Thai Student Group Wins USAID/Asia's First Student Mobile Application Contest

U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A. Kenney, USAID Regional Mission for Asia Director Michael Yates, and KMUTT Vice President
U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A. Kenney, USAID Regional Mission for Asia Director Michael Yates, and KMUTT Vice President Bundit Thipakorn present the awards to Students with Solutions 2012 Winner "Team Optimo" and Popular Vote Winner "Team Vana"
Kittipong Mangmool, USAID

Mobile App Inspired By Recent Thai Flooding

For Immediate Release

Saturday, November 10, 2012
Christopher Galm

Bangkok — A group of five first-year Thai engineering students won the USAID/Asia Students with Solutions 2012 Mobile App Contest, which challenged Thai university students to create mobile apps to help solve development issues.

The historic flooding in Thailand in 2011 inspired the winning group, Team Optimo from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, to design an application aimed at providing real-time data on water levels by using a smart phone’s built-in capability for high-quality photos, GPS, and 3G connection.

“Our mobile application is not just an app — it is a tool to help save people’s lives and improve the quality of life,” said Nuntipat Narkthong, of Team Optimo.

Team Vana, consisting of four computer engineering students in third and fourth years from KMUTT, won the contest’s popular vote with more than 2,900 “Likes” for their app on www.facebook/USAIDAsia. Vana’s app is designed to capture and report details of illegal logging for park officials as well as helpful info for park tourists.

Organized by USAID/Asia, the Students with Solutions 2012 Mobile App Design Contest launched in June and focused on encouraging university students to think of creative ways to address disaster resilience and response, deforestation and forest degradation, and human trafficking.

U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A. Kenney announced the top winning teams at the final event, based on a decision by an expert panel of judges.

“The Students with Solutions contest looks to Thailand’s brightest to develop answers to their country’s most pressing development challenges,” Ambassador Kenney said in remarks at the event. “Realizing that mobile phones have transformed our lives, apps like these can provide easy ways to share information and create greater access to services.”

The six finalist teams made final presentations to a panel of judges and an audience of more than 100 demonstrating the mobile phone applications they designed to address development challenges in Thailand and the region. The presentations were also livestreamed on the website Team Optimo received a cash award of 50,000 baht, along with tablet computers.

Teams submitted a concept paper outlining the specific problem that will be addressed along with a mock-up of their mobile application interface and functions in July, and the finalist teams were selected in August. The six teams, representing KMUTT, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkabang, Srinakharinwirot University, and Thammasat University, participated in a mentoring event with mobile technology, forestry and disaster response on August 18, at which they received advice on their projects.

Last updated: July 19, 2017

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