boost to the local web content eco-system has arrived in the form of a Geek-the-Genius contest by Alcatel-Lucent Malaysia, a telecommunications solutions company.

Aimed at spurring the development of content suitable for children between 5 and 12 years of age, the focus is on applications with edutainment elements.

The contest was launched by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) chief operating officer Ng Wan Peng, who said it is important to have privately-led initiatives such as this to help increase local content for Malaysian websurfers.

“The Geek-the-Genius contest represents an ideal platform for Malaysians to showcase their creativity and talent in creating simple yet interactive applications that appeal to children,” she said.

MDeC is guardian of the MSC Malaysia initiative to transform the nation into a knowledge-based economy.

Alcatel-Lucent announced that the apps would be developed on Facebook; with the winning entries then hosted on the Geek-the Genius website where children would be able to access them.

Ng said Facebook is the pertinent choice because out of the 64.7% of Malaysians who use the Internet, 75.5% of them are active on that social-media platform, according to Google Ad Planner.

Mohd Fazlin Shah Mohd Salleh, president and managing director of Alcatel-Lucent Malaysia, said the France-based company wants to help get more local content on the Web.

“This will also contribute to the Government’s goal of developing a robust Internet ecosystem, in line with the National Broadband Plan (NBP),” he said.

The NBP covers the building of broadband infrastructure; stimulating demand to ensure efficient take-up of broadband services via suitable content and applications services; and identifying gaps in existing regulations and where necessary, introduce new ones to facilitate broadband rollout.

The Geek-the-Genius contest will run from April 27 to July 20, and is open to all eligible Malaysians. The results will be announced at a prize presentation and showcase event tentatively scheduled for Sept 3.

Participants will be issued a Facebook username and account solely for the contest.

Submitted applications will be shortlisted and judged by a panel, based on several criteria, including creativity, originality, level of educational content, user experience, as well as suitability and relevance.

The judging panel comprises Ir Wan Murdani Wan Mohamad, head of the Digital Infrastructure Business Unit at MDeC; Sheikh Raffie Abdul Rahman, business development advisor for Bernama Systems and Solutions; Reza Razali, managing director of Terato Tech; Ravi Gopal, head of education at Astro; and Ronald Byrne, editor of StarBytz.

There are 13 cash prizes up for grabs — RM20,000 for the Grand Prize winner, RM12,000 for First Prize, RM5,000 for Second Prize, and 10 Consolation Prizes of RM700 each.

For more details, go to www.geekthegenius.com.

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