Mobilecamp Asia 2014 Attracts Big Crowd

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Cambodia’s tech scene looks set to explode after hundreds of budding young Khmer techies gathered for MobileCamp Asia 2014.

The one-day conference aimed to inspire, inform and educate the country’s next generation of entrepreneurs, who are poised to push the Kingdom’s rapidly expanding tech and mobile scene to the next level.

In an opening speech, organiser Be Chantra said, “Thanks to the internet, the world is so connected. We are now connected to almost everybody in this world. It is open to you with the internet and mobile.

“That also means we are not just competing amongst ourselves but against the world. That’s why this forum is good to inspire ideas and work together to grow this market.”

As part of Saturday’s event, which took place at the Institute of Technology, guest speakers from organisations including Smart Axiata, USAID, Golden Gekko, Biz Solution Cambodia, Microsoft and Nokia, entertained a packed hall on a range of subjects.

Heng Chantheng, programme manager at USAID funded SPICE project, spoke about the relevance of the mobile and technology arena in helping develop the country in relation to SPICE. The project, which is implemented by the Open Institute, helps social and business innovation using communications technology and improves communications in Khmer via mobile devices.

The purpose is to build partnerships between technology-oriented civil society organisations and private sector entities to use existing technologies to promote and deliver a greater diversity of information to the public and improve communications in Khmer using mobile devices.

“The aim is to see if Khmer script can be used as a tool for the government and civil organisations to communicate directly with Cambodians and beneficiaries across Cambodia, offering them information and services in Khmer through mobile phones.”

Greta Greathouse, Chief of Party at USAID’s recently rebranded Development Innovation project (formerly Cambodia Silk) addressed the important role mobile apps can play in social innovation, urging the crowd to continue to develop their ideas.

“Look at the changes that have taken place in Cambodia and the rest of the world in the last 10 years as a result of technology,” she said. “Look at how it has affected your personal lives, then imagine the impact it can have on social change here in Cambodia.”

Greathouse added, “This is a place to grow a community of innovators who can take ideas and, within the use of technology, turn them into solutions that make Cambodia a better place.”

She highlighted several exciting and innovative mobile projects being developed and used in Cambodia, including a business that gives rural schools better access to education through an application offering maths and other subjects via tablets and smart phones.

And in a bid to boost the successful development of these ideas, Greenhouse announced Development Innovation will open an Innovation Lab later this month. This will provide a space for young entrepreneurs to work, training, tech events and the chance for people to learn more about technology.

“It’s so important to continue the enthusiastic energy because Cambodia is showing so much growth in the technology and mobile generation,” she added.

As well as the presentations, the event hosted an exhibition hall with companies and young developers showcasing their goods. This included Ouko Online, live online games of Cambodian chess and Osja Studio, Cambodia’s first game development studio, was also on hand to showcase its products.

For more information, visit www.mobilecamp.asia

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