By Azhar Masood
NAVTEQ has announced during an awards ceremony at CTIA WIRELESS 2008 that Ten 23 is the Grand Prize Winner of this year’s NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge — Americas. As the Grand Prize Winner, Ten 23 received a prize package valued at $525,000, including $50,000 in cash, $225,000 in NAVTEQ data licenses and up to $250,000 in sponsor-donated licenses. Ten 23’s solution, SpotJots, is a location-based social blogging application that allows users to a upload their stories, reviews, pictures, video, audio and documents to their personal SpotJots blog, where the content can be associated with relevant location information and shared with others.
Three runners-up were also announced: First Runner-up, Mediated Spaces; Second Runner-up, HeyWhatsThat; and Third Runner-up, America’s Emergency Network. Each runner-up received $10,000 in cash along with data licenses valued at $400,000.
Mediated Spaces’ solution, The WildLab, enables citizen scientists such as birdwatchers to collect real-time information such as location, time and the species sighted on their mobile devices. HeyWhatsThat’s solution, HeyWhatsThat, provides detailed information about the mountains and peaks around the user such as mountain names, elevations, contours and viewsheds — all through the user’s mobile device.
America’s Emergency Network’s solution, AEN Mobile, alerts users about natural or man made disasters within range of their devices by tapping into the AEN Central Database of emergency bulletins. The annual Global LBS Challenge, which has established a reputation as the premier event in the location-based services (LBS) industry, challenges developers to build innovative location-enabled applications that work with mobile phones and/or wireless hand held devices using dynamic positioning technology and NAVTEQ map data.
Participants compete for a global prize pool of cash, licenses and services from NAVTEQ and sponsors of the event, with this year’s prize pool the largest to date, valued at over $4.5 million (US).
This is the fifth year of the Global LBS Challenge which now conducts programs in three regions: The Americas, Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC). Developers are offered five categories in which to submit their applications: Content, Enterprise, Entertainment, Navigation and Social Networking. Contestants are judged by an elite panel of judges comprised of major wireless carriers, industry experts and venture capitalists.
Fifteen semifinalists were selected to advance to the final judging for the Global LBS Challenge – Americas. The semifinalists represented a broad spectrum of wireless applications and were selected based on commercial feasibility, functionality, ease of use and design. The final judging panel, which included executives from Alltel, AT and T, Autodesk, Best Buy, Handango, Nokia, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telecom Council of Silicon Valley, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless, based its decisions on the same key criteria.
Nokia returned as a three-time Global Sponsor of this year’s contest, with the Nokia N95 serving as the Official Device of the 2008 Global LBS Challenge. Autodesk also returned as a multi-year sponsor and as a Global Sponsor for the first time. Joining them were deCarta and ESRI as Platinum Sponsors, SiRF and WHERE as Gold Sponsors, and GPS World as Media Sponsor.
“Nokia is proud to once again sponsor this important global program and supports NAVTEQ in its commitment to encourage the development and emergence of cutting-edge location-aware solutions,” said Rick Witham, Americas Business Development Manager, Forum Nokia. “The Global LBS Challenge creates an outlet for the developer community to gain unique industry access and exposure, and its success can be seen in the exceptional applications of this year’s semifinalists.”
“The Global LBS Challenge provides a showcase for developers to demonstrate their latest innovations to leading mobile operators,” commented Joe Astroth, executive vice president, Autodesk Locations Services. “As a leading solution and platform provider to both mobile operators and LBS application developers, Autodesk is pleased to support a program that helps to bring profitable, ground-breaking location-based services to market.”
“We are currently participating in an exciting evolution of location-based solutions, and the Global LBS Challenge continues to fuel its momentum,” commented Jeff Mize, executive vice president, sales, NAVTEQ.
“This year’s program demonstrated that the potential for innovative and sophisticated location-based content is virtually limitless. NAVTEQ congratulates all of the winners of the 2008 Global LBS Challenge and eagerly anticipates the next wave of location-based applications.” The 2008 Global LBS Challenge campaign will conclude this June at the awards ceremony for the APAC region at CommunicAsia in Singapore.
with Additional output from US Defence Department