Vodafone Americas Foundation Reveals WIP Winners
CHICAGO -- 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.
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 years, primarily due to illegal poaching, while the rhino population has plummeted more than 97 percent since 1960. 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.”