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strictly business



MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

The amazing app man Kevin McQuillan reports on Shadrach Jaungere, the struggling university student who has found his niche in creating apps.

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hadrach Jaungere is on a roll. Despite a long and abiding interest in computer programming, he struggled through his university work and it wasn’t until he created his first app, two years ago, that he got the bug. The mobile phone app bug, that is. And now he’s working on his 35th. “It’s amazing that when I was learning coding at university, I didn’t do so well. Twice, I failed my programming units, even though I always had an interest in programming. I found it fascinating.

I am motivated by the possibilities that smartphones have for people. Smartphones have greatly empowered people.

“And I’ve always had a curiosity about mechanical things. “When I was young, I used to love visiting dump sites to collect old discarded electronic appliances. I used to remove

Shadrach Jaungere … working on an app that he says will rival WhatsApp and is designed especially for remote PNG communities.

their electrical parts and then re-assemble them to create new electronic devices,” he says. Born in 1984 in Morobe Province, he went to school in Lae, finishing his high school years at Bumayong Lutheran Secondary School. He enrolled at the University of PNG in 2004, where a lack of motivation meant he had to repeat his third year of a bachelor of science degree. “I finally completed fourth year and graduated in 2010.’’ Jaungere joined Telikom in 2013 after teaching computer programming as a part-time support tutor.   And that’s when his abilities came to the fore. He was given the job to develop a new app for Telikom customers, which would allow users to log in and check their accounts, top up credit, and purchase bundles.

122 Paradise – Air Niugini’s in-flight magazine

It was the first android app created by Telikom PNG’s ICT division. “What was unique about this app was that it was designed to accommodate Tok Pisin users. So customers could choose to run the app in either Tok Pisin or English. It was very successful.” Since then, Jaungere has developed 20 fully completed apps, 10 in research and development, and five that are still unpublished. Ten of the apps are used by Telikom staff in-house. His work on developing a mobile phone-based business directory app and related apps that support ecommerce and b2b trade saw him make the finals of the Kumul Gamechangers competition last year. “It’s called ‘LookMeUp’, which will allow visitors and locals to contact businesses, service providers and suppliers directly. “And it will have a social media

interface so people can chat and share information as well.” Another app – again still in the developmental phase – will have huge benefits for people living in remote areas of PNG. “It’s a chat platform and will be a real competitor to WhatsApp, but it will have a specific usage in PNG: disaster control and information. “One problem we are trying to solve is to quickly notify people whenever there is a disaster pending. We cannot do that with any existing platform because of the costs involved. It will be free, because we are using the internet as the way to transmit the alerts.” Jaungere is also developing three ‘anti-corruption’ apps for Transparency International. “There will actually be three apps for use in schools, and they’ll teach people about PNG, ethics and corruption.” Jaungere is motivated by a desire to give something back. “And I don’t give up easily,” he says. “Professionally, I am motivated by the possibilities that smartphones have for people. Smartphones have greatly empowered people. “The potential of mobile phones and social media is huge. The smartphone user rate is going up all the time in PNG. Rate of communication and getting information across to the masses is faster and that’s where the opportunities lie.” n

Paradise: the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, July/August 2016  

The July/August 2016 Issue (Vol 4, 2016) of 'Paradise' magazine, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Gu...

Paradise: the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, July/August 2016  

The July/August 2016 Issue (Vol 4, 2016) of 'Paradise' magazine, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Gu...