Finally is the day, Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia local final at Kuching, Sarawak. I took an early flight from Penang to Kuching together with Team 1StepAway and Team Vertex. It was a smooth ride I can said. Actually I though Imagine Cup this year will be roughly the same with last year at Pulau Langkawi, but I was wrong. This year is more grand, huge and lot nicer compare with last year.

This year Imagine Cup Malaysia is held at Pullman Kuching Hotel. It was really a nice hotel for having Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia. While all the competitions whom already arrival are busy setting up and declaring their booth, I run around and took some pictures of the event. One thing I notice this year is, most competitions come with well prepare compare with last year. They bring a lot of stuffs to declare the booth, equipments for tomorrow booth presentation, their own team T-shirt and so on. Well done. I can see the quality of Imagine Cup this year has improved compare with last year.

Other then that, the MSP team also prepared a lot of fun activities for the competitors. For example, MSP team is giving 3 minutes to each team to share what they want to tell the others about Imagine Cup. I see a lot of team come out with very creative way to express their idea. Besides, MSP team is also prepare a lot of activity to keep our competitors busy tomorrow, so that they can enjoy the most out of it tomorrow (let’s not let the cat out of the bag yet). Not to forget the Kinect and XBox game tomorrow too. Good jobs MSP teams!

After brief all the competitors the flow of the competition. A welcoming dinner is waiting for us. We are having our welcoming dinner at Grand Margherita Hotel instead. A thumb up for this one too. We have a live dance and live band for the dinner. Of course great food as well. Aren’t it just sound like the international Imagine Cup? At the end of the dinner, all team went up to the stage to receive a token of participating in Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia. Some of the teams even bring their university’s flag. Sweet!

I super duper looking forward to tomorrow event where Top 30 teams need to present their idea to everyone. I will definitely run around and learn as many stories as I can. Interesting day waiting for me. Check out the picture.

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

Just 1 more day before Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia local final will be kick off at Kuching, Sarawak. I can’t express how excited I am toward this event. First, I love to see how students apply their creativity and innovation idea to solve the world’s problems. Second, I’m never been to Sarawak before, this will be a great experience again. I had been attending Imagine Cup Malaysia final event since year 2008, so I’m not going to miss out this year too. Yes, I’m going catch my flight to Kuching to attend this event tomorrow.

I’m fully sponsored by Microsoft Malaysia as a student journalist / blogger together with 5 others bloggers to make a full coverage of the event from 4th of May till 6th of May. My task to to tweet and blog about the Imagine Cup event and provide everyone on the web the latest update of the event. If you would like to catch the latest update of the event stay tune in my Twitter and Blog or you can catch the other 5 blogs too. They are

If you miss out my post which universities or teams that had successfully grab their ticket to Kuching, you can see it here.

If any of you unable to attend the event live at Kuching, then stay tune on the web to get the latest update! Expect lot of tweets and blog posts from me within this few days!

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

1 more week before the Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia local final kick off at Kuching, Sarawak. Just 1 more week before I can see the great ideas bring by students this year. I so excited! I never been to Sarawak before, so this double the excitement. I can’t wait!

Previously I see a lot of good idea bring by the competitors, but the presentation they gave cannot full express their idea thus miss a lot of points. Just 1 more weeks left, competitor shouldn’t focusing on their development any more, but shift their focus on their presentation more.

I want to share my personal experience on imagine cup presentation . This is my personal point of view and it is NOT related with any Malaysia final round guideline or what so ever. I would said, take it as a reference only.

  • Presentation script / storyboard. It is highly recommended to script what to present or write a presentation storyboard.  A good presentation start with a good planning.  Carefully plan what should be included in the script because presentation time given is limited.
  • Creativity! Start with problem then solution, this simple presentation no longer work. Put in some creativity like role playing to make the whole presentation as smooth like watching a movie yet provide audiences with all information about the solution thought the movie. Let’s give the judges some surprises through out the “show” and prevent them from falling asleep.
  • Practice make perfect. There is no short-cut to make a perfect presentation. Practice until you remember the script without the paper, no more la, lu, lo, ok, a, etc. A smooth presentation is possible only if a lot of practice is done, so go practice the script even you are in the washroom!
  • Make it simple. The judges usually came from different professional field with different background. Most of the judges are from business background instead of technical background. Instead of explain a long detail how the algorithm work, competitor should tell how this algorithm can solve the problem and give a better impact compare if without this algorithm.
  • Prepare for Q&A. Try brainstorm questions that judges will ask after listen to your presentation. For example like detail break down of cost, competitor analysis and etc. If those information that judges ask for did not cover or not detail enough in the presentation, put all in the appendix slide. Surprise your judges that you are fully prepare to answer any question they might throw to you. Try to do several rounds of presentation to others before final like lecturers, you might collect ton of interesting questions for final presentation Q&A preparation.
  • Project sustainability / Business value. Hot question that will definably ask by the judges. It is highly recommended to show how the project can sustain during the presentation, for example by government funded, collaboration with business partner, by startup and etc. Try to avoid becoming open source as the reason for your project sustainability, because only a few open source projects are able to sustain and most judges knew that. Be sure you have the prove if you said your project is funded by some organization. “Project build to solve the millennium goal, but unable to sustain themselves; it soon will becoming another millennium problem.“, quote from one of the judges during Imagine Cup 2009 Malaysia final.
  • Competitor analysis. Another hot question ask by judges. Do a simple search whatever there are some similar solution out there or not. If there exist similar solution, do a competitor analysis or you can even compare with old method with your new solution. don’t assume the judges know nothing about other products out there, they knew it. Show why your solution is more better than others, what feature your solution have while others don’t.
  • Research, research and research. A statement without proof are merely just a sentence. It is always better to tell “XX,XXX number of people killed by TB and $X,XXX,XXX had been spend on this each year.” then “Many people killed by TB and many money spend on this each year.”. Judges usually only believe on real number. Please DO NOT create those fact by yourself. If your application interface also did some research according to user feedback, that is also a research, show it!
  • Backup plan. Always have one or two backup plan in case something go wrong. Prepare a backup machine, video record your software solution (especially for application that required Internet connection), have a local hosted server (if your web is hosting at other places on the Internet), take all installation software needed, bring your own wireless broadband and etc. Murphy’s law – ”Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
  • Don’t distribute booklet for the judges! It is very commonly to see presenter distribute booklet or something for the judges to read before presentation start. This distract the judges concentration on your presentation as some of judges might reading your booklet when you presenting. You always have the chances to disturb booklet or provide more information to them when they visit your booth.

Phew, another long list, I hope some competitor really spend some time read out. I really hope the quality of Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia can be improve. My camera are ready to capture the picture and my blog are ready to tell some story of Imagine Cup team. See them in 7 more days!

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

Thailand just had their Imagine Cup 2011 local final today. Team NewKrean won the first place in Software Design category for Thailand local final and will be represent their own country to worldwide final which will going to be held at New York, US.

The team had developed a phone application called Terra that allows disaster victims to alert others to their exact location. The software allows users to broadcast their location in the event of a disaster through social networks such as Facebook with one click. The team cited the recent flooding in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, as their inspiration for developing Terra.

The team explained that many countries are prepared with emergency supplies stored in the event of a natural disaster, but the problem they usually face is where exactly to deliver the aid to the victims as effective as possible. They later discovered that many victims did not receive any aid but others had repeated deliveries, because the rescue teams did not have accurate information about the victims’ location. Terra can give an overview of the current problem and provide long-term predictions of how a natural disaster might spread, thus allowing rescue teams to know where to send relief.

As we know Thailand is the only country to won twice in the global competition. Many team had keep an eyes on the team and waiting to see what they are going to bring this year especially Thailand just won the last year Software Design category and bring back the winner cup.

For more information visit: http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/computer/227946/software-to-save-lives

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

Everyone is familiar with the problem of inflation due to increase of fuel price. Even we ourselves as the average consumers are affected by the increase of fuel price, not to mention about the bottom billions. More money is spent on petrol and even more on goods yet salary of the people are not increasing at the same time. A team from Universiti Sains Malaysia had inspired by this problem. The team believe that by controlling the fuel usage for delivering goods by vendors and companies, it could contribute to maintaining the price of goods even when the fuel price increases.

Their solution is a management system, which is used to manage the fuel usage of delivery trucks. Through a more effective fuel utilization, this will help maintain the price of goods and therefore prevent inflation, which is good news for everyone, especially to the bottom billions and below average families who are having problems coping with the higher cost of living nowadays. With their solution, they aim to solve the first Millennium Development Goals, which is end poverty and hunger.

Meet the mastermind behind this great idea, Team 1StepAway. The team consist of Ng Poh SingSteven Chan Yew ChoongTan Chee Yong and Hoong Jo Lynn. All of them are from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia. They are all course mate and currently in second year of Degree of Computer Sciences. Not much second year students dare take the initiative to join Imagine Cup, I’m proud of their courage.

So how they came across Imagine Cup? They came across Imagine Cup through school’s promotion. The school showed to them how past year students competed in Imagine Cup and also achievements on both local and international competition. That inspired them, and together with encouragement from lecturer, they finally joined Imagine Cup this year. They are very excited about Imagine Cup as this is their first time joining Imagine Cup but yet very worry too! Although they don’t have  100% confidant but they will give their best in whatever they do!

I bet they must be expecting a lot from Imagine Cup especially from what they have been told by their seniors and lecturers at school. So what a team of second year students expecting from Imagine Cup?

“Something out of the text book of course! Of course this includes new experiences, meeting new friends and more people from the industries, explore more knowledge etc. Because this is the first time we joined it so we can’t really tell you much about this but we will definitely gain something good from it.” – Team 1StepAway

Photo of Team 1StepAway

“If you never try, you’ll never know that you might be just 1 step away from your dream.” – Team 1StepAway

Video interview with Team 1StepAway

They had made it into Top 30 of Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia of Software Design category. I shall see them in Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia local final at Kuching, Sarawak. No matter what is the outcome of the competition, the team is definitely making a different than other students. With their success, I hope their story can inspires more students to join in Imagine Cup especially the second year students.  For future update of the team, stay tune.

by Ooi Keng Siang (Microsoft Student Partners) via Ooiks’s Blog

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Malaysia is ranked sixth among Asian countries with high adult obesity rate in year 2010. Obesity increases the likelihood of various “killer” diseases in Malaysia which leads a reduction to life expectancy. A team from Universiti Sains Malaysia has foresee the problems cause by increasing of obesity rate in future. Hence, they have come out with an idea to prevent this trend from getting severe with the combination of the latest technology and their solution for for the world toughest problem.

Team Vertex aim to help obese patients to obtain a healthy lifestyle and lower the risk to be infected by diseases through their solution call Fit for Life. The team is consist of Jimmy Beh Weoi SoonAng Jac KyChang Yet Zhen and Leong Sook Bing. All of them are currently studying in Degree of Computer Sciences in Universiti Sains Malaysia at Malaysia. They are in their final year of their study which is the most critical and busiest year. I’m glad that they were willing to spend some of their time explaining their project to me even though their were very busy with their project due date.

So what inspires the team to join Imagine Cup even through they have a heavy load of assignments in school? They told me that they were inspired and acknowledged by the seniors who had joined Imagine Cup in the previous years with successful stories as well as interesting experience shared by seniors throughout the competition. As a result, they also hope to gain extra experience as well as knowledge shared by the competitors from all over the world by joining imagine cup. I bet School of Computer Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia has done a great job promoting Imagine Cup to the student.

This is the first time for Team Vertex to join in Imagine Cup. They are excited about experience waiting for them in the Imagine Cup final yet feeling nervous whether their idea will be accepted by the authorities. But they strongly believe their solution can help more people out by solving their current problems. Through Imagine Cup, they hope they can exchange experience with other competitors in order to solve the world toughest problem.

Photo of Team Vertex with their team mentor, Umi Kalsom Yusof

“Creativity builds a champion in Imagine Cup, believe in yourself.” – Team Vertex

Video interview with Team Vertex

They are currently finishing their study while waiting for round 1 result of Software Design category for Imagine Cup Malaysia that will be announced on 2nd of April. [2nd Aptril 2011]  They had made it to the Top 30 in Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia final for Software Design. Imagine Cup Malaysia local final will be held at Sarawak this year, and I do hope they can make it to the final and share their great idea with everyone on this world. I wish them all the best and no matter win or lose, they definitely making a different in their life.

I will bring you more update on this team, stay tune then.

by Ooi Keng Siang (Microsoft Student Partners) via Ooiks’s Blog

You can never imagine how professional the students can be when they conduct their presentation during the final presentation on the worldwide stage without watching their presentation. I search through YouTube to find video about the presentation of top finalist in Imagine Cup 2010, but I can’t found any. So I decided to get the resource myself, upload the video to YouTube and share with everyone.

If you never saw the Imagine Cup worldwide final presentation before, you should do it now. If you are a competitor this year and never saw the presentation before, you should even do it now.

Project Apple by Team HDC from Malaysia

Source Part 1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbHYDcoAFyk

Source Part 2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBLKWb9ZB7Y

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In year 2010, Malaysia team had definably achieve a big milestone in Imagine Cup at international level. Team HDC that represent Malaysia in Imagine Cup 2010, worldwide final at Poland had gone all the way to the top 6 in Software Design category. This is the first time that Malaysia team got into the final round of Software Design on international level while none of any team from previous years had ever make into the round one, not to said the final top 6.

If this is the first time you heard about Team HDC, the team is consist of Keith Khoo Lay Kit, Lee Chong Yang and Choong Yen Yen. All of them are from APIIT UCTI. They are also the first team from private university that represent Malaysia in Software Design category too.

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