Crowd funding and bus tracking platforms win Brunei’s 1st National ICT Hackathon

Each project will receive a grant up to $20,000 to develop a fully functional product

A group of five interns from the Brunei Solutions Development Centre (BSDC) and a pair from Politeknik Brunei (PB) are looking to bring Brunei’s first crowdfunding and public bus tracking platforms after being crowned winners of Brunei’s 1st National Hackathon: B{CODE} last weekend.

Fresh of their victories in the open and student respectively, Crowdsource (pictured main) and Team One, who both have access to a $20,000 grant, yesterday shared their plans of registering as businesses soon as they look to debut their final products for the Brunei market this year.

Team One’s Muhd Al-Akif Irfan (below L) and Muhd Amin Hj Fauzul (below R) said that they are looking at re-branding their ‘e-route’ mobile application – which tracks the movement of public buses in real time – with a more user friendly version called ‘Hop’ where the user will simply need to let their mobile GPS identify their current location before they select their destination.

The app will proceed to identify where the nearest bus stops are, and what time the next bus will arrive.

teamone

“While there is still stigma using public transport in Brunei – we also see there being untapped potential,” said 20-year-old Akif, a second-year Diploma in Business Studies student at PB. “The buses here are cheap, affordable for everyone to use, but there are two problems. One: people aren’t familiar or haven’t memorized the six bus line (routes) and their accompanying colours and two: they don’t know how long they’ll have to wait till the next bus comes.”

By tapping into existing mobile technology, Amin explains that a ‘navigator’ version will be used by the bus operator or driver, that will allow those signed up to the ‘user’ version to see the movement of buses in real-time.

“There’s also a bonus that if the bus operator and the people riding the bus sign up to the app, you’ll be able to monitor how much free seating there is before the bus arrives,” said the 23-year-old Information Systems and Technology diploma graduate. “So what we need for this app to work is for the bus companies (operators) to all get on board. Our discussions with the Land Transport Department (the regulator) have been positive, and we’re planning a timeline of two to four months to release the app.”

Meanwhile Crowdsource – as its name directly implies – looks to be the first crowd-funding platform tailored to Brunei. While not entirely a novel concept, the team behind Crowdsource says they are looking to beef up the credibility of the platform by having a verification option for projects.

“The projects don’t need to have been verified directly with an authority before they post them,” said Siti Noora’zam Hj Abdul Kadir. “But we’ll offer the projects an option of us linking them with the right stakeholder or authority for verification. So those hosting a public event for charity for example, we would connect them with the Ministry of Home Affairs.”

Crowdsource will debut as a crowdfunding platform for charitable projects where the public can donate, but the team is looking to expand to include creative or innovative commercial projects further down the line.

“Right now the platform is purely donations based, so those donating, do have rewards, but they’re not monetary,” said Ahmad Wajidi. “Later we could potentially look into a model for the public to invest in projects they feel are valuable.”

B{CODE} is an initiative by the E-Government National Centre (EGNC) and the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with Microsoft (Brunei) Sdn Bhd.

The hackathon was held across two months, with 43 teams comprising of 115 youth participating to develop solutions across nine contemporary challenges faced by the community: emergency response, crowdfunding, communication, talent matching, data portals, property guide, local tourism and tackling obesity.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance II Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim congratulated and awarded the winners in a closing ceremony held at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa last weekend.

The winners will also receive a one-month mentorship at Microsoft Brunei, six months access to the facilities of incubation hub iCentre and access to classes under Darussalam Enterprise’s Industry Business Academy.

EGNC added in a press statement that the solutions generated through the hackathon can help grow local enterprises to be more competitive in the local and overseas market, playing a part in ensuring that Brunei’s business environment continues to grow and generate solutions that drive the nation forward.

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