The much sought-after award trophy. Image from the official website.
On November 5th, 2014 the Swiss ICT Award ceremony was held in the KKL Lucerne. Many companies had applied for the prestigious award and the Jury earlier this year had selected the finalists for the last round. See the finalists for the Swiss ICT Award 2014 here and the finalists for the Swiss ICT Newcomer Award here. Everybody who had been nominated as finalist can consider himself a winner.
“The objective of the Swiss ICT Award is to promote entrepreneurship and the acceptance of ICT entrepreneurs and companies in Swiss society. The winner serve as role models and motivators for the entire ICT industry.” (from the official Award web site).
This year again for the jury the decision was a difficult one to select the best of the best.
iart wins with “MegaFaces”
Reto Lipp the event moderator congratulates iart CEO Valentin Spiess. Photo by the author.
The Basel company iart took home the grand price for its project realized during the Sochi Winter Olympics earlier this year. The company combines mechanical, software engineering with design competence and art and thus combines interesting capabilities and expertise to tackle “impossible” projects.
From the official Award web site:
“The Mount Rushmore of the digital age”: with MegaFaces, three-dimensional objects (faces) can be scanned in a 3D photo booth developed by iart and graphically displayed as illuminated reliefs of up to 8 metres high. MegaFaces was developed for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
The jury’s verdict for giving iart the award: In addition to the complexity of the installation as a whole and the innovations inside it, the jury was especially impressed that the interdisciplinary solution, which combines software and hardware, was developed and realised by iart down to the smallest detail. In addition to the first three-dimensional, large-scale LED wall, the project utilised a specially-developed 3D photo booth and software previously never before seen on the market. iart is an outstanding example of what Swiss IT can be and the possibilities it offers.
See the company video here:
MegaFaces Pavilion and kinetic facade, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 from Asif Khan on Vimeo.
Newcomer 2014: iRewind with “AirRewind – OnAirCamera”
Again, from the official Award web site:
iRewind’s patented OnAirCamera system
“iRewind convinced the jury as a result of its patented OnAirCamera system, which combines film cameras and software with a smartphone app and geolocation, and streams multi-angle HD recordings directly to smartphones without the need for a server or mobile data connection.
The jury’s justification for the award: Developments in the video market, rising connectivity and the ever growing use of smartphones are unmistakable signs that there is massive market potential to be tapped by combining these elements and that new solutions will stimulate and fundamentally alter the face of the market. This Swiss solution is a technically outstanding project in a hugely popular field and combines perfectly timed innovation with top-quality implementation.”
Prof. Martin Odersky, EPFL (picture from the official Award page)
The jury this year also decided on a Special Award and gave it to Martin Odersky for developing Scala, a programming language which unites the best facets from the worlds of functional and object-oriented programming. A paradigm shift is currently taking place in software development as functional programming comes to the fore. Scala is a typical pivot language: it supports functional programming, but combines it with classical object-oriented methods. Scala – on which platforms such as Twitter are based – is regarded by many as a possible successor to Java on the JVM platform. Odersky’s language is platform-independent, extendable and scalable, enabling it to develop alongside the requirements and users of the next generation of software.
Odersky, a citizen of Germany, teaches at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). As another scholar/inventor of international renown, he is representative of the innovative force and successful commercialisation of research projects in the industry in the best tradition of Swiss universities (quoted from the official Award web site).
map.geo.admin.ch (image from the official website)
Again, from the official Award web site: The Federal Office of Topography swisstopo measures Switzerland, surveys and documents (geological, geodetic and topographical) changes in the landscape and produces maps of Switzerland. Version 3 of map.geo.admin.ch – Switzerland’s federal map viewer – makes geodata and maps faster, more mobile and more flexible thanks to open-source software, cloud computing and a mobile app based on HTML5.
For these services, swisstopo was the popular favourite among all finalists in an online voting poll.
Note that last month this same team from that public office also won the CH Open Source Award (see my previous blog entry).
For me it is an honor to serve in this jury and to get to know so many interesting companies. My sincere congratulations to all the finalists and the winners!
The winners of the 2014 Swiss ICT Award on stage. Photo by the author.
You can find pictures from this event on this page from the Swiss IT Magazine.