Do you have a great idea that can change the world? If so, Verizon may be able to help turn your vision into an actual product and make the world a better place. Verizon has two ways to help you both develop your idea and bring it to market: the Powerful Answers Award and the Verizon Innovation Program.
Find out how each of these can help you turn your dreams into reality. Also be sure to read below for my Q & A with Craig Jackowski, Verizon Innovation Program Manager, to get additional insights into these programs and see examples of innovations that truly have changed lives around the world.
Verizon Powerful Answers Award
If you have an idea for an invention that can have an impact on the world, you should check out Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award that’s enlisting inventors to make a difference. Your idea could be the winner, earning you up to $1 million and the chance to turn your great idea into a reality.
Verizon’s Powerful Answers Awards program is designed to help inventors who want to make the world a better place bring their ideas into reality. The program is free to enter and will be awarding a total of $6 million to the winners for the best ideas in three categories:
Transportation — How can technology find better, more efficient ways to reduce the complexities of transport & distribution in the physical world?
- Smarter Driving
- Public Transport & Sharing
- Logistics and Distribution
Emergency Response — Emergencies and disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. How can new technologies help expedite response times and situational awareness to locate and help those impacted by emergency and disaster situations more efficiently to help save and improve lives?
- First Responders
- Search & Rescue
- Long Term Relief
Internet of Things — Technology now connects the world like never before. How can using the technology behind the Internet of Things (IOT) enable more intelligent actions on the largest possible scale and with the greatest possible impact?
- Connected Health
- Smart Cities
- Smart Agriculture
This video gives you more information and inspiration about how you can enter the Powerful Answers Awards program:
How to Enter Verizon Powerful Answers Award
You can enter your idea and get more information at the Verizon Powerful Answers Award website. Entries are accepted now through June 18, 2015.
- First place winners in each category will win $1 million.
- Second place winners in each category will receive $500,000.
- Third place winners (two per category) will get $250,000.
Matternet 2014 Winner of Powerful Answers Awards
Matternet, a 2014 winner of the Powerful Answer Awards, brought its idea to market within two months of winning the award. The company had the idea of using drone aircraft to bring pharmaceutical products to remote locations difficult to reach by conventional transportation methods.
Check out the video at the Forbes website that shows you how Matternet is changing the world with its idea.
If you have a great idea to change the world that doesn’t fit within the Powerful Answers Award criteria, Verizon still may be able to help you turn that idea into a reality. Verizon Innovation has an on-going program that helps inventors bring their ideas to market.
Verizon Innovation provides inventors with labs, materials, experts and technology to help develop ideas and bring them to market. I recently attended a program put on by Verizon Innovation and met with Craig Jackowski, Verizon Innovation Program Manager, who shared an impressive presentation about how Verizon Innovation has produced ground-breaking products that are changing lives.
Jackowski answered my questions about Verizon Innovation:
Q & A
1. Could you tell me about the Verizon Innovation program?
Jackowski: The Verizon Innovation Program helps innovators bring their tech solution to life. The Innovation Program launched in 2011 with the opening of the Verizon Innovation Center in Waltham, MA and has since grown with the addition of our Innovation Center in San Francisco, CA. As an Internet of Things (IoT) leader, the program’s primary objective is to support partners in the development of non-traditional solutions that have the potential to disrupt industries and improve customers’ lives.
The program currently provides product and business development at no cost to a robust ecosystem of more than 400 partners, ranging from start-ups such as HealthID and WI-MM, to some of the largest industry veterans including Qualcomm, Cisco, and CradlePoint. Intellectual property (IP) is owned by the partner, and the only contract signed with Verizon is a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA).
Verizon Innovation Centers are advanced, high-tech facilities equipped with technical resources, 4G LTE connectivity and our unequalled wireless expertise. We provide (free of charge):
• Concept Validation
• Product Design & Development Services
• Product Strategy
• Distribution Channels
• Ecosystem Development
• GTM Launch
Partners have access to our world-class innovation labs as well as dedicated personal support from Verizon’s talented engineers. In addition, partner products and solutions are displayed and demonstrated in both centers for customers and prospects.
2. Tell me about some successful products that have been developed through the Verizon Innovation program.
Jackowski: To date, the Verizon Innovation Program has supported the commercialization of more than 110 products. A list can be found here: List of Verizon Innovation products. Some of the most innovative and impactful solutions include:
• VGo, a wirelessly enabled telepresence robot that connects people from remote distances, enabling new ways of communication and accessibility with specific use cases currently adopted in healthcare, education and business. Situations where people would normally be physically present in a location are transformed into a “face” on the video screen of the robot. Using Verizon’s industry best 4G LTE wireless network to carry the video consistently and reliably, the robots allow individuals to connect in ways that weren’t possible in the past. For instance, a student who would otherwise not be able to attend school can now virtually attend class via the robot that is in the classroom. The technology allows the student to interact with classmates and teachers without leaving home. JetBlue just announced the use of VGO as its CrewBot at JFK International Airport — http://blog.jetblue.com/
See how VGo helps a student be two places at once:
• HealthID, is an NFC-connected bracelet that was created with the support of the Verizon Innovation Program because of a father’s concern for his diabetic son. The HealthID band utilizes NFC (near-field communications) technology to wirelessly transmit personal health data including medical conditions, allergies, medications and emergency contacts with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone.
Watch how HealthID is making the world a safer place:
• Illuminating Concepts Intellistreets solution is a wirelessly connected lamp post that can create visual, audio and interactive cues for commuters. With digital screens affixed to motion-sensor light fixtures, “smart” cities are now able to showcase ads or even direct traffic. Additionally, embedded speakers can play music, broadcast announcements and serve as emergency call stations for endangered pedestrians.
• Velasense — VelaSense is designed for customers with any degree of visual impairment, from low vision to complete blindness. The technology is intended to make it easier for users to navigate mobile devices, and also to navigate the physical world around them. Through a few taps on a smartphone, a visually-impaired person will be able to identify colors to pick out clothes, determine the denomination of the money in their hand, and read the label of a product at a grocery store.
See how Velasense is changing the lives of blind students:
3. I know that ideas need to have some connection to a wireless feature, but what if the inventor needs ideas about how to incorporate a wireless feature into his/her invention. Can Verizon Innovation help with that?
Jackowski: Absolutely. At Verizon, we’re focused on finding innovative solutions that go well beyond a traditional portfolio of products. We believe that powerful technology can help solve many of society’s biggest problems and that a good idea can come from anywhere and so we’re committed to finding ways to advance technology and drive innovation, and the Innovation Program is one of the ways we accomplish this.
The centers inspire and empower companies large and small, and nurture innovators and serve as launch pads for new relationships and ideas that help expand the potential and impact of our innovations.
4. What if an inventor isn’t close to a Verizon Innovation lab? Can the program still be beneficial?
Jackowski: The Verizon Innovation program is designed to support and help innovators create wirelessly connected solutions that will benefit consumer or enterprise customers. While the Centers are physically located in some of the best known technology hubs (Waltham, MA and San Francisco, CA), our partners come from locations all over the world.
5. What suggestions would you have for an inventor who wants to find out more about Verizon Innovation?
Jackowski: Innovators in need of support with new ideas for non-traditional connected solutions should start by looking at the Verizon Innovation Program‘s website. It’s here they’ll find more detailed information about the program and our support services. There is a “Get Started” link that will guide potential partners to tell us about their idea or company, how we can contact them, and the overall market opportunity.
6. Is there anything else about Verizon Innovation that you would like Wonder of Tech readers to know?
Jackowski: Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award is another example of our commitment to innovation. The program is for innovators, developers and entrepreneurs who are passionate about creating powerful ideas that leverage Verizon’s cutting-edge technology to deliver groundbreaking solutions that help and address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
In its third year, this year’s multi-million dollar Award challenge is open for submissions through June 18, 2015. Entrepreneurs and companies around the world are encouraged to submit their innovative ideas in the Transportation, Emergency Response and Internet of Things categories. There is no charge to enter and entrants keep their IP.
In addition to the $6M in cash prizes that are awarded, winners can be connected to a wide variety of network, business development and marketing experts across Verizon to explore ongoing collaborations.
The company also incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education through its annual Innovation App Challenge for middle school and high school students. Submissions for that the next content open on August 4, 2015.
Do you have a great idea that you want to bring into reality? Are you excited about how innovators can change lives with tech? Will you be entering the Verizon Powerful Answers Award or Verizon Innovation programs? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below!
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