Crown Prince graces BICTA Awards
Danial Norjidi

HIS Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, presented the Brunei ICT Awards (BICTA) during the BICTA Gala Night yesterday.

His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, who was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar; Zhao Houlin, Deputy Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU); Toshiyuki Yamada, Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT); and other senior officials of the Ministry of Communications.

The proceedings began with a speech by the Minister of Communications, in which he said, “The Ministry of Communications in collaboration with the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and the Infocom Federation Brunei is delighted to organise the Brunei ICT Awards (BICTA) again this year.”

“BICTA is intended as a platform to encourage innovation and creativity among the local ICT players in a conducive and competitive environment,” he continued.

“It is very gratifying to see that such encouraging outcomes have led to an increasing number of participants of BICTA. With the theme of ‘Empowering the Digital Nation’, BICTA 2014 has received a total of 29 entries, the highest since 2009, competing in three main categories.”

The three categories for the awards were School Project, Tertiary School Project and ICT Industry. BICTA also featured three special awards. In addition, BICTA 2014 saw the presentation of the Royal Patron Trophy Award, which is presented to the “best of the best” of all participants.

The minister expressed gratitude to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, also the Royal Patron of BICTA, for presenting the special awards.

“It is indeed a very meaningful gesture for us, showing Your Royal Highness’ support and encouragement for the development of our ICT industry,” he said.

The event also saw a report from the Deputy Chief Judge, Dr Yong Chee, in which he summarised the judges’ observations for the three categories. On the School Project category, he said, “All the participants were able to address relevant issues related to tourism, continuing education choices or global warming.”

Touching on the Tertiary School Project category, he highlighted that the overall product stability and uniqueness are “remarkably impressive”, with most of entries being products that are “ready to be launched”.

“This year we got to see some products that are developed by using multiple technologies, with professional-looking graphical user interfaces. The students have clearly displayed their ICT skills and creativity.”

Finally, for the ICT Industry category, he described the nine entries as having a “similarly broad range of domains, and varying levels of product maturity”.

“Overall, BICTA 2014 has successfully attracted the participation of the many talented people involved in ICT innovation in the country,” he added.

His Royal Highness then presented tokens of appreciation to the competition’s judges, before going on to present prizes to the winners of the three categories and special awards.

The winner of both the Royal Patron Award as well as the ICT Industry category’s first prize of $10,000 was Teleconsult Sdn Bhd for its product, ‘SkyEye’. SkyEye develops aerial video capture and processing technologies, allowing for videography of mobile cell towers and rooftop sites.

The ICT Industry category’s second prize ($5,000) winner was PHMD Publishing Company’s ‘Salam Halal’ solution, while the third place ($2,500) went to MeSixty Sdn Bhd’s ‘Best of Halal’ food guide.

In Tertiary School Project category IGS College’s ‘Virtual Watch Fitting’ product bagged the first prize of $7,000. The product allows users to fit virtual watches by printing out and strapping designated markers to their wrists. Using an application on an Android smartphone, users point the phone’s camera at the marker, above which a 3-D watch can then be seen on the phone screen.

The second place went to Institut Teknologi Brunei’s (ITB) ‘The Sulu Princess’ and Nakhoda Ragam Vocational School’s ‘SVNR Staff Network, projects, both winning $3,500.

ITB also won third prize with its ‘6ScienceZAP’ product, taking home $1,750.

In the School Project category, no teams won first prize. Chung Hwa Middle School BSB’s ‘Heritage of South East Asia’ Android application won the second prize of $2,000.

Chung Hwa Middle School BSB also won the third prize of $1,000 for its Android application called ‘Green Wave’.

Chung Hua Middle School Kuala Belait also got third prize for its educational guidance system called ‘HeDGes’.

The Islamic ICT Award was won by two institutions – ITB for their ‘Land of Zikir’ Android mobile application, which contains a collection of Selawat, Zikir and Doa Harian; and Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College with its ‘Halal Haram Food Guide’, which helps Muslim users find out whether or not the ingredients of a product can be consumed.

Another special prize, the Community Services Award, was won by Itsybytes Company’s ‘E-learning Health Game and Informative Application’, which focuses on creating awareness among users, particularly children, on having a healthy lifestyle as well as the effects and contents of harmful substances.

In addition, the Young Developers Award went to Seri Mulia Sarjana International School’s ‘Save the Ozone’ application, which helps create awareness on the status of the Ozone Layer and its effects on mankind.

First organised in 2004, BICTA is an annual event which is aimed at stimulating ICT industry innovation and creativity amongst individuals, students and entrepreneurs. Recipients of the award are given an opportunity to participate in the Asia-Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards.

BICTA is a component of the APICTA Awards, for which the vision is to widen the influence of the ICT industry in the Asia region. Winners of BICTA have represented Brunei to compete with other participants from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam in the annual APICTA competition.

As a statement from the organiser reads, “It is hoped that BICTA will continue to provide the platform for ICT professionals to constantly innovate, resulting in more locally-inspired business solutions, benefitting the community in Brunei Darussalam.” - Borneo Bulletin (11 September 2014)