THAILAND: Offering the Tourist a Warm Techie Hug

The Thai National Science and Technology Development Agency’s (NSTDA) goals are to support research in science and technology and their applications in the Thai economy. To promote this goal, the NSTDA, in unison with Samart Corporation, launched the Samart Innovation Awards under the theme of Tourism Software Development. The so-called “technopreneurs,” or technology entrepreneurs, who participated this year designed software that caters to the needs of tourists. The winning teams from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang and Kasetsart University designed programs such as the Hug Thailand project and a collection-type game on Android phones.
The leader of the Hug Thailand project, 21-year old Natthawute Sae-Lim, said that “the aim [of the project] is [to] allow tourists to explore destinations and share information of their destinations with their friends via social media websites and mobile phone. Meanwhile, businesses and shops are able to provide their information via social network and mobile application.” This “Yelp-like” software ultimately aims to create a social network for travelers, as it includes trip planning, trip documentation, trip sharing, and other similar tools.
The other award winning team created a collection game that allows users to search for virtual items by shaking their device and collecting items that “pop-up” on a map of their geographical location.  They can then exchange these items for rewards such as sale promotions or points to buy accessories. The intention of the game is to motivate people to travel to different locations off the beaten path.
Both the Thai government and Samart Corporation are looking to inspire young “technopreneurs” to help stimulate the economy through new uses of media.

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