KATHMANDU, Nepal, March 15, 2014 — The first CityApp Appathon organized jointly by Microsoft and CITYNET (The Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements) ended today, with 103 developers from across Nepal building web and mobile applications to solve Kathmandu’s biggest urban challenges.
In late 2013, CITYNET and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding that laid the foundation for future collaborative projects in urban development. CityApp Kathmandu 2014 is the first fruit of this partnership, and connects Microsoft’s global experience, innovative tools, and resources with the CITYNET network.
“This is an amazing event and I want to thank CITYNET and Microsoft for organizing it. The apps that our citizens have created will go a long way in ensuring the socio-economic sustainability of our city. It is a great showcase of the power of technology and the role it can play in making cities better for people,” said Kathmandu CEO Laxman Aryal. “Through CityApp, I hope that Kathmandu will be a shining beacon for other cities to follow,” he added.
“The Kathmandu Valley is one of the fastest urbanizing cities in Asia and with the increased population growth comes issues such as traffic congestion, pollution and insufficient waste management. The pressure is mounting as city administrators look for ways to provide better, more cost-effective infrastructure and services,” said Stefan Sjöström, Vice President of Asia Public Sector at Microsoft.
CityApp saw a variety of apps being built to address a wide range of issues, including accurate demographic information, cultural and heritage preservation, urbanization, pedestrian information, as well as waste management.
“As a citizen of Kathmandu, I experience these issues every day and have witnessed first-hand how important and urgent it is to find solutions to these issues. The collaborative approach that the government is taking with CityApp has enabled me to put my programming skills to use for the betterment of the city, and I am thankful for the opportunity to do so,” said Yashasvi Raj Pant.
The first place winning app, a solution focusing on public safety called Safety Whistle, was submitted by Yashasvi and teammates Anish Ansari, Gopal Kandoi and Rumi Shakya, who made up Team Conscientious. In this app, users can enter two to three emergency contact numbers and two to three emergency email addresses. If ever the user is in a situation they feel threatened or require assistance, the user simply presses the panic button to activate the app, which will send an SMS or email to the designated contacts. Information will also be sent to the police noting the location of the emergency.
Other winning apps include a patient-centric application that captures interactions between a health care provider and a patient; an app that tracks public transportation arrival times; an information portal that supports communication and collaboration between citizens and the government; and a crowd sourcing app that helps citizens connect to help each other solve community based problems together.
“This groundswell of ideas from the Appathon is a hallmark of Microsoft CityNext, which broadens the city innovation conversation beyond infrastructure alone, centering on helping cities unlock their most important resource—the potential of their people,” said Sjöström.
Around the world, cities are transforming through Microsoft CityNext and one example in Asia Pacific is in New Zealand, where Auckland Transport built solutions based on Microsoft’s data center, desktop and cloud-based software. These solutions are empowering citizens with a wealth of new transportation services – such as filling bus cards online and reporting potholes from a smartphone, as well as empowering employees to work more productively. Through Microsoft CityNext, Auckland Transport has been able to boost efficiency, increase the use of public transportation and ultimately made Auckland a better place to live.
“We received an incredible amount of creative and innovative apps over the course of the Appathon, which represents the impact that we can make in solving the region’s challenges through technology. We are working together with Microsoft to extend this program to other cities around Asia, so that they can also take advantage of technologies like cloud services, mobile devices and apps to improve communication between citizens and government,” said Mary Jane Ortega, Special Advisor, CITYNET.
Winners of CityApp Kathmandu 2014 will work with the Microsoft Innovation Center in Nepal to incubate and further develop their ideas. They will get an opportunity to showcase their apps to city and government officials at the World Cities Summit in Singapore on 1-4 June 2014.
More information about CityNext is available at http://www.microsoft.com/citynext/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
For over 20 years, CITYNET (The Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements) has committed itself to helping local governments improve the sustainability of human settlements. Starting with 26 members in 1987, CITYNET has grown to become an international organisation of 131 members 20 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. CITYNET relocated from Yokohama, Japan to Seoul, South Korea in early 2013. For more information, please visit www.citynet-ap.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.