Friday, April 18, 2014

Malaysia’s Brightest And Most Innovative Youths To Represent Nation At Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014

Three outstanding teams and their ingenious projects to compete at the World Semifinals on route to the World Finals in Seattle, USA
Imagine Cup provides students with unique opportunity to experience competition on a global stage and gain recognition for their hard work

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 April 2014 — Microsoft Malaysia (“Microsoft”) celebrated the creativity, passion and innovation of youth, in announcing the 3 winning student teams of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2014 competition National Finals, held from 10-12 April 2014 at Telekom Malaysia Convention Centre, Menara TM. These outstanding youth teams will represent the nation and compete in their respective categories at the Imagine Cup 2014 World Semifinals, on route to the World Finals which will be held in Seattle, USA from 29 July–1 August 2014.

At the Malaysia National Finals, 15 teams which qualified from the first round of selection competed in the three core categories of the Imagine Cup: Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. At the end of the three-day competition, the winning teams from all three category walked away with Nokia Lumia smartphones, and will represent Malaysia at the Imagine Cup World Semifinals. For the first time in the National Finals, there was a tie in the World Citizenship category. Another assessment will be made at a later date to determine the winner. The winning teams are:

Category: Games
Project Title
UTM Durian Runtuh
Durian Runtuh!
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
Category: Innovation
Project Title
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
Category: World Citizenship (tie)
Project Title
Care for Human Assistance Project
Swinburne University of Technology (Sarawak)
Mobile Food Planning and Conservation System
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

Imagine Cup is a global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrated solutions that can change the way people live, work, and play. Founded in 2003, Imagine Cup has inspired over 1.7 million students from countries all over the world to dream big and create anything with technology as their craft.

Dato' Mohd Ali Hanafiah Mohd Yunus, Chief Officer Industry Development, Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (“MCMC”), who graced the closing ceremony said, “The Government, through MCMC, believes that initiatives such as the Imagine Cup are crucial for Malaysia’s quest in her transformation to becoming a developed nation by the year 2020. Our ongoing mission is thus to help make our nation’s children better students, adept problem solvers, creative thinkers and charismatic future leaders, as well as encourage educators to maximize the use of ICT in their profession. Through events such as the Imagine Cup, we have been able to discover hidden talents and highlight the creativity of each participant in developing interesting and useful applications. More importantly, events such as this also showcase the ability of our local youth talents to compete with the best in the world. Indeed this augurs well for the future of Malaysia. As a partner, MCMC is deeply honored to support this dynamic initiative anchored by Microsoft. I wish the best to the winners and hope that they may have the chance to share their talents in Seattle.”
As the host of the Malaysia National Finals, Telekom Malaysia (“TM”) shares the excitement in having a role of nurturing the future leaders of the country. Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, Group Chief Executive Officer, TM said, “At TM, we understand that innovation is at the very heart of change. The world has made fantastic strides, especially in the technological realm and its related services. This in no small part is due to the immense and constant innovation that continues to shape our industry landscape, and of course, the people behind these innovations. TM is already in a unique position in the industry ecosystem where as an Information Exchange, we occupy a central space in the communications grid. This puts us in a formidable position to provide aspiring Malaysian content and application developers and entrepreneurs the avenue and platform to showcase and bring to market their respective innovations and creations. Apart from providing hosting as well as communications facilities and logistics for the competition, we are playing a key role in providing critical and constructive market validation for aspiring entrepreneurs in this space. We believe this makes for a very synergistic partnership with Microsoft. I would like to congratulate the winners of this National Finals, and wish them the best of luck to go all the way till the World Finals in Seattle. Most of all, we look forward to welcoming home a Malaysian team as champions!”

Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, Chief Executive Officer of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) added, “MDeC is pleased to continue our partnership with Microsoft. We are proud to support the Malaysia Imagine Cup 2014 as it complements the Digital Malaysia’s national digital economy which MDeC spearheads. Among Digital Malaysia’s key initiatives is to nurture a new generation of digital-savvy youth and to unlock the entrepreneurial potential. The Imagine Cup competition is a great platform for university students and the youth community to hone their entrepreneurial and ICT skills and it fits in well with our efforts to drive the growth of a vibrant Digital Economy in Malaysia. Participants with truly outstanding ideas or prototypes, and the drive to pursue digital entrepreneurship pathway can also look at the opportunities available through other MDeC programs, such as the ICON3 grant and the Accelerator Programme under the Startup Ecosystem & Entrepreneurship Development (SEED). My heartiest congratulations goes out not only to the winners, but also all Imagine Cup participants for the courage to take that bold step forward towards making their passion and dreams a reality.”
Imagine Cup 2014 VIPs (L-R):
1.     Dinesh Nair, Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Malaysia
2.     Mohammad Imran Kunalan Abdullah, Head of Talent Division Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDeC)
3.     Dato’ Mohd Ali Hanafiah Mohd Yunus, Chief Officer Industry Development, Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)
4.     Amar Huzaimi, General Manager, Group CEO’s Office, Telekom Malaysia (TM)

Every year, Imagine Cup receives enormous numbers of students who compete in three core Imagine Cup competitions of Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. They do so either in the dozens of National Finals held by Microsoft subsidiaries around the world or in the Online Finals, which provides students without a National Final in their country a path to victory.

In the end however, only a few of the very best teams make it all the way to the World Finals and receive global recognition for their hard work. This year, Microsoft decided to change that.

Every first-place winner in every National Finals and in the Online Finals will compete in a whole new round: the World Semifinals. These first-place teams will be celebrated on the Imagine Cup website as World Semifinalists so everyone can hear their stories, see their projects and be inspired by their imagination and passion. All World Semifinalists will then compete against each other in a global judging round to select the few teams invited to the World Finals to be held in Seattle, USA from 29 July till 1 August 2014.

Dinesh Nair, Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Malaysia, said, “The Imagine Cup continues to experience great success over the years; a testament to its success in reaching out to the hearts and minds of students. The quality of the projects and enthusiasm shown by the students in this competition have been thrilling for us. For more than 20 years of transforming Malaysia together, we continue to be amazed by our discovery of unbridled talent that exist amongst the youth of the nation. All of these students have one thing in common: they believe in themselves and in the skills they are developing – all they need is the opportunity to express themselves. We are proud, together with our strong partners in MCMC, TM and MDeC, to be able to provide that platform in the Imagine Cup – to nurture and expose this creativity among students in Malaysia to a worldwide audience.”

For 21-year old Yong Bang Xiang from Team UTM Durian Runtuh, winner of the Games category, it was an invaluable experience. “The Imagine Cup has been a great learning experience for me and the team. It was challenging to be able to develop and improvise our project in a short period of time, thus winning the Games category was very exhilarating! We are proud to be representing the country, and we look forward to further improvements and learnings at the World Semifinals,” he said.

Team HEARTCATCHER was also very appreciative of the knowledge gained from participating in Imagine Cup. “In a competition such as this, the focus is very much on the technicalities of getting the project to work. However, speaking to the judges and taking advice from them opened up our minds to think about the project more wholly; to include the business and marketing points of view as well. It was a real eye-opener and we have benefited tremendously from this experience,” added Lim Ai Jia, one half of Team HEARTCATCHER.

Judges had a tough time determining the winner for the World Citizenship category – teams CHAP from Swinburne University’s Sarawak campus and A-Ware from UTAR came up with equally creative ideas that will need a second round of assessment to decide the winner who will go to the next round. For Daniel Vong from team CHAP, it is the melting pot of innovative minds that attracted him most. “As students, we have ideas and innovations that can sometimes be left unexplored because there is no avenue for it. Microsoft initiatives such as the Imagine Cup provided a platform for us to bring together different people with different skills, to bring those ideas to life. The judges and mentors we encountered during this competition have been very helpful in giving u guidance us to build a better end product,” Daniel said.

Team A-Ware shared Daniel’s thoughts as well. Benson Law, team member of A-Ware added, “The judges and our fellow students were very supportive all the way, we feel very privileged to have had the chance to compete with the best teams from universities around Malaysia. The global issue of starvation and food wastage was one that resonated with our team and through Imagine Cup, we have the opportunity to use technology to do good. We will further improve our application and hopefully we will get into the World Semifinals and be able to bring our project to reality.”

“Imagine Cup is part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative to empower 300 million young people worldwide with opportunities in education, employment and entrepreneurship by 2015. We are committed to supporting the nation’s efforts to prepare the next generation with 21st century skills that are practical and relevant to the local economy and industry needs. We are continuing to invest in training these talents in software and application development skills to create a positive impact in the IT industry, in line with Malaysia’s aspirations of moving towards a high-income, knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy,” Dinesh concluded.

Imagine Cup Malaysia 2014 was organized in collaboration with Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Telekom Malaysia (TM) and Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), with Nokia as the sponsors of the competition prizes.

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