In recent years, a wave of millennials in Vietnam have joined forces to build the country’s digital ecosystem from the ground up.
During Hanoi’s mandated COVID-19 social distancing periods, many people had spent time experiencing iMuseum VFA, an application that allows users to find information about artwork displayed and stored at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in the capital city.
Launched in April 2021, the application enables users to virtually check out 100 artworks on display at the museum, as well as collections highlighting national treasures, Vietnamese women, Hanoi in the past, and many more.
iMuseum VFA does not just allow art enthusiasts to ‘visit’ the museum from a distance, it also permits visitors to scan QR codes or input serial numbers that take them to webpages where they can learn a great deal about each piece.
“This is the first multimedia application which supports visitors to the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in up to eight languages,” iMuseum VFA’s project manager Cai Thai Hoang Uyen said.
“With it, people from around the world can access our cultural heritage more easily.”
|A visitor accesses iMuseum VFA, an application that supports users to find information about artworks displayed and stored at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam in this supplied photo.|
French visitor Jay Gottlieb expressed his delight in touring the museum using the application. He said it reminded him of a similar application used by the famous Louvre Museum in Paris.
Jay Gottlieb, an aficionado of Vietnam’s fine arts, said he was unable to source much information when visiting the museum previously.
“However, with the [iMuseum VFA] application’s language support, I can learn the stories behind the art," he said.
"It makes Vietnamese fine arts much more attractive to me.
“I’ll definitely recommend this to my friends.”
iMuseum VFA’s project manager Uyen and her partners came up with the idea of digitizing the museum after attending a painting exhibition held by the Da Nang Fine Arts Museum in the central city of Da Nang in 2018.
“I was surprised to learn about Vietnam's amazing cultural heritage [at the event] but it seemed that many people could not access relevant information,” 28-year-old Uyen explained.
“As a young person who loves Vietnamese culture and has the opportunity to master technology, I felt that I needed to do something to bring the Vietnamese culture to the world.”
It took Uyen and her team more than 160 trial versions to finalize the app.
She shared that the project involved understating each art piece’s artistic value, as well as the limitations of on-site visits, in order to ensure a proper digital transformation.
The transition from in-person to online visits must really explore the best ways to bring the artworks to visitors, from building appropriate and useful features to having a user-friendly interface.
The COVID-19 lever
Necessity is the mother of invention. During the pandemic, many Vietnamese entrepreneurs have tried to leverage any opportunities they could find.
Nguyen Ha San, the founder of MindX Technology School, a technology training center for kids and adults in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, said that the institute having to switch to online teaching due to COVID-19 has brought the school more chances to reach out to learners in other provinces and cities.
Now, a quarter of MindX Technology School’s students are from Hai Phong, Binh Duong, Thanh Hoa, Ha Giang, Yen Bai, and even from abroad.
Thanks to online lessons, the school is also able to invite instructors who are engineers working at some of the world’s top businesses, like Google.
“Online studying is not something very familiar to learners, their parents, and even the school, so we all had to learn and adapt,” 28-year-old San said.
“However, it turned out that young learners are able to adapt much faster than adults.
“In fact, most of the children who learn using our online platform are still able to achieve the results as they did when they were learning offline.
“They were born and grew up in the digital era, so they are ‘digital natives,’ not ‘digital immigrants’ like adults."
|A young boy in Ho Chi Minh City is studying with MindX Technology School on his laptop in this supplied photo.|
Meanwhile, Ngo Anh Tuan, founder of BoardgameVN, one of the biggest board game brands in Vietnam, said the pandemic has forced his business to be more assertive with plans that it had hesitated with before.
Digital transformation is a must in order to survive and develop in the industry, as it has brought Tuan’s business to newer, less competitive markets, according to the 32-year-old.
One of BoardgameVN’s biggest hits is 'Lop Hoc Mat Ngu: Show Your Star,' an animated series adapted from the best-selling comic series 'Lop Hoc Mat Ngu' and broadcast on YouTube for free since December 2020.
According to Tuan, it is not something very big but his team was so proud because with 'Lop Hoc Mat Ngu,' they digitally transformed fans’ experience into an animated series which allowed viewers to ‘meet’ their beloved characters in a more realistic setting.
|A supplied poster of BoardgameVN’s ‘Lop Hoc Mat Ngu: Show Your Star’ adapted from ‘Lop Hoc Mat Ngu’ comic series|