HRH Crown Prince attends APICTA Gala Night
Izah Azahari

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office attended the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) Gala Night held at the Indera Samudra Grand Hall, The Empire Hotel & Country Club last night in Jerudong.

Also present was HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

HRH the Crown Prince was greeted on arrival at the event by the Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.

The highlights of the event, which carried the theme 'Unleash The Digital Treasures', were the announcement of the winners and the prize presentation in which HRH the Crown Prince consented to present the trophies and Merit Awards to the winners.

The ceremony began with the welcoming address by Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah, in which he stated that it was the first time that Brunei had the honour of hosting the APICTA competition.

"APICTA is indeed a very exciting platform for participants to gain more experience, create opportunities for networking and strengthen their footing in the region," added the minister.

He also highlighted the new features in APICTA this year, whereby judges used a new scoring system - created by a Bruneian company - in their judging. The scoring system has enhanced the features of previous scoring system and will continue to be used in APICTA in the coming year.

In another speech, Mr Sutee Satanasathapon, the Chairman of APICTA stated that the promotion and encouragement of responsible growth of software can only add value to the society and the economy.

"Recognition of valued and imaginative expressions of software to be applied to businesses and society provides more incentives to software originators and create healthy competition among them. Such recognition must be done timely, and APICTA has been doing just that," he said.

For the last two days, the nominees presented their products and innovations in their respective categories to the panel of judges. Three hundred and fifty nine delegates attended the event, including 153 nominees, 55 judges and executive committee members. The participants competed in 17 categories: eGovernment, eLearning, Secondary Student Project, Tertiary Student Project, Tourism and Hospitality, Media and Entertainment, Communication, Financial Services Industry Application, Industrial Application, eLogistic and Supply Chain Management, Security, Tools and Infrastructure Application, Research and Development, eHealth, Start Up Company, eInclusion and eCommunity, as well as Sustainability and Green IT. This year, there are 16 entries from Brunei.

APICTA's 16 member-economies are Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

In terms of quality, the products or solutions submitted this year have improved and hence proving that the level of creativity from the participants has increased from previous years.

Brunei has been actively participating in the APICTA Awards since 2001 and this year marks the first time for Brunei in hosting this prestigious event.

The APICTA Awards is an international awards programme 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.

APICTA 2012 is proudly organised by the Ministry of Communications and supported by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and InfoCom Federation Brunei (IFB).

The night ended with a handover ceremony to Hong Kong economy, which will be the next hosting economy for APICTA 2013. Brunei has created a new chapter in the history of APICTA for having successfully conducted the 12th International APICTA Awards competition and attracting more locals and foreigners to participate. - Borneo Bulletin (6 December 2012)