Last year at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Verizon announced its Powerful Answers brand campaign and followed with the launch of its Powerful Answers Awards. The latter casts a spotlight on how Verizon is teaming up with others to find powerful answers to the world’s toughest challenges in three focus areas – sustainability, healthcare and education. The winners were selected by panels of judges with expertise in each area. On January 8, 2014, Verizon revealed the winners and announced $10 million in cash prizes.
The top five winners in the sustainability category are:
Bandwagon – Bandwagon takes advantage of the growing popularity of collaborative consumption, which is the coordinated, shared use of resources, and applies it to taxi-sharing software for mobile and Web apps. Currently in New York City, hundreds of thousands of taxi trips each day carry with them empty, usable, monetizable seats, and fuel is wasted getting one passenger to their destination when three passengers could have shared portions of the trip. Using a sophisticated back-end server, Bandwagon optimizes, matches and prices rides in real-time as taxis are requested through mobile and Web interfaces, with a focus on providing service at major transportation hubs where long lines for taxis are found.
Good360 – The Givingplace: Disaster Relief Portal from Good360 takes a holistic view of a community’s recovery from disaster by recognizing that it is a long-term process rather than a problem that can be solved in a matter of days, weeks or months. Through the development and launch of a cutting-edge e-commerce and crowd-funding technology, Good360 will implement a portal that utilizes Google Earth to highlight disasters around the world, assist nonprofits working in disaster areas with submitting product needs, and enable donors – corporations and micro-philanthropists – to fulfill these critical needs at the appropriate times. Good360 will use its existing logistical capabilities to deliver goods to designated nonprofits working to get affected communities back up and running.
Mosaic/Abundant Clean Energy By and For the People – Companies that provide mobile-based, pay-as-you-go models for solar power are expanding because they remove the major obstacle for poor people to go solar: the upfront cost. Mosaic is the first online platform for individuals to invest in clean energy projects. After lending more than $4 million to solar projects across the United States, Mosaic plans to take its model to a global level and offer crowd-funded investment to the developing world. These plans are possible because of SMS and mobile banking technology. Mosaic’s international lending program, with an accompanying mobile app, will help finance the transition from kerosene lamps, diesel generators and unsustainably harvested wood directly to clean, renewable power.
Semios – Semiochemicals, also known as pheromones, have been used for more than 25 years in limited areas to manage pests. To enable the much wider adoption of this safe, sustainable means of pest control, SemiosBIO has developed an automated pest management system that integrates pheromone dispensers with camera-enabled pest traps, all connected wirelessly across fields and centrally managed from any online device. The system will deliver a cost-effective, sustainable alternative to pesticides that will offer tremendous applications the world over.
Smartster (Big Belly Solar) – Managing waste is usually not a customer’s core focus, and few business and building operators have the time or inclination to actively monitor waste management activity to adjust their dumpster sizes and collection frequency. Customers are typically at the mercy of their hauling contractors who get paid per pick-up, and who may not always provide the most efficient service. Smartster solves the waste management problem by marrying sensor technology with wireless connectivity to remotely monitor dumpster fullness and collection activity. This solution will introduce needed transparency, accountability and efficiency to a $13 billion industry.
For more information on Verizon’s other Powerful Answers Award winners, click here.