36 startups & entrepreneurs enter final round of Powerful Answers Award judging for $1,000,000 prizes

Over 1,400 startups from around the world entered 2015 Powerful Answers Award Competition

Sep 24, 2015, 10:00 ET from Verizon

NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/-- Big ideas can come from anywhere. That belief is at the core of Verizon's Powerful Answers Award competition, and it has never held truer as over 1,400 startups and entrepreneurs from over 70 countries entered submissions in this year's contest.

Today, the company announced 36 Powerful Answers Award finalists in three technology categories -- Emergency Response, Transportation and Internet of Things – which have been selected to move on to the Powerful Answers Award Final Round. There are 12 finalists in each of the three categories and a top prize of $1 million is up for grabs in each category. One first runner-up and two second runner-ups in each category will receive $500,000 and $250,000 prizes respectively for a total of $6 million awarded by Verizon. Final presentations and judging will take place on September 29 and 30 at Verizon's San Francisco Innovation Center and its Santa Clara Development Center.

"The world is facing incredible challenges, but we believe that there are life-changing ideas out there that can provide answers," explained John Doherty, senior vice president of corporate development and Verizon Ventures. "Verizon wants to help find innovators who can leverage Verizon's products and technology to help solve those problems and help turn their visions into reality."

"This is a really exciting time for these founders and their world changing ideas," said Oded Ben Dov, 2014 Powerful Answers Award $1 million winner and CEO of Sesame Enable. "Having been in their shoes last year, I can assure them that this is a great time for them to reflect upon and further their mission."

The 36 finalists organized by category:

Emergency Response

A Lifeguard Drone (Plano, TX - http://www.safeatlas.com/)

Mission: To combat the difficulties of finding people at sea and in the ocean (e.g. or being carried out to sea via undercurrents), the company deploys a drone to search for missing individuals using a combination of pattern recognition and sound analysis along with the in-water person wearing a device that emits a location signal. The drone locates the individual and drops a flotation device.  Future versions of the drone would also include a below-water search capability similar to a submarine.

Bounce Imaging (Boston, MA - www.bounceimaging.com)

Mission: To help first responders achieve situation awareness, the company has developed a softball-sized robot that can be tossed into rooms, tunnels, and other spaces to quickly scan and provide omnidirectional panoramas/images, sensor data, and audio back to the first responders' tablets and smartphones.

Chromation – (New York, NY - www.chromationspec.com)

Mission: To help first responders work in areas with potentially dangerous substances. The company's solution is a low-cost mobile-connected analyzer system that can perform on-site measurements for medical diagnostics, hazardous material detection, and chemical sensing.  Chromation's spectral sensor is a low-cost component that brings spectrometer capabilities to handheld and wearable devices.

Disaster Mesh (San Francisco, CAwww.disastermesh.com )

Mission: To help establish communications capabilities at a disaster site, the company deploys a wireless mesh network comprised of small devices (i.e. "seeds"). The "seed" is shaped such that it can be deployed from the air via plane, helicopter, or drone, and they will gently float down to the ground. Disaster victims will then be able to connect to the established network, and for those that are buried in rubble, be identified based on location for priority rescue.

Emergency/Relief Response Broadband Access (Baton Rouge, LA)

Mission: To help establish communications capabilities at a disaster site, the company uses "white space" spectrum and combines it with existing and working sources of communications including cellular, Wi-Fi, wired, etc.  By leveraging software defined transceivers, they are able to bond multiple channels and provide that bandwidth to first responders and other users.

EmergenSee (Malvern, PA - www.EmergenSee.com)

Mission: To augment existing 911 infrastructure and support individuals in distress, the company leverages a user's smartphone or tablet into a personal security device by mass streaming audio, video, and location to first responders at the touch of a button.

Gempalocate (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Mission: To assist victims trapped in collapsed structures after an earthquake or other disaster, the company's app converts the user's smartphone into a beacon that search and rescuer personnel can locate and identify.

Lassie (Denver, CO)

Mission: To assist hikers that travel through remote areas with varying topology and within cellular network range, the company has developed a smart flare containing GPS and cellular components that allow users trapped within network dark spots due to topology. By launching the flare above a certain height, the user is able to send out a distress call along with location information.

RadioHound (Denver CO - www.emergencyresponseinnovations.com)

Mission: To assist the search and rescue of lost individuals in remote areas, the company has developed an unmanned aerial system (UAS) that can be deployed to search.  If the lost individuals are wearing clothing that has integrated a small and inexpensive diode, the UAS can identify lost individuals from a greater distance.

RedBox (Champagne, IL)

Mission: To augment existing 911 infrastructure and support individuals in distress, the company leverages a user's smartphone or tablet into a personal security device by mass streaming audio, video, and location to first responders at the touch of a button.

Triage Drone (Denver, CO)

Mission: To assist search and rescue efforts following a disaster event, the company has developed a drone that is able to travel over areas of destruction, monitor cellular signals being emitted from cellular phones, and mark those locations. This process creates a map of potential victims that are buried under rubble.

K9 Stats (Logan, UT)

Mission: To assist search and rescue efforts, the company has developed a wearable device collar for dogs, which are able to cover ground up to 50 times faster than a human due to heightened senses. The collar allows the handler to monitor the dog's locations and health from a distance, and communicate with the dog directly.

Internet of Things

Aegle Arc (Baltimore, MD)

Mission: To help monitor the senior and elderly, the company has developed a wearable pendant device that is equipped with 4G LTE and sensors that monitor ECG, respiration rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature. Additionally, the person's location and movement is also monitored. Should sensor data indicate that the person being monitored is experiencing a medical condition or has moved outside of a predefined geo-fence, the appropriate individuals can be contacted.

Aira.io (San Diego, CA - www.aira.io)

Mission: To assist the blind with their daily lives, the company has developed a service that integrates smart glasses with the user's smart phone such that a virtual personal assistant can help them with tasks using the assistant's vision.  Examples include navigating busy streets or reading a restaurant's menu.  The service integrates and pulls relevant information from various online sources to support the assistant in aiding the blind customer.

Chipsafer (Montevideo, Uruguay - http://ieetech.com/)

Mission: To help farmers monitor their herds of animals such as cattle for higher yield, the company has developed a wearable device that monitors animals' behavior remotely, autonomously and in real-time. Using analytics, the farmer can determine if an animal is sick, injured, or lost, and subsequently take remedial action.

CityTaps (Ile-de-France - www.citytaps.org)

Mission: To assist water utilities in collecting payment for water usage and consumers to pay for water, the company has developed a connected control-metering device that connects to the water tap. This allows users to make micropayments for incremental usage of water and guarantees the utility will receive payment for the water used.

Flux (New York, NY - www.fluxiot.com)

Mission: To assist consumers in growing food at home, especially those that live in cities, the company has developed a connected device that monitors the growth of vegetables in a hydroponic environment and determines the optimal growing recipe. Future products will automate the process including lighting and nutrients such that the would-be farmer would not need to directly intervene.

FarmLink (Kansas City, MO - www.farmlink.com)

Mission: To assist farmers in improving their crop yields, the company leverages data gathered from farms nationwide and around the world to provide actionable insights on what farmers should do with their specific farming environment. Their data is gathered using a fleet of 200 connected combines taking 150 square-foot snapshots every second.

FarmX (Irvine, CA - www.farm-x.com/ )

Mission: To assist farmers in improving their crop yields and lowering their water costs, the company combines low cost sensors and high altitude aerial imagery to collect real-time crop data.  This data is then used to drive decisions on watering in specific locations.

Owlet (Provo, UT  -  https://www.owletcare.com/)

Mission: To alert parents when their baby stops breathing. Using pulse oximetry—the same technology used in hospitals—the monitor tracks heart rate and oxygen levels. The company's big vision is to create the largest infant health data set the world has ever seen and connect the hospital to the home via smart hardware.

Smart Barn (Kettering, OH - www.smart-barn.net)

Mission: To assist farmers with the operation of their farms and monitoring of livestock, the company has developed a series of wirelessly connected equipment to monitor and control the environment condition of their facilities.

Smart Glasses (London, UK - www.givevision.net)

Mission: To assist the blind in their homes, the company has developed smart glasses that allow the user to be able to live comfortably within their own home.  The user can connect to and operate other smart devices in their home using hand and head gestures.  And the user can navigate their home, and potentially other public buildings (e.g. airports, train stations).

Tissue Analytics (Baltimore, MD - https://www.tissue-analytics.com/)

Mission: To assist individuals who have a wound, the company has developed a smart phone app that allows the injured individual to send photos and video of the wound to a central network of doctors.  Combined with a cloud-based analytics platform, the doctors are able to assess the wound remotely and provide recommendations for treatment.

Zizmos Technology (Palo Alto, CA - www.zizmos.com)

Mission: To assist cities in detecting earthquakes or other seismic activity in advance of actually occurring, the company uses inexpensive MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Sensor) accelerometers attached to used or recycled smart phones that are connected to the Internet to create a low-cost seismic network that monitors earthquake hazards and provides real-time notifications of impending tremors to residents in high-risk areas for a fractional cost of the traditional seismic network.

Transportation

Barachic First Mile (Abidjan, Ivory Coast - www.barachic.com/firstmile)

Mission: To assist businesses and consumers in developing countries that require the transport of small cargo in short distances, the company has developed an app-based motorbike cargo delivery service.  Through the use of a smart phone app, owners of small cargo motorbikes can deliver cargo across short distances and be paid through micro-payments.

Foodif – Distribution and Logistics (Santiago, Chile - www.foodif.com)

Mission: To assist in the distribution of food, the company has developed a platform that allows farmers and neighborhoods to sell and buy produce, respectively, on an on-demand basis.  By collecting data on supply and demand, the service is better able to allocate food distribution in an equitable manner.

iHelmet (Kadawatha, Sri Lanka - http://www.ganindu100.wix.com/ihelmet)

Mission: To assist motorcycle operators as they travel roads, the company has developed a smart helmet that utilizes a combination of sensors, cameras, and connectivity.  Whether it's providing navigation or warning about impending collisions, the motorcycle operator has a set of safety and convenience features that are normally found in sedans.

GoShare (San Diego, CA - www.goshare.co )

Mission: To assist people in need of transporting cargo, the company has developed an app-based cargo truck delivery service.  With a few taps on the smart phone app, a user can have a truck arrive at their door within minutes.

i4drive (Tel Aviv, Israel - www.i4drive.com)

Mission: To assist car drivers, the company has developed a platform that turns any car into a connected car through the use of a smart phone.  Using a combination of hardware, software, deep learning algorithms, and cloud services, the platform delivers advanced computer vision to provide features for driver safety, assistance, and convenience.

Telepresence Robotics (Mountain View, CA - www.telepresencerobotics.com)

Mission: To assist the delivery of goods over the "last mile", the company has developed a "robot-as-a-service" model that combines a physical robot, cameras, cellular connectivity, and programmable intelligence in the cloud.  The robot is designed for sidewalk travel and can self-navigate based on a pre-determined route.

Orbita Line (Vostra Gotaland, Sweden - http://www.orbitaline.com )

Mission: To improve the efficiency of public bus transportation, the company has developed a platform that optimizes the flow of buses along a route based on demand.  By monitoring the number of passengers waiting at each bus stop, the transportation company can dispatch buses on an un-scheduled basis and even route buses in different paths in order to optimize the flow of passengers.

Pogo (Seattle, WA - www.pogorides.com)

Mission: To assist parents in the transport of their children to school, the company has developed a ride-sharing platform that allows users to create private carpool networks in partnership with schools.  Parents can request rides, offer rides, and communicate with other riders and parents to coordinate transportation needs.

Road Rules (San Francisco, CA - http://roadrules.co/)

Mission: To assist drivers and prevent distracted driving, the company has developed a platform that automates tasks while the vehicle is in operation. Leveraging context and rules along with data from the user's smartphone and optionally OBDII dongle APIs, car manufacturer APIs, etc., the platform is able to make timely actions such as automatically responding to a text message from one's spouse enquiring on when they will arrive by providing location and estimated time to arrival.

Swiftmile (San Mateo, CA - www.swiftmile.com)

Mission: To reduce urban congestion, the company has developed smart charging racks for use with light electric vehicles (LEVs).  Similar to a number of cities' public bike programs, users are able to borrow a LEV and travel faster and further than they could with a bike.

Firefly RFID (Sanford, NC - www.fireflyrfid.com)

Mission: To help shippers track assets and shipments around the world, the company has developed a small cellular M2M module that includes GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth and can be deployed in shipping containers and other cargo holds.  Combined with an integrated platform that manages and analyzes the integrity, security, and movement of the cargo, the shipper is able to monitor their shipments in real-time.

Voyage Control (New York, NY - https://voyagecontrol.com)

Mission: To address the growing costs of congestion, the company provides an enterprise resource planning solution to minimize time queuing and reduce freight-delivery vehicles on the road.  Combining sophisticated algorithms, a scheduling system for logistics hubs, and a transaction-based marketplace to buy and sell shipping capacity, customers are better able to optimize their shipments and drive efficiencies in cost and output.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, employs a diverse workforce of 178,500 and generated more than $127 billion in 2014 revenues. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with 109.5 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide. For more information, visit www.verizon.com/news/.

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SOURCE Verizon



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