Muappy wins best in ICT industry at BICTA

UBD students develop customer loyalty app that rewards purchases with giveaways, discounts and raising their own virtual pet

Founder of Muappy Dr. Ren Virrey briefing MTIC Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib (2nd L) on their mobile application.

Local customer loyalty mobile application Muappy won the ICT industry category at the Brunei ICT Awards (BICTA) yesterday.

Muappy entices customers to make purchases from shops to gain points to be redeemed as discounts and raise their own virtual pets. The startup – made up of 11 Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) alumni and students – won over judges with their fresh, digital take on customer loyalty as they walked away with the $10,000 prize.

Buycour, an online marketplace that helps Bruneians purchase from Asia’s biggest e-commerce websites, took second and $5,000 in the ICT industry category, while a mobile app that helps motorists discover car workshops in their vicinity called Pingus came third, receiving $2,500.

Minister of Transportation and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohammad Yusof was on hand to present the prizes at UBD’s The Core.

Muappy’s founder Dr. Ren Virrey said they would be launching their application over the next few weeks, with 30 merchants signing on to the service for as low as $100 for 12 months. Customers will be able to use the app for free.

“A lot of businesses in Brunei have their own loyalty reward systems for purchases; sometimes its cards, stamps or points. But having to keep track of multiple cards/accounts can be troublesome, so why not have it all in one mobile app?” said Dr. Ren, a recent PhD graduate in systems engineering.

“And to differentiate our app from other customer reward apps, we introduce gamification, so every user gets an account and their own pet. The more purchases (and stamps/points) you make, the more challenges you take on, the more your pet will grow, which is a Pokemon inspired concept. With the points you’ve accumulated, you’ll be able to redeem them for products or discounts or even donate to your charity of choice.”

Mauppy’s Product Manager Aqilah Ali said the app would not include a payment gateway in the short term. Instead, customers would scan a QR code when they make a purchase from a vendor signed on to Mauppy.

Meanwhile Buycour said they would be investing their prize money to accelerate the development of their android application, having already launched an iOS version.

Founder Danny Sii’s team of four in Kiarong has completed to over 6,000 orders since starting in 2017, mostly from China. Buycour’s website is synced to regional e-commerce websites, housing millions of items.

“We are also taking on orders for items not available from our website; so if customers have something they want to purchase but can’t find a shipment company, we will handle it for them,” said Sii.

For Malaysia, Singapore and China, shipping rates are 20kg for $29 and up to 100kg for $85, with smaller items adjusted accordingly.

Founder of Buycour Danny Sii (L) briefing MTIC Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib on their service.

The owner of AIW Enterprise Hamidah Majid, whose company developed Pingus, said their mobile app would be launching in November. AIW started more than a decade ago focusing on supplying office wear, and is now looking to pivot into technology.

“I think it’s very common for us Bruneians; when our car breaks down or we get into an accident, that we don’t know where the nearest workshop is or what our options are,” said Hamidah.

“With Pingus we will list all the workshops (in your vicinity) and by detecting your location it will give you a list of places and mechanics you can contact, as well as map our the route (address). It’s like Uber, but for car problems.”

Hamidah explaining Pingus to MTIC Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib.

In the tertiary (higher education) category, UBD – whose team members also included Muappy’s founding members – took first and $7,000 for a prototype of an automated medicine dispenser.

Universiti Teknologi Brunei won second and $3,500 for their stroke recovery tool and also took home third and $1,7500 for developing a water distribution system for farming.

In the school category, Maahad Islam Brunei took first and $3,000 for developing a waste management system, while Sekolah Menengah Berakas came second, receiving $2,000 for their medical assistance app. Chung Hwa Middle School took third with an exercise app.

Two special awards were also handed out this year to Flipidea and the Ministry of Defence (MinDef). Flipidea is a website that helps budding entrepreneurs predict the failure rate of different business models through its database, while MinDef has developed a data analytics software called SCANEAT which is currently used to track and ration meals to prevent wastage.

BICTA is an annual event organized by the Ministry of Transportation and Infocommunications in collaboration with the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry and the Infocom Federation of Brunei.

The awards – which are themed innovation for the digital nation this year – also serve as a pipeline to identify Brunei’s representatives for the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) which will be held in Vietnam this October.