Apicta Awards 2012 winners ready for the next challenge


PROUD MOMENT: TaxiMonger founder Nizran Noordin (left) holding up the MSC Malaysia Apicta 2012 Award for Best Hospitality and Tourism. With him is Multimedia Development Corp chief executive officer, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali.

By JO TIMBUONG bytz@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Winners of the MSC Malaysia Apicta 2012 Awards are all geared up to represent the country at the international level in Brunei, in December.

One of them is Agmo Studio Sdn Bhd, developer of MasaTu — a mobile platform that enhances the social experience of its users through real-life activities. MasaTu won top prize in the Best of Media and Entertainment category.

Agmo Studio can’t wait to compete in Brunei. “We’ve done so many pitching competitions and with coaching from our mentors, we’re ready to present our product to the panel of international judges,” its business development manager, Low Kang Wen, told Bytz.

MasaTu is named from the Malay phrase that means “the moment.” The mobile app now has 3,500 subscribers, and Agmo Studio hopes to raise this to 10,000 by year end.

Mobile taxi-booking service TaxiMonger won big in the the Best of Tourism & Hospitality category. Its founder, Nizran Noordin, said the win is a validation of TaxiMonger’s potential to succeed in the mobile apps space.

“We’re pretty excited but still a bit nervous about representing Malaysia at the international level of the competition in December. It’s also a great privilege,” he said.

Nizran said the taxi-booking app has attracted the interest of an airline, and that his company is in negotiations now to include an airport-transfer option for airline passengers when they book their flights.

He also hopes to extend the application to travel agents, who will be able to add value to their customer bookings and itineraries by including taxi transfers. “We hope to begin trials with various travel agencies in December,” he said.

Piktochart — an online app for building eyecatching slide presentations — beat all comers to win in the Best of Start-up Companies category.

Its founder, Goh Ai Ching (pic), said it’s nice to be recognised in her home country, especially when many users of the app are in North America.

“This will help us with employer branding and hopefully get more job applications coming in,” she told Bytz.

Piktochart is in need of software developers and programmers to support its development plans for more features and to make it tablet-friendly.

Another winner from the 18 categories in the competition is Cube Global Sdn Bhd for its High Precise Forest Monitoring solution.

The solution helps forest rangers monitor encroachment and illegal logging activities within the boundaries of a forest reserve, using remote sensors.

It won in the Best of Sustainability and Green IT category, which was just added to the Apicta Awards this year.

“It’s great to be the first in Apicta Malaysia history to win this award. We hope to repeat our success in Brunei,” said Azman Ali, chief executive of Cube Global.

He wants the solution to be as efficient as the Automated Enforcement System being used to reduce the death toll on Malaysian roads and highways. “We want to severely cut down illegal logging activities and encroachments in our forests,” he explained.

Stimulating

The MSC Malaysia Asia-Pacific ICT Alliance (or Apicta) is a jointly organised programme by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom).

The theme is “Stimulating Creativity, Innovation and Excellence in ICT.”

This year there were 342 entries submitted — a 39% increase over last year’s entries. The programme is open to local ICT companies, individuals and students.

“Apicta Awards is the perfect platform to cultivate a steady stream of innovators, technopreneurs, thinkers, and visionaries,” said Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation at the awards presentation ceremony.

“These individuals are able to look beyond the state of the nation’s ICT industry and execute initiatives for themselves, their businesses and their community, that will make Malaysia a force to be reckoned with globally.”

Nominees of the Apicta Awards were trained through the MDeC-Cradle Collaboration, Coach and Grow Programme, which focuses on structured coaching by entrepreneurs which is then personalised to each company, individual or school.

This is done to raise the quality level of pitches by participants and subsequently increase their chances of winning.

Only the top 30% of the nominees will receive further coaching where their solutions are then tagged on to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and processes to enable easier monitoring and support during the implementation process.

MSC Malaysia is the national initiative formed by the Malaysian Government and managed by MDeC for the purpose of advancing the Malaysian information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

++++ www.mscapicta.com.my

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