Software programs developed by the young as entries in innovation contests are today proving they also have great commercial value.
‘Reverse Auction’ technology solves the over-supply issue and the unsatisfactory booking system of hotels.
At least one of the four gold award winners from the Samart Innovation Awards 2011 has already shown their talent in the business world, one is about to set up a company, while the other two are fourth-year university students who plan to make commercial use of their programs.
The Samart Innovation Awards 2011, a contest organised by Samart Corporation and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), recently announced the 13 winning projects from a total of 150 projects submitted last year.
Four of them achieved the gold awards, two in the Business Software category and two in the Mobile Devices category.
Infradar which won in the Business Software category is a browser program that combines augmented reality and Google Maps together with users' lifestyle information.
The phone-shaking aspect of ‘Find & Found’ was inspired by Japanese virtual pet toy Digimon.
The program enables users to see the world in reality and online simultaneously, and helps them to search for venues, products and any promotions via their mobile phones.
Infradar was developed by a team of students from Chulalongkorn University last year who have now graduated and are running the company together, called Infradar Co Ltd.
Narun Chanyavilas, the team leader said for business purposes the program helps promote the locations by advertising via mobile phone and website, online showrooms and GroupMap services.
Infradar today supports Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry and it soon will be able to run on Windows Phone.
"Users just point their mobile phone to the targeted location, the program will display the places such as types of businesses or the names of shops," said Narun, noting that users can choose to show the venues that match their personal lifestyle tastes.
The search results can be shown in artificial reality, map or list form.
The team from NewLine proposed "Reverse Auction" technology to solve the over-supply issue and the unsatisfactory booking system of hotels.
Customers can choose the location of a hotel from Google Maps, then find vacant rooms in each hotel participating in the reverse auction.
A one-stop tourism service ‘Hug Thailand’ brings a geographical information system and mobile application together.
The business model creates the perfect competition method as the results allow tourists to get rooms at the lowest price while hotels have an innovative channel to mange their vacant rooms.
Marwin Chirapaisarnkul, the team leader, explained that the reverse auction can create motivation for tourists and hotel business alike, with both getting a win-win deal.
"Vacant rooms" or "over-supply rooms" are rooms that the hotel business would like to create revenue with, by selling them for less profit, but quickly. "It's better than leaving the rooms unoccupied," said Marwin, who was inspired by the reverse auction of hotel rooms when he went to the United States, allowing him to a get room for 1,500 baht, instead of the normal price of 12,000 baht.
He noted that he has a plan to commercialise the program by proposing it to a small amount of hotels and resorts first. "It needs to have investment funding for the future program development and I have a plan to make it for the Asean market as well."
The "Hug Thailand" program, by a team from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang, is an application that helps users to plan trips based on the time and style of their journey by sharing tourist information on a social network.
The Infradar program enables users to see the world in reality and online simultaneously.
Natthawute Sae-Lim said Hug Thailand is a one-stop tourism service that brings a geographical information system and mobile application together to create a social network for tourism. Previous services had to use several applications in dealing with travelling, but here it's an all-in-one affair. The app covers trip planning, trip documenting and trip sharing.
Users can make plans based on previous trip information shared by other users. In the trip-documenting part, users are able to make geotagged travel diaries in the form of text, photos and videos. Moreover, users can share diary entries via online social networks such as Facebook during the trip. They are also capable of sharing all of the information obtained from their trips on the system. Such information can be used as a guideline for other travellers to plan for their own trips.
The "Find & Found" application is a virtual item collection game for marketing and tourism created by fourth-year students from Kasetsart University.
The application is the result of team leader Kitiphan Pikulvech's fondness to try lots of applications, and combines the location-based Foursquare and Ensogo web-deal technology. "Users just shake their mobile phones to search for virtual items, then exchange them for rewards, participate in shopping promotions and collect points to buy accessories," said Kitiphan, who was inspired by Japanese virtual pet toy Digimon for the phone-shaking aspect.
Those are the four gold award-winning teams from the Samart Innovation Awards 2011. And this year the competition will focus on promoting a business opportunity for software developers through the project "Technopreneurs, Idea to Market".
This is the first project in the technology industry that promotes innovative creations with marketing feasibility by young people and also focuses on building superior developers.