KUALA LUMPUR, October 2014 — Microsoft Malaysia (“Microsoft”) continues its drive to accelerate the local app developer community by bringing together the best innovative minds and growth opportunities at //bina/ - Microsoft’s Malaysian Developers Conference – built by Malaysians, for Malaysians. Billed as the local version of Microsoft’s renowned annual global //build/ tech conference, //bina/ saw more than 400 local developers – ranging from startups to students and Independent Software Vendors – gather at the Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) Convention Centre, to learn new skills, upgrade their abilities and explore the possibility of commercializing their ideas.
//bina/ provided a platform for developers to go beyond just creating awesome apps – talk tracks at the event covered multiple topics, further equipping them with the essential skills and knowledge necessary for the 21st century. Participants were also provided a pathway towards entrepreneurship – the opportunity to commercialize their hard work and talent, made possible via the wide market access of the various partners at the event. At the event, participants learned how to create new experiences that would reach hundreds of millions of devices on people's desks, in their pockets and in their living rooms – all through Microsoft, open source and multi-platform solutions.
According to Ng Wan Peng, Chief Operating Officer, MDeC, “Providing the right foundations for the creativity and passion of our local talents to flourish is equally as important as recognizing them. Programs such as //bina/ is in line with our efforts to spur the growth of a vibrant Digital Economy in Malaysia and complements MDeC’s initiatives which are focused on enabling up-and-coming creative local talents to create world-class applications and content. With ICON3Intellectual Property Creators Challenge (IPCC), we aim to empower developers to move up the value chain by engaging the industry and individuals to spearhead the use of digital technologies to produce high quality creative content. MDeC’s is to drive the nation's digital economy and accelerate efforts to spur generational change through technology, and that is what we are accomplishing here.”
Doors were opened to developers to sharpen their skills and find out more about partner app programs such as MDeC’s ICON3 and IPCC 2014 initiatives; TM’s Innovation Exchange (IX) Malaysian Mobility Apps Program – a joint collaboration with MDeC; Media Prima’s D3 Hackathon; and OSDC’s (Open Source Developers Club) My Mobile App Development (MyMAD) Hackathon.
//bina/ saw the return of the Microsoft Asian TechElite Contest, now available in Malaysia. Developers are rewarded for learning online via Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA), a free, 24/7, at-your-own-pace massive open online course (MOOC). At //bina/, Microsoft also announced the Microsoft Worldwide Community Champion Contest – launching in November – which is open to all local developers through MVA. Participants stand to win over RM30,000 and more than 20 Lumia smartphones. KL Converge’s AT&T Asian Hackathon with Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC), supported by Microsoft Malaysia, was also mentioned to encourage developers to register for this opportunity.
Guest speakers such as PEMANDU, a unit under the Prime Minister's Department tasked to oversee implementation and assess progress of the government’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and the Government Transformation Program (GTP), provided updates on the government’s initiatives for Education and Human Capital Development, while MDeC hosted a session on industry and business development – providing insights into how developers can take their ideas and apps one step further. General Manager of Microsoft Mobile Devices Sales for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Bruce Howe, was also on hand to explain how Microsoft Mobile Devices is helping developers gain free market access to amplify their apps across Malaysia. Third-party tools such as Xamarin were also covered, which allows for cross-platform app development on not just Windows but also Android and iOS. Unity Technologies Singapore delivered multi-platform gaming development solutions that could be used by developers for participating in MDeC’s IPCC 2014.
The talk tracks by various speakers at //bina/ provided plenty to digest for local developers. Among them included a series of MDeC sessions on the Big Data National Analytics Initiative Program; the Azure Machine Learning & HDInsight Apache Hadoop session; and a Hands-On Lab on how to use Apache Hadoop & Hortonworks. Developers were given a special free 3-month Azure pass which allowed them to advantage of this Azure offering to build not only Windows platforms, but also Android & iOS and take advantage of the free market access offered by Windows published apps to promote their other platforms.
Developers also heard from a guest speaker from Microsoft China, who shared what China is doing with Cortana to advance search in the world’s largest growing economy. Other highlights at the event included the Azure ISV Awards, an awards ceremony to recognize ISVs for their contributions to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ecosystem in Malaysia using Microsoft Azure, where participants had the exclusive opportunity to access Menara TM’s helipad where it was held. Cortana also made an appearance at //bina/, as developers participated in a Selfie contest with Cortana to win prizes.
Dinesh Nair, Director of Developer Experience and Evangelism, Microsoft Malaysia was enthusiastic about the platform //bina/ provided to help realize the enormous potential of the local developer community, saying, “Microsoft has been driving innovation and creating a real impact in transforming Malaysia for more than 20 years. We are inspiring students and software developers to take up the challenge to gear up for success, personally and professionally. Only by nurturing our local talents and providing a healthy ecosystem can we achieve the nation’s aspirations of becoming a high-income, knowledge-based, and innovation-driven economy. Nation-building is not solely the role of the Government alone but is a shared responsibility with the private sector and other key stakeholders. Partnerships are key to achieving this; from the technology that is needed to drive these innovations, to the support system and the infrastructure these innovations are built on, and that is why we are committed to working with the Government and industry stakeholders to invest – and invest big – in empowering our Malaysian talents.”
Dinesh’s sentiment resonated with Moharmustaqeem Mohammed, Head of Mass Market Marketing Operations (MMMO), TM. “At TM, we couldn’t agree more on the key components in building a truly advanced, digital nation – innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration. //bina/ is the perfect avenue where all these key components come together. As the Innovation Partner of the event, we are delighted with yet another partnership with Microsoft to help local developers and startups realize their potential. This event also allowed us to share our resources in support of Malaysia’s startup ecosystem for creative and innovative solutions through our Innovation Exchange (IX) Accelerator Programme. Leveraging our competitive advantage as Malaysia’s leading integrated information and communications group, IX is designed to stimulate ideas within TM whilst driving innovation across the industry. We look forward to the birth of more Digital Icons for Malaysia through our collaborations with Microsoft such as //bina/, with hopes that IX can assist these icons in fast forwarding the future of digital in Malaysia,” he said.
A lesser known fact in the industry is how Microsoft is a strong advocate for open source and multi-platform opportunities. “As a company, Microsoft is becoming more open in the way that we work with and collaborate with others in the industry, in how we listen to customers, and in our approach to the cloud – especially in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world. We contribute to and partner with open source communities and promote interoperability to make it easier and less costly for customers to develop and manage mixed IT environments. Our presence at the Malaysian Open Source Conference (MOSC) 2014, and our collaboration with OSDC for the MyMAD Hackathon at //bina/, are prime examples of how we are promoting development initiatives using Open Source Tools for our local talents and providing commercial viability for their ideas,” added Dinesh.
“Microsoft is opening doors for the local developer community to showcase their talents both locally and globally. We are dedicated to not only help Malaysian developers harness their talents and accelerate their progress, but also to provide an environment in which they can thrive. Our call to all developers is this - seize this opportunity to put your creative talents to good use. Go out and participate in the various programs that were announced at //bina/. It is clear that our local developers have the brilliance and the tenacity to be the world’s best, and all they need is the opportunity to show it. That is exactly what we have been doing, and will continue to do – providing opportunities,” concluded Dinesh.
//bina/ was held in collaboration with MDeC and TM, and supported by partners of the event – PEMANDU, Media Prima Digital, KOSTEM, Hack In The Box, Dreamcatcher, InfoTrek, Universiti Malaya, Tandemic.