Back in April, Dialogic launched an Innovator Contest. Given the convergence of the web with traditional telephony, and given the rise of 3G networks allowing more bandwidth for video, the time seemed right to see what innovation was going on out there on Dialogic platforms.
I wanted to call the contest the title of this blog, because, truly this was the best contest ever, but couldn't get approval for that name. I guess it's hard to "prove" that. But, really, it's the best contest ever in the entire world that I was a judge for!
During my long tenure at Dialogic, I've seen many innovative applications come through - some that changed an entire industry such as VoIP, some that made a lot a lot a lot of money for a lot of people such as debit-cards and SMS, some that made a lot of money for a lot of people such as Color Ring Back Tones (CRBT), some that are innovative ways to make a better (more cost effective) solution such as improvements to architectures primarily because of an open system approach, and some that are "cool" but in the end don't make too much money, such as...ah, not that important, but I've seen some really "cool" apps. But it doesn't mean they are any less innovative. They all start with someone with a bright idea
I was not disappointed. We received applications in both the enterprise space and service provider space, and we received applications that married social networking apps, including Facebook, with voice and video, and we received applications with iPhone apps based on Dialogic platforms. This was especially encouraging for me since Dialogic has great voice, video, and fax engines that I know this community of developers can take advantage of. And we also received applications that I'd categorize in the category of improving some kind of existing application, such as advancing LBS.
As I said above, all are innovative in their own right and I thank all the companies who submitted an application.
I have to say the judging was hard. I was 1 of 4 judges, with the others being Rich Tehrani, President & Group Editor in Chief at Technology Marketing Corporation, Doug Mohney, Editor in Chief, HDConnect and Bertrand Gatellier, President, VMA - International Association for Enhanced Voice Services. We probably all judged a little differently - "innovation" means something different to everyone - and some might have leaned a little more on the "cool" side, some might have leaned a little more on the "someone is really going to use this" side, some might have leaned a little more on the "this is going to really help someone" and some might have leaned a little more on the "I don't know anyone else doing something like this." Or some combination thereof. That's why we had 4 judges - to get different perspectives.
At any rate, we've announced the winners. To read more about this, please view our press release. Here is a synopsis:
The grand prize winner is Almira Labs from Spain. They won for an application that allows 3G mobile phone users to take as many videos as they'd like and then retrieve them by video calling the Video Notes service. A variation of these applications allows 3G mobile phone users to quickly and easily send video messages to multiple recipients at once. This application is ideal for the hearing impaired community or helpful in countries where patients live far from their doctors so doctors can "see" the symptoms.
The runner-up was CreaLog from Germany, who developed an application they call "Cabfish," a location-based taxi ordering application for the iPhone. This Voice Portal application is available in more than 40 languages and allows a customer to order a taxi by simply pressing a button on his or her mobile phone. The GPS position of the mobile is sent to a server, which converts the position into a postal address. Then, the Voice Portal calls a local taxi station (in the local language) and the ordering result in displayed on the customer's mobile phone.
Honorable mentions include Bay Talkitec from India for their Mobile Video Yellow Pages application, Calltech from Columbia for their "Click to Call" Facebook application, and EGTEK Co., Ltd. from Korea for their voice analyzing "Love Meter" application.
This really was the best contest ever. Until we run the next one.