The College of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT), UNITEN organized the 3rd Information and Communication Technology 2017 (ICTReC ’17) competition. The event was held at the College of CSIT on the 4th of April, and I’m honored to be one of the judges that came from the industry.
The primary objective of the event is to provide academics and researchers a convenient platform to establish their identity and promote their innovative ideas.
In general, the goals of the competition are as following:
- To recognize excellence in innovative technologies and design.
- To provide a platform for academics and researchers to introduce their ideas, exhibit and share their work.
- To foster, nurture and encourage their participation in science, technology, and innovation.
- To create an avenue to establish business networking partnership and opportunities with institutions.
Tuan Haji Fazil Ibrahim, CIO of TNB gave an Opening Speech and officiated the event. Four (4) judges are divided into two groups and were give the task to evaluate 20 projects.
Overall, I felt that it’s a good initiative by CSIT, UNITEN to organize an event that will spur the innovativeness and competitiveness spirit among the students and researchers. Of course, there is always a place for improvements, and I hope these comments are taken into consideration by UNITEN and the participants to improve their projects.
- Improvements in their Poster contents – If the poster is the only way for them to communicate with the audience, they must really take serious note of the contents and the story line. Fonts, graphics, colors and charts played a critical role in conveying the right message.
- Clarify the Problem Statement – Most researchers tend to start with their solution and objective before even talking about their problem statement. And the worst part if they did not even describe their problem statement at all! This is the biggest mistake in any project presentation. A simple scenario about the problem statement or “pain points” with a brief explanation about the limitation of the current solutions will help to tell a better story to the listeners.
- Don’t jump into the technical details too early – The researchers need to understand that this is the first time the judges see their projects. Don’t expect them to know every terminology, technical details, algorithm because some of them are from the industry – unlike the researchers who have done the same work for years. Take the first 5 minutes to explain the scenario, problem statement, the terminology and how it applies to the real situation.
- The Demo is the “Eye-Opener” – Demonstrate if possible. Let the showcase be the prove of the results. What you have done and what you intend to do are two different things.
- Combining FYP and Postgraduate Research Might Not Be Fair – Judges will have difficulty judging the various stages of project development. Some of them are at concept/idea stage, mid-stage, the final stage of progress with different levels of “novelty.”
- Customer Validation – It’s critical for any projects to get validated or “buy-in” from the customer. Otherwise, it’s more theoretical work rather than practical, and we might be investing our time and money for the wrong reasons.
However, I can see several interesting projects that have potential to be commercialized. Some are quite ready, but others have still a long way to go.
About the Author
Dr. Mazlan Abbas is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of FAVORIOT Sdn Bhd. He is an IOT Evangelist and a Thought Leader. He received an award as 50 Most Impactful Smart Cities Leaders by World CSR 2017. He is ranked No. 20th Thought Leader in IOT by 2014 Onalytics Report – “The Internet of Things – Top 100 Thought Leaders”, ranked Top 10 in IoT Top 100 Influencers by Postscapes 2016/2017, ranked Top 100 in Smart Cities Top Experts by Agilience Authority Index May 2016. You can reach him on LinkedIn or Twitter. Check all his presentation slides HERE.