SOURCE: Vodafone Americas Foundation

Vodafone Americas Foundation

June 07, 2017 09:00 ET

Vodafone Americas Foundation Announces Winners of Ninth Annual Wireless Innovation Project

$600,000 in total prizes awarded to PathVis, WIPER, and DreamSave for their promising wireless and mobile innovations designed to impact the global community

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 7, 2017) - The Vodafone Americas Foundation today, at the Social Innovation Summit 2017 in Chicago, IL, announced the winners of its ninth annual Wireless Innovation Project (WIP), a competition for potential life-changing connected innovations addressing critical issues facing the world today. PathVis will be awarded the $300,000 first place prize for their smartphone-based platform that detects and helps track infectious disease outbreaks. A wireless anti-poaching collar with unique combination of features named WIPER will receive the $200,000 second place prize. DreamSave, a mobile financial services solution, will be granted the third place prize of $100,000.

Since launching in 2009, the Vodafone Americas Foundation WIP has awarded $5.5 million to scalable solutions focused on "Connecting for Good" that help address critical issues around the world. As a result, WIP-supported innovations have directly impacted over 40 million individual lives across more than 40 countries -- underscoring the Foundation's commitment to fostering social change. Past WIP winners' successes include international accolades, various industry prizes, and obtaining more than $9.5 million in additional funding.

"The winners of this year's Wireless Innovation Project continue the program's reputation of honoring promising wireless and mobile innovations designed to impact the global community," said Andrew Morawski, Board of Directors Chairman and President, Vodafone Americas Foundation. "PathVis, WIPER, and DreamSave represent the vast possibilities that technology can bring to solving critical issues such as diseases, wildlife, and financial inclusion."

PathVis, WIPER, and DreamSave will join the 24 previous winners who have received Vodafone Americas Foundation support through the competition to help bring their innovation to scale.

  • First Place (US $300,000)
    PathVis - A smartphone-based detection platform built to directly detect and help track infectious diseases afflicting over 250 million people world-wide. This detection technology uses a novel, breakthrough method to obtain results in less than 30 minutes -- which can provide health organizations with real-time surveillance data to decrease costs and increase efficiency in identifying outbreaks and preventing further spread of disease. PathVis plans to leverage the prize money to specifically fight against cholera, as it is a highly infectious disease affecting roughly 1.3 to 4 million people each year, resulting in 21,000 to 143,000 deaths worldwide.1

  • Second Place (US $200,000)
    WIPER - A wireless anti-poaching collar for elephants and other animals across Africa that uniquely combines tracking and gunshot detection technology to automatically send the location of poaching events to authorities in real time. WIPER hopes to be a strong asset in combating poaching and saving rapidly declining elephant and rhino populations. The African elephant population sharply decreased by 20 percent over the past 10 years2, primarily due to illegal poaching, while the rhino population has plummeted more than 97 percent since 1960.3 WIPER can disrupt poaching and prevent irreparable damages to the environmental ecosystem through pioneering ballistic shockwave detection, a tool that cannot be tricked by gun mufflers regularly used by poachers.

  • Third Place (US $100,000)
    DreamSave - An innovative mobile solution with the potential to help millions of unbanked members of informal savings groups around the world break the cycle of poverty. With this tool, people who have been invisible to the global economy will have direct access to a wide range of modern financial services, even if they live miles from the nearest bank. DreamSave will leverage mobile money integration, machine learning, behavioral science, and ground breaking new technology optimized for remote areas with limited internet access. By designing DreamSave as part of a broader digitally-connected community, users will also have access to a wide range of related services, unlocking their potential to create lasting social and economic change.

"The Wireless Innovation Project is designed to illustrate how wireless technology can change the world and our winners this year exemplify that mission," said June Sugiyama, Director, Vodafone Americas Foundation. "Recognizing technologies such as PathVis, WIPER, and DreamSave through the program will ultimately help them take the next steps to turn these inventive projects into real prototypes and tools that can drive social good. Be it financial services, disease control, or animal conservation, mobile technology can play an incredible role in contributing to sustainable positive social impact. We're honored to be able to recognize these solutions."

Each awarded grant will be issued over the course of three years. In addition to grant funds, WIP recipients receive support and guidance to advance their solutions to reach the global marketplace. Vodafone brings technical expertise, partnerships and global reach that accelerate mobile innovations to deliver wider social impact than they could achieve alone.

For further details on the Wireless Innovation Project, visit project.vodafone-us.com.
To follow Vodafone Americas Foundation™ on Twitter, visit @VodafoneProject.
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About the Vodafone Americas Foundation
The Vodafone Americas Foundation is part of Vodafone's global network of 27 foundations. It is affiliated with Vodafone Group. In addition to the Wireless Innovation Project, the Vodafone Americas Foundation supports programs in the United States to Improve People's Lives, Support the Development Sector, Spark Innovation, and Empower Women and Girls. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone-us.com.

About Vodafone Group
Vodafone Group is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 48 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 31 March 2017, Vodafone Group had 515.7 million mobile customers and 17.9 million fixed broadband customers, including India and all of the customers in Vodafone's joint ventures and associates. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com.

1 World Health Organization, Cholera Fact Sheet, October 2016

2 World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Crime Annual Update, May 2016

3 African Wildlife Foundation, Rhinoceros Facts, 2017