A sneak preview at Communications, Media and High Tech nominees for the Accenture Innovation Awards

A sneak preview at Communications, Media and High Tech nominees for the Accenture Innovation Awards

This year, Accenture has asked me once again to contribute to their yearly innovation competition, the Accenture Innovation Awards in the Netherlands.

I have been involved with the Communications, Media and Technology category of these awards for some years, and it’s inspiring to see the latest developments and innovations in the Dutch market. The number of contributions increases each year and the quality of the concepts keeps improving as well. With past winners like Myngle, Layar and TenPages.com, the AIA has proven its value as a platform for cutting edge innovation in this industry.

Each year they strive to develop a categorization of all the concepts in this industry that enables fair competition and clear industry trends. As I am part of the jury, I can give a sneak peak of the categories in which the concepts will go head to head, as well as some interesting contestants for the “Blue Tulip” award for the winner in each category.

Based on the 580(!) concepts that entered this year the following five categories were formed:

Best Information Concept

Information concepts represent new, innovative ways to provide and present information to their users. Two excellent examples are Qiy and Skylines.

Qiy allows users to create a “digital home” where they can store personal information, as well as information about any company or organization they’re interested in. The app allows you to store your identity and makes it easier to maintain personal relationships as a consumer, employee, civilian, or anything else. Qiy allows you to take back control over your private information.

Skylines is an intelligent picture indexing tool that allows you to quickly find pictures of interest. Pictures are a vital way of information and communication in social media, but how do you find the ones that really interest you?

Skylines aggregates data from sources like Instragram, Yfrog and Twitpic and indexes more than a million pictures per day, ranking them using a unique algorhitm. It’s accessible via its website and apps on Android and iPhone. In the near future, a widget and public API will be announced. Skylines’ quality was recently acknowledged by Vodafone as it won the Dutch Vodafone Clicks finale.

Best (E)-Commerce Concept

The best (E)-commerce category includes concepts that facilitate business and commerce, be it B2B or B2C; Including some great concepts like Cleeng and Roamler.

Cleeng is based on a belief in simplicity and freedom of choice for users interested in quality content. The big idea behind Cleeng is to simplify access to hundreds of publications by offering a one-click, pay-as-you-go solution to online consumers with a single account. Anybody surfing the web will be able to first preview the content that is protected behind a Cleeng layer on the publisher web site and then buy the article, video or image they are interested in with a single click.

Once purchased, the content is stocked in a personal library on Cleeng.com and will be accessible from any web-enabled devices. A great way to offer consumers more than the usual no-preview, take-it-or-leave-it buying proposition.

Roamler is a unique mobile workforce aggregator that uses ‘Roamlers’ to do a wide variety of assignments anywhere. Roamlers are people who use their iPhones to make money and earn points.

Companies can put out any assignment (e.g., user ratings of products, or inventory measurements) to the Roamlers, who will receive rewards for each completed task. Roamlers will see the complexity of assignments increase with each succesfull completion, adding a game element to the experience.

Best Entertainment Concept

The entertainment category traditionally houses concepts from the music, video and games industries; a strong category with some very interesting new twists.

Espionage on the Frontline is a location based iPhone game for the Dutch cities Muiden, Naarden and Weesp. In 1908, Europe is on the verge of war as the Dutch try to maintain their neutrality and rely on the “Hollandse Waterlinie” (the Dutch defense works) for protection. However, there are rumours of espionage that, if true, are threatening the existence of the country.

The app offers the you a tour through the city, allowing you to solve puzzles, track spies and receive tips to help solve the mystery. In the meantime, you will also receive a wealth of tourist information on the cities involved. Espionage on the frontline is a great example of ‘old meets new’ where GPS, augmented reality and the accelerometer enable the user to work out the mystery in the genuine atmosphere of Holland in 1908.

Another promising concept is the universal 360 Video player for iPhone and iPad developed by XS2TheWold. The concept offers a fully immersive, 360-degree experience right on your iPhone or iPad. You can do anything anywhere and be right in the action because XS2theworld is helping to make 360 degree, immersive video apps a reality for brands and anyone else who needs to recreate entire worlds on the iPhone or iPad. The device itself can be rotated or swiped with your fingers to change the angle of the view. Check out the sample they made for Porsche here.

Best Communication Concept

This category boasts the latest in interactive communication. With the distinction between the virtual and real world fading, these concepts can prove their worth in offering the best of both.

Repudo offers you the possibility to place and use virtual objects in the real world. You can leave a picture for someone near, say, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and only right there they will be able to view it. As soon as a Repudo is picked up, it will not show on the map anymore and will be accessible only by the person that unlocked it – a nice concept that transforms the world into one big treasure map with messages from others.

Letmelinkyou maneuvers in the same ‘virtual/real’ grey area and recognizes the increasing value of social media. It claims to have the perfect solution for the ever growing network that you are part of. You can load your entire network in the app that will instantly allow you to connect your contacts from anywhere to anywhere – from Twitter to Facebook and from LinkedIn to your phone. You can show the value of your network by doing this, earning benefits for every link and being able to share them with your network.

Best New Technology Concept

TrackandProtect (TnP) is a Web and SMS based remote security service for smartphones with a number of unique functions and has almost reached 3 million users. TnP has three earning models, as it supplies services to three groups. For end-users, TnP is a tool to keep your data safe and it enables you to find data even after SIM changes. Operators can get a TnP OEM technology license and the third model is as embedded firmware for manufacturers. TnP has already received some recognition from the Webby Awards.

Qubulus found a great way to enable location based services in buildings (where your GPS is useless). By using already existing radio signals, Qubulus can accurately determine your horizontal and vertical coordinates. The Qubulus Positioning System (QPS) has already been included in various products from LocLizard, for example, as a tool to help flex workers find each other at a specific location in a building.

These concepts are all promising contestants for the prize in their category, but as more and more concepts are entered, competition is bound to be fierce and it will be a challenge for the jury to pick their top five, let alone a winner. The public will get a vote as well, starting October 1st.

For more information about the awards, visit www.innovation-awards.nl. You’ll be able to register to attend the ceremony from 15 September.

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