Bangkok, 23 September 2020 – Microsoft Thailand and corporate innovation platform RISE today announced the final results of the “Hack the Future: Business Rebound Edition” competition, which challenged thinkers and developers to come up with the best new tech concepts and solutions that empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Thailand to overcome challenges posed by COVID-19 and the New Normal with the Microsoft Azure cloud as the platform of choice.
Following a hotly contested final pitch round in late August, the panel of expert judges – led by Ricky Kapoor, Vice President for Sales, Marketing and Operations for Microsoft Asia Pacific – delivered the final verdict with 3 winning teams and one special prize winner selected from the 8 finalists:
- Alto Tech: IoT and computer vision solution that automatically manages energy consumption in a building based on actual real-time usage and human presence with no disruption of privacy and minimal additional expense on the building owner’s part
- Bizcuit: AI-enhanced customer experience feedback platform capable of delivering real-time insights
- Vii Vision Intelligence: AI-powered service that works alongside human operators to enhance customer care and engagement while also reducing manpower and cost requirements
- Vulcan (special award for inclusion): Hardware and software solution that automates the health check and venue check-in processes for visitors with disabilities – including automatic visual detection of masks – with AI training by hard-of-hearing data labelers
Sample image of Vii Vision Intelligence’s solution in action
The winning teams will now move on to work closely with Microsoft to take their proposed solutions to the market in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, all 4 teams will enter the Microsoft for Startups program as winners of up to 100,000 USD in Microsoft Azure cloud credits to immediately support continuing development of their solution.
“The three winning teams as well as our inclusion award winner all showed an outstanding grasp of the issues facing businesses and their customers today, and we are looking forward to seeing how far we can take these concepts and products together to customers across the region,” said Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited.
The competition, which ran from June 11 to August 27, saw 14 participating teams of 3-5 members take on real-world challenges faced by Thai businesses across three dimensions:
- Resource & Operations Management: Helping SMBs manage their resources better for an accelerated recovery after the pandemic
- Digitalization / New Way of Work: Improving the efficiency of the SMB workforce and frontline workers
- New Experiences for Customers: Creating new experiences and added value for customers of SMBs in order to gain a competitive edge
Each team could choose to take on solutions from several areas of interest that are focused on industries with major obstacles from the pandemic – including manufacturing, Internet of Things, retail, consumer services, restaurants, healthcare, hospitality and travel. Scoring was decided by four factors: problem and customer targeting (30%), solution innovation and practicality (30%), business impact (20%), and feasibility of implementation (20%).
Dhanawat added: “By focusing the efforts of participating teams on very immediate challenges, we hope every team that took part in ‘Hack the Future: Business Rebound Edition’ will be able to move forward with their projects and make an impact on the Thai business landscape. I would also like to congratulate the four prize-winning teams for their outstanding contributions, and everyone at Microsoft is looking forward to seeing their solutions transform businesses in the near future.”