App showing crowd figures at mosques wins contest

Developers seek to help devotees plan visits, encourage more Muslims to go to mosques

About 2500 Muslim congregants performing evening prayers at Al-Mukminin Mosque on June 17, 2015.
About 2500 Muslim congregants performing evening prayers at Al-Mukminin Mosque on June 17, 2015.ST PHOTO: KEVIN CP LIM

Singapore's mosques can become congested at certain times of the day - especially on public holidays when people gather to pray.

Over the weekend, three budding developers came up with a way to solve this problem - a mobile app that indicates how crowded the 69 mosques are at any time, allowing worshippers to decide which mosques or prayer times to attend.

Go Mosque SG also allows Muslims to chalk up points for going to mosques and attending prayer sessions on time. Mr Tengku Muhammad Hafidzuddin developed the app with Mr Muhammad Hadziq Sulaiman, a second-year computer science student at Nanyang Technological University, and Mr Muhammad Syafiq Hanafee, a third-year information security student in Nanyang Polytechnic.

It won the inaugural Mosque Tech Challenge yesterday. The trio won $300 in cash and a $150 voucher for IT retailer Challenger. They also received $12,000 worth of credits from IBM Bluemix, a cloud platform for building, running, and managing applications.

Mr Tengku, 22, who is entering the National University of Singapore this year to study information systems, said: "We want to encourage more Muslims to go to the mosques. The app allows them to compare points with friends... The points are just a gamification element, to motivate people. They can't be traded in for anything."

The challenge involved 15 participants between the ages of 20 and 35 forming four teams to compete against one another to develop

mobile apps or desktop programs to solve problems for their community. Their projects included a crowdfunding platform and a website for volunteers to sign up for events at mosques. The "hackathon", held at An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan, was organised by Mendaki Club in collaboration with and the Central North Mosque Cluster.

The event's other partners were EchoedLabs, a team of programmers, non-profit society Majulah Community and IT shop 12 Geeks.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, presented awards to the teams. He said: "We need such initiatives by young people, people from the private sector, to pool their resources and expertise to develop apps."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2015, with the headline 'App showing crowd figures at mosques wins contest'. Print Edition | Subscribe