Apps for a better Kathmandu

CityApp Appathon hopes to solve real life problems of city dwellers

KATHMANDU: Imagine if you could check the availability of respective doctors in desired hospitals on your mobile phone and validate the taxi fare with your mobile utility when you ride a public cab so that you are no more cheated. It may not be too far away to realise your dreams. CityApp Appathon to be held from March 14 to 16, 2014 in Kathmandu is part of the preparation to display the best Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications at the World City Summit to be held in Singapore on June 1, 2014. The summit promotes better living in the urban areas.


Nepali Youth at GUTHI (NYG), a platform to empower young Nepalis, conducted a joint orientation seminar with Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) Nepal, on February 4, at Khichapokhari, Kathmandu to promote the CityApp Appathon. Anil Sthapit, director at GUTHI informed that the goal of the programme was to create sustainable software applications for the economic, commercial and social benefit of city governments, citizens, and enterprises in the region.

Microsoft is organising the software developer event ‘Appathon’ to drive innovation and participation of independent software vendors (ISV). The cities participating will provide consultation and offer guidance on the economic and social needs of the city as well as insights into key priorities of the specific agencies and offices.

“Sounds awkward but the reality is we gossip a lot about the problems and are fascinated by the blame game over tea, but we hardly think of solutions to overcome these,” says Junu Thapa, manager at MIC Nepal. She informed that the Appathon is envisioned to develop applications based on solutions to problems that city dwellers come across. Be it energy and water, government bureaucracy or issues with society and security, there are many problems for which solutions can be evolved by the creative mind. “We invite ideas to develop applications that solve people’s problems. Also the best idea submitted will win a Nokia Lumia 820,” she adds.

“We are very keen on developing apps that can be used to solve real life problems and at the same time these projects can become sustainable,” said Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, chief at MIC Nepal. He adds, “We are aware that this initiative should not become yet another project work for IT students, so this challenge invites problem-solution blue print submission.” He emphasised that the submitted ideas will be accepted based on applicability and sustainability. MIC Nepal is organising workshops in 30 different business colleges and beyond, to generate ideas for the CityApp development before March 10.

Padma Sunder Joshi, program manager at UN Habitat says, “The use of ICT has become vital to solve ever-increasing problems of the city. We should be more sensibly working towards developing people centric apps.” Similarly, Nabin Bhandari, a member of NYG, says, “CityApp challenge would motivate young graduates to come up with sustainable solutions to ease city

issues.” Bishal Dulal, a visually impaired participant expressed excitement to find solutions

to combat his own urban challenges via apps. Similarly, Dr Nabees Man Singh Pradhan, senior orthopaedic surgeon at Patan hospital suggested it would be helpful for patients if a mobile apps could tell them about the availability of doctors in hospitals and further could verify with their mobile phones the composition of drugs they get from the pharmacy as prescribed by the doctors.

The 25 participants from the various walks of life at the seminar expressed their interest to get into brainstorming of ideas that could be processed for the most useful apps for the city dwellers. The CityApp, Innovative Solutions for Cities sponsored by Microsoft and CityNet strives to harnesses the creative power of thousands of ISV, SMEs, and application developers across Asia. Regarding this, Kathmandu has been nominated as the first city to launch the Solutions for Cities programme.


Source: The Himalayan Times

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