Microsoft and SIRI VENTURES’ micro:bit competition enhances girls’ digital skills; Angthong Pathamaroj Wittayakhom School students won with ‘IoT-based fire alarm device project’

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

Winning team in coding competition

The program is part of Microsoft’s MakeWhatsNext – DigiGirlz, which supports the development of female innovators through coding training in collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency and the National Science Museum.

Bangkok, May 24, 2019 — Gender diversity can lead to more creative solutions born from different perspectives. Yet the general perception is that the tech sector is a male industry, and this is significantly undermining the progress of innovation development.  There is thus an urgent need to support and inspire women to enter the tech industry.

Microsoft (Thailand) recently organized #MakeWhatsNext – DigiGirlz 2019 Thailand, which aims to inspire Thai girls to realize their potential and follow the right direction in pursuing their dreams in STEM through a digital skill competition that saw the company putting BBC’s micro:bit microcontroller into use for the first time. The winning team was a group of Matthayom Suksa 6 students from Angthong Pathamaroj Wittayakhom School, Anthong Province, who created and presented the “IoT-based fire alarm device prototype”. This can detect temperatures exceeding a fixed limit and send a fire alarm to a messaging application as well as such necessary information e.g. location, user’s name and phone number to a website that has been created for fire stations. While waiting for help to arrive, the device can also automatically distribute water to control or extinguish the fire. The winning team, who received a THB 30,000 education fund prize, participated in the competition alongside 12 other student teams while a total of 145 girls attended the program.

Ms. Rachanee Chanawatr, Digital Enterprise Service Lead, Microsoft Thailand said, “As a representative of Microsoft, I am delighted to be supporting girls to study and pursue their careers in STEM by providing them with the necessary digital knowledge and skills. As a woman who works in tech industry, I admire all those who joined the program. They are determined, capable and inspiring. I hope that #MakeWhatsNextDigiGirlz will continue to support girls and encourage their interest in STEM education and careers. I would also like to thank SIRI VENTURES for their constant support of Microsoft’s digital skills development projects as well as the public sector, namely the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and Digital Economy Promotion Agency, all of whom are important partners.”

Winning team presents their solution in final round

Ms. Chulaluk Tang-iam, a winning team member and a Matthayom Suksa 6 student from Angthong Pathamaroj Wittayakhom School said: “Before the competition, none of us had any coding skills. We were given the chance to learn how to code for the first time at a Microsoft training session on the first day of the program. We feel that it has opened a new world for us and it is not beyond our capabilities. Once we combined our creativity with what we had learned, we realized that we could do it. Our ‘IoT-based fire alarm device prototype’ was inspired by the increasing number of reports of fire outbreaks and we felt we could create something to prevent or reduce the damage with the help of technology.”

#MakeWhatsNext – DigiGirlz 2019 Thailand was organized by Microsoft in collaboration with the public and private sectors, namely the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, the National Science Museum and SIRI VENTURES.

Man in suit jacket speaking in front of audience

Mr. Jirapat Janjerdsak, Chief Technology Officer of SIRI VENTURES Co., Ltd. said: “As Thailand’s leading prop tech innovator, SIRI VENTURES sees the importance of IoT as a foundation for developing Smart Living technology, having created the Sansiri Home Service Application to support Sansiri residents’ modern living experience and Homestore, the latest online one-stop-living platform. We are glad to be part of this initiative to support Thai youth – including girls who have the potential to learn and come up with innovative technologies that have a positive impact on our world. We truly hope that #MakeWhatsNext – DigiGirlz 2019 will be a memorable experience that inspires all students participating in the competition to develop their digital skills for the future.”