APICTA Awards – The Judging Begins
The Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) is an international Awards Program, the purpose of which is to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist in bridging the Digital Divide. By providing networking and product benchmarking opportunities to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs in the region, the program is designed to stimulate ICT innovation and creativity, promote economic and trade relations, facilitate technology transfer, and offer business matching opportunities via exposure to venture capitalists and investors. Participants of the Awards Program comprise members of the APICTA Alliance. The Awards are held in a different member economy each year.
This year APICTA was held in Singapore alongwith the ASOCIO ICT Summit and General Assembly. The Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO) has since 1984 been the bridge for IT companies in the region to expand their network of contacts, conduct business with each together and develop their capabilities. ASOCIO has dedicated itself to promoting, encouraging and fostering relationships, while promoting trade between its 20 member organizations.
The Judging for the APICTA Awards began early on November 28. The judges were asked to be in the lobby of their hotels at 7:15 am (yes, it is a hard life being a judge). We were to have breakfast at the Singapore Management University (SMU) before the judging began at 8:30 a.m. This was a ploy on the part of the Chief Judge because he knew that if he didn’t get the judges there early, the schedule might be affected if any of them were tardy. Good ploy don’t you think?
The Head Judge in the Communications category was Riyanto from Indonesia. Amongst the other judges on my panel were Kenneth Vong from Macau, Alex Lin from Singapore and Osman from Brunei. We were put in Room 4 which was so small that there was hardly any space for us to move around. I had a crick in my neck from watching 13 presentations on the projection screen. The quality of presentations was extremely good. Most of the products were innovative and were commercially accepted products. There were some that were new and had yet to be tested on ‘real’ people. I, for one, felt that some of them would have done better in the R&D Category. They lost mileage because they could not produce actual implementation and customer response statistics. When Adnan Agboatwalla of PixSense presented I felt so proud. He did a superb job of presenting just what was needed and he did it with the right mix of brilliance and professionalism. He fielded the questions like an expert and was able to satisfy most of the judges. As far as I was concerned, he proved himself to be a winner in the 35 minutes that were allotted to him.
As a judge at these events, it is difficult to be totally unbiased but if you are fair in your assessment of the products that are being prsented, the winners are so obvious. The judging guidelines for APICTA have been streamlined every year based on feedback from nominees, judges and Exco members. The Alliance wants to ensure the integrity of these Awards and is working hard to ensure that nothing interferes with that.
In the Communications category there was a lot of competition because of the growth in the mobile market and the expanding services being offered in different parts of the world. The entrepreneurs who came to present all shared one thing – they were passionate and excited about the breakthroughs they had made. They were clear about the gaps they were filling in the market and the growth potential for their products. Most of them had a vision and knew that the goal posts would keep moving and they couldn’t afford to stand still if they were to succeed in this arena.
The caffeine kept flowing to keep us alert and functional. I don’t know about the judges who were in the other categories but I wasn’t bored for a moment even though we started at 8:30 am and the judging went on till about 6:30 pm. It was no doubt tiring but it was mentally stimulating. We exchanged notes as we met in the corridors of SMU during coffee and lunch breaks. Young people from various colleges were dressed in black and asked to be timekeepers and coordinators and data entry operators. They certainly put in a lot of hard work.
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