A 5-member team from The One Academy’s School of Multimedia Design has bagged the top prize worth RM 3,000 at the Exact Hackathon organised by Exact Asia Development Centre (ADC) with the support of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
The team consisting of Lim Ping Hui, Gabriella Widjaja, Lim Yuen Chia, Tan Xing Yu and Lam Chee Long from Interactive Media Design Degree beat the other thirty-one students from University Malaya, Multimedia University, Asia Pacific University, University Teknologi Mara and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College with their idea NEXT.
NEXT is a travel planner that allows users to book flights from a wide variety of airlines from cheapest to the most convenient, learn about the destination country to prepare for climate, search and schedule for attractive upcoming activities and also get real-time reminders and recommendations.
“The app which essentially pulls data from various other platforms is more like an incorporation of many other apps like Airbnb, Traveloka, Travel Advisor and Uber,” said Tan, one of the group member.
The members initially came up with a bunch of ideas but eventually arrived to this one. They find it viable because travelling is commonplace nowadays, and thus relatable to most people especially the youngsters who would mostly be the demographic user.
The application can also be used to collect data on top of helping local and foreign businesses, playing their part in improving overall economy by, for example, recommending a user “where to buy winter clothing to stay warm” when the weather gets a little much to handle.
Themed ‘Develop Tomorrow’s Tech’, the team’s idea NEXT was parked under the categories of smart entrepreneur (empowering entrepreneurs to keep track of their business performance and identify new opportunities) and social community (leveraging communities and crowds to foster a social enterprise network).
Though, they figured that their project was more typical and that their competitors innovated better ideas. The edge that they believed to have over the other teams were their design, presentation skills and teamwork integrated within their degree education.
“We listened to the other teams’ presentations and found that those ideas were really great,” Tan said. “But they were not trained in design like us, their ideas were unappealing to the eyes and it was harder to understand what we were looking at.”
One of their competitor teams even came up with an idea to predict purchasing patterns of businesses, but couldn’t effectively present their concept within the small 5-minute time limit allocated for each group to pitch to the panel of judges.
NEXT team agreed that good design is crucial for presentation no matter how great the idea is. During their turn, some features of their own app did not need explicating because the judges could interpret and understand just by looking at them.
Pioneered in 2015, this is the first time that Exact ADC has opened the competition to students as they realised that Malaysia has a huge talented pool in terms of technology ideation. According to its product development director Srinivas Sampathkumar, the corporation is located in Kuala Lumpur due to their proximity to MDEC and academic institutions, allowing for the nurture and development of an innovative-thinking talents.
The success of The One Academy team proves that the observation holds true, provided that their education and training received equipped them with industry-competent skills and knowledge, allowing them to best their competitors.
[The One Academy of Communication Design was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting the region as the world’s center of creative reference. Strategically located in the thriving creative hub of Bandar Sunway, Selangor, with a branch in Georgetown, Penang, The One Academy is today a top notch leading international institute in art, design and creative multimedia, renowned with graduates who steer successful careers in creative capitals worldwide. The courses offered are Multimedia Design with Digital Media and Interactive Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Film Visual Effects, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Design, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making and Fine Arts.]
The One Academy team during their 48-hour hackathon challenge at ADC Kuala Lumpur.