Queue Management App Win The 2020 APEC App Challenge
A mobile application that aims to make public queuing safer and more hygienic for both customers and businesses has won the 2020 APEC App Challenge. The winning app, String, designed by two Malaysians, Hoo Xing Yu and Louis Ong Bing Hao, was announced at the 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting by the chair of the meeting and Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
"This year, the word “challenge” has a whole new meaning to it,” Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali said. He further added that in response to the current uncertain times, “contestants were tasked to help small businesses acquire and apply new digital tools and services in the interest of post-COVID recovery."
“One of the things that has been a challenge to our daily life during this pandemic is adapting and adhering to the safe distancing measures, be it in public transport, in a mall or in a café or restaurant,” Louis explained. “The app that we developed aim to make safe distancing easier for customers and for the business itself.”
“We have in mind that the app must be useful and we are grateful to have such opportunities to solve one of the issues small businesses are facing right now,” added Xing Yu.
The 2020 APEC App Challenge was held fully virtual for the first time, with 91 software developers and designers forming 15 teams from all across the 21 APEC member economies working together to bring forward ideas on how to support recovery for small businesses in the tourism sector.
“It is very encouraging to see such innovation and ideas to support recovery of the tourism sector from our young talents in the region,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. “APEC policymakers could tap into these practical and functional innovations we see in the APEC App Challenge to build back the tourism sector.”
Besides String winning the first prize of this year’s challenge, a virtual interactive tourism platform, Choizy from Indonesia won the second prize and a platform aims to minimize business volatility using data and machine learning, OctoDash from the United States won the third prize of the 2020 APEC App Challenge.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the key role played by digital technologies in our economy and society,” said John Karr, the Asia Foundation’s Senior Director of Technology Programs. “The APEC App Challenge shows how a great community of innovators and software developers in Asia-Pacific can positively contribute to the region’s recovery effort.”
"It is great to see software developers in APEC economies come together to support the tourism sector,” said Andrew Ure, Head of Public Affairs, Google Asia-Pacific. “Online platforms give the region's entrepreneurs the chance to scale their efforts and help the tourism sector recover and grow.”
The 2020 APEC App Challenge is a joint initiative of APEC Malaysia 2020 and the APEC Secretariat, with support from the Asia Foundation and Google, designed to showcase proof the policy initiatives in practice by encouraging top developers from across the region to design innovative applications that address a key APEC agenda item.