Young developers urged to incorporate VR technology to complement Sarawak’s digital economy

Abang Johari (third right) trying out the Kuching VR app after launching it at Swinburne University Sarawak, Kuching while Wilson (third left) and other state dignitaries look on.

KUCHING, Jan 29: With the aspiration of transforming Sarawak’s economy into a digital economy, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg encourages graduates majoring in software and information technology (IT) development to delve into Virtual Reality (VR) technology to help enrich the state’s economy.

He added that this does not mean developers or IT graduates should only create content just for the state’s administration, but they could also make use of the VR technology to develop games and interactive content that would complement the state’s digital economy.

“Swinburne University can play its part to give value to our existing resources. I hope this VR technology can be a precedence for other young graduates to produce other applications such as games,” Abang Johari said during the launching of Kuching VR at Swinburne University Sarawak here today.

Kuching VR is an interactive 360-degree mobile VR app developed by a group of Swinburne University Sarawak alumni who established a company called Trifold Enterprise.

The app features some of Kuching’s major tourist attractions including the university’s campus itself, and can be downloaded for Android phones from Google Play Store. The iOS version will be launched at a later date on Apple’s App Store.

Wilson (right)​ presents a memento to Abang Johari after the latter launched the Kuching VR mobile app at Swinburne University Sarawak, Kuching.

“When I was in Busan (in South Korea) recently, I went to a convention attended by gamers and game developers. I looked around and it was all participated by young people, the oldest being in their early 30s. I was the oldest person there I presume, but I am still young at heart and I am very interested in this kind of things.

“I discovered that these gamers and game developers earn very high income, and we know that South Korea is among the world’s leading game developers and some of the best in e-sports.

“This means that these technologies can drive the economy, and even transform our dreams into reality,” added Abang Johari.

He hoped that Swinburne University would be able to produce more young developers to help boost the state’s digital economy by developing interactive content for games as well as using VR technology to develop apps and content for the tourism sector.

Abang Johari said the state government will work hard and play its role to provide the latest resources and infrastructure such as high-speed Internet which is currently on the way, while students, developers and young aspiring IT graduates equip themselves.

“I am fully supportive of this effort. For Kuching VR, I hope Trifold Enterprise can further enhance their app to include more places in Kuching and even the whole of Sarawak,” he said.

Abang Johari (fifth left) and Wilson (sixth right) during a photo op with other state dignitaries after launching the Kuching VR app at Swinburne University Sarawak.​

Meanwhile, Swinburne Sarawak chief executive officer and deputy vice-chancellor Prof John Wilson said the University has an expert faculty, the tools and the graduates to showcase its capabilities in the high demand IT industry.

He said the launching of Kuching VR showcased Swinburne’s expertise in the field of Extended Reality (XR) — an umbrella term encapsulating Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and everything in between.

“So it is no surprise that many global companies like Shell and Microsoft engage our faculty and students. It is our view that in the future we will interact with the virtual and real world in a seamless manner as depicted in some Hollywood movies today.

“This new modality of human and machine interaction will pave the way for new and exciting experiences thus requiring graduates skilled in the creation of XR content,” he said. — DayakDaily