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Innovative Intelligence

Social networking that paysyou and cars that switch off via mobile apps are among the ideas up for awards

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More than one billion is the number of users that enables Facebook to be crowned the world's largest social networking website, but not all users have the privilege of earning from the lucrative site. 

Mad Teacher was designed to make users enjoy maths through competition.

In contrast, the Thai social network site thorfun.com operates under the concept of "user affiliate" by offering 50% of revenue to users, sharing not just networking space but also rewarding those who enrich other people's lives.

"Users can do everything that they are doing on Facebook, sharing their happiness via blogs or photo albums, meanwhile, they can have revenue from the website based on the number of views of their blogs," said Marwin Chirapaisarnkul, managing director of thorfun.com.

Launched a month ago, the website has more than 9,000 users and has started paying blogs 50 baht per 1,000 views. The website's source of revenue is advertising, and the concept has attracted an investment of venture capital from Singapore. Marwin reflected that he wanted to build thorfun.com into a stronger network in Thailand, and for the overseas market, he also planned a social media website called U-story.com, to be introduce in the future.

"I believe that within five years, any social media website that does not share revenue with users will disappear," the managing director said.

Thorfun.com is one of the projects that passed through to the final round of the Samart Innovation Awards 2012. The competition for innovative software development was initiated by Samart Corporation and is the only IT contest held by the private sector in collaboration with the Business Incubation Centre of the National Science and Technology Development Agency.

The competition comprises three categories: digital content and mobile apps, enterprise software, and material, machinery and medical technology.

The finalists include mobile application Mad Teacher and The Magic Number _ a casual game that engage users in maths challenges. The game was the idea of Thera Sirichareon whose parents are maths teachers.

Under the concept of ‘‘user affiliate’’, thorfun.com offers 50% of revenue to users.

"Many people are afraid of maths or calculation, so we designed the game to make users enjoy the subject through competition," said Thera.

The game targets teenagers and family members. Two players can compete in the maths problems and they can share the score with friends on Facebook.

As well as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems, the developers want to add further puzzles such as crosswords.

Aside from innovations designed for personal use, the contest also welcomes software for businesses that range from real estate and hospitality to insurance.

Promshared.com, for example, is a website for those who offer property for rent and those who seek a house, condominium, and apartment in major cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. There are currently about 4,000 users with more than 300 lists of accommodation in Bangkok offered for rent.

Hospitality businesses could benefit from a certain software innovation in the contest _ FRONTab. Selected for the enterprise software category, it is hotel management programme with SaaS (software as a service) developed to specifically serve small and medium-sized hotels.

By utilising the benefits of cloud computing, Tansinee Towongphaichayonte, and her team designed FRONTab to help cut down the cost of software investment.

"There are a lot of hotels in Thailand, but their booking systems are not good enough, they have websites, but just for providing information. Most users have to turn to websites operated by foreign companies for booking the hotel rooms," said Tansinee.

The software for front office operation covers bookings, check-in and check-out. The programme enables users to book rooms via the hotels' website.

"We made the booking engine embedded in the website. Once there is a booking, it automatically links to the software and checks the room, so it allows users to book via the website. The hotels need not invest tens of thousands of baht in packaged or licensed software, but pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee for the FRONTab programme based on the their usage. The programme also supports mobile devices, smartphones and tablets." The material, machinery and medical technology category features an interesting finalist called GPS Anti-Theft _ a car security system that combines GPS tracking with a security system that users can monitor online. They can be alerted to the car's movements and users can even issue commands to the car via the smartphone application, which runs on both Apple iOS and Android devices.

Jirapat Kummalue, the brains behind this security innovation, explained users could check the condition and location of the car at anytime. The GPS Anti-Theft box installed in the car's console was designed to send and receive data and updates about the vehicle's security. Alerts can be issues via SMS, phone calls and through the mobile application.

Car owners can command the car to turn the alarm system on and off, lock or unlock the car doors, and turn the engine on or off, which will no doubt prove handy if the car is stolen. There are 20 input/output channels in the anti-theft box that receive signals from shock sensors, ultrasonic sensors, temperature sensors, and it can track the use of fuel. Data is also stored in a micro SD card.

"We are at the final stage of testing the app and it's expected to be completed by early next year," said Jirapat, adding that the price of the GPS Anti-Theft solution will be about 25,000 baht including the box, implementation, application and theft insurance.

Those are some examples of innovative intelligence behind 26 projects selected for the final round of the Samart Innovation Award 2012. Each project receives financial support of 20,000 baht from Samart Group to further develop their product. The winner will be announced early next year with a grand prize of 200,000 baht on offer.

With GPS Anti- Theft, you are alerted to the car’s movements and can issue commands to the vehicle via the smartphone app.

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