All eyes on the Sparrow


KATHMANDU: Much may remain to be desired in the information technology (IT) sector in Nepal, but Janaki Technology Pvt Ltd (JTPL), a Nepali IT company, could have a shot at putting the country in the forefront of IT arena in South Asia and possibly the world.

The company’s ‘Sparrow SMS’ is one of the top 63 finalists in this year’s mBillionth award — a leading platform to explore, recognise and honour the best practices in mobile and telecom industry across eight South Asian countries. The mobile application outsmarted 227 applicants out of the total 290 nominations.

‘Sparrows SMS’ was launched four years ago. It is being promoted under the slogan — SMS to FB, SMS to Twitter, SMS to email, your SMS to your world — lets you send messages not only to social networking sites but to any other website. With just a normal text message, one can update and send messages to any sites. It is especially a boon to the addicts of social networking, as keeping in touch with one’s social networking accounts has never before been so easy in Nepal. Till date, the company claims to have already received around 10 million SMS from all over Nepal.

Amit Agrawal, chief executive officer of JTPL, said, “The mBillionth is a platform for any company wanting recognition and growth.” Stating that just being able to participate in the event is a great opportunity in itself, he added that being selected in the finals and representing Nepal is a huge honour. “Apart from giving a presentation about Sparrows SMS, I’m looking forward to learn and witness innovative technologies in other South Asian countries,” he shared.

While there were four nominations from Nepal this year, JTPL managed to make it to the final round. Prawesh Shrestha, project manager of Mobile Nepal, said, “ ‘Kumari Cash’ was awarded for innovation in 2011 while Vtax was awarded under m-Governance category from Nepal last year.” He further said that the target audience of the award show includes mobile innovators, application developers, government officials, start-ups, and telecom experts while there is no age bar for the competitors.

Lucky Tamang, project coordinator at Digital Empowerment, via e-mail, informed that the winners will receive a certificates, trophies and mementos. The award will be given to all the innovators for their grassroots technological innovations and its remarkable social impact. According to her, mBillionth’s recognition and scaling up has reached to more than 100 of the best practices collected in the last four years with 1,500 ideas across South Asia. The event has become an empowering initiative, which is why it is called an ecosystem of empowerment, practices, mentoring and cross exchange of ideas and platforms. Tamang said, during the award ceremony, the participants would also discuss the ways in which policy and institutional pace in their country can be expanded to accommodate their urge to break the status quo. The jury panel of mBillionth South Asia Award, which will be held on July 18, 2013 in New Delhi, will be a mix of telecom and market experts, entrepreneurs, mentors, journalists, and writers on Telecom Developments. Mobile Nepal, an initiative of YoungInnovations, has partnered with the infoDev, The World Bank, which is an active outreach partner of the mBillionth Award South Asia 2013. The award is presented by Digital Empowerment Foundation and Vodafone.

Targeting eight South Asian countries, mBillionth Award was begun in 2010 to recognise and promote mobile applications. It recognises and promotes mobile technologies for efficient governance, rural development and betterment of masses. The registration charges cost IRs 3,000 per person while the participants themselves have to bear the expenses of travelling, food and lodging.