HKU teams win top prizes at the 18th APICTA Awards

HKU teams win top prizes at the 18th APICTA Awards
June 6, 2022

Hong Kong achieved record breaking results at the 18th Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Alliance (APICTA) Awards held in Guangzhou during October 10-13 sweeping six Winner and 13 Merit awards.

Among the six Hong Kong award winners at APICTA 2018, two were from HKU including Fano Labs, an HKU A.I. spin-off company specialising in speech and natural language processing (NLP) technologies, and Tale, a student project on an A.I. enabled solution for the coaching of presentation skills. Fano Lab won the top award in the “Business Services - ICT Solutions” category and Tale won the top award in the “Student - Tertiary Students Project” category respectively.

The APICTA Awards is an annual flagship event of the ICT industry in the Asia Pacific region. It is often dubbed as the Oscars of the ICT arena in the Asia Pacific region. Founded in 2001, it has become a renowned international award today. This year’s APICTA Awards saw a total of 65 judges, 700 nominees, 100 volunteers and 274 nominations coming from 16 economies across the Asia Pacific.

“It was a great honour to have had the opportunity to represent Hong Kong and compete in the world's ICT arena. Fano Labs, among other winners from Hong Kong, showed the world that Hong Kong is indeed a great technology hub with good people and good technologies,” said Dr Miles Wen, CEO and founder of Fano Labs.

“When we heard the announcement, we were both pleased and honoured that the work we are doing on the project Tale has been recognised. The award reinforced our confidence to continue to develop our project. We will further develop our project as a start-up. Currently, we are working with professionals and professors to further enhance our solution, to serve Tale as a professional presentation coach,” said David Lau Kin Fung, team member of Tale.

Professor Andy Hor, HKU Pro-Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research) said: “We are pleased that the efforts in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship are bearing fruits. These awards are widely recognised as the “Oscars” of science and technology. They give hope to our students and alumni that there are many paths to success. They also strengthen our confidence in our drive towards innovation and start-ups, which are also aligned with the current focus on Hong Kong, as articulated by the Chief Executive in her Policy Address last week. You will witness more successes of this nature in the coming months and years.”

About Fano Lab

Fano Labs was co-founded in 2015 by Dr Miles Wen, an HKU Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) PhD graduate who is also a former Fulbright Scholar at University of California, Berkeley and Professor Victor Li On Kwok of Department of EEE. In November 2017, Fano Labs became the first HK startup ever invested by Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, who is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, DeepMind, Skype, and Siri.

Fano Labs’ technology is used to listen back over all recorded call center agent interactions with customers. Recorded calls are checked over to ensure the agent has performed within the boundaries of the law (particularly around financial services) while recordings are used to evaluate staff, check on customer feedback and train new joiners. Call center managers don’t have the time to check through them all, and that’s where Fano Labs steps in. Its tech goes through the call center’s entire log to tell the busy manager which ones they should listen to, rather than picking them at random. Fano Labs also helps by picking out the key excerpts and helping call center managers ensure they are on top of each call they listen to.

About Tale

Tale is a three-student team formed by HKU engineering students Ms Lao Kit Ying Jaime (Mechanical Engineering and Mr Lau Kin Fung David (Computer Science) , and HKUST student Mr Douglas Tse.

Tale is an A.I. presentation coach for users to practise presentation at anytime and anywhere. Presentation skills establish a person’s credibility and impact. Just like any other skills, such as swimming and maths, one has to get to keep practising in order to master presentation skills. Designed to improve the presentation skills of our users, Tale assists users to tackle problems encountered when presenting and provide professional guidance, prepare them to deliver an organised presentation with skills and confidence. Tale justifies a presentation in terms of verbal and non-verbal communication, using technology to help users to improve their presentation skills.

About APICTA Awards

The Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA Awards) is an international awards programme organised by APICTA, with an aim to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist in bridging the digital divide. By providing networking and product benchmarking opportunities to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs in the region, the programme is designed to stimulate ICT innovation and creativity, promote economic and trade relations, facilitate technology transfer, and offer business matching opportunities via exposure to venture capitalists and investors.

Participants of the awards programme comprise members of the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance APICTA. They are guided by the Framework of Cooperation identifying how member-economies can work together in support of the programme as well as other programmes that foster development and growth of the ICT industry in the region.

Until Today, Members of APICTA consist of 17 economies including: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Nepal.

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