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10 to the power of innovation at Nokia Bell Labs Prize competition

Twitter: @MarcusWeldon

Besides the opportunity to network, the Innovathons provide candidates with a chance to visit a Nokia Bell Labs facility and meet fellow researchers and the leadership team. During the 2-day workshops, candidates make an initial 5-minute pitch to Bell Labs leadership to help focus the proposals to have greater impact.

The competition is heating up as innovators from around the world vie for the prestigious Nokia Bell Labs Prize of US$100,000. Since May 25th when the 13 semi-finalists were announced, there’s been a lot of excitement as the supporting Bell Labs researchers and candidates looked forward to meeting each other at the global innovation workshops, called Innovathons, which were held at Nokia headquarters in Espoo, Finland, on 15–16 June, and in Murray Hill, NJ, on 21-22 June.

The Nokia Bell Labs Prize is a competition for researchers and scientists from participating countries around the world. They submit original proposals for innovations in Information Communications and Technology (ICT) that have the potential to change the way we live, work and communicate. The proposal should exhibit a potential for change an order of magnitude (10x) greater than the state of the art today.

Last year’s winner, Brandon Lucia of Carnegie Mellon University, won the prize for developing OIC, the operating system for intermittent computing. Using novel hardware and software techniques, OIC can survive intermittent or unreliable power. OIC is ideal for the Internet of Things (IoT)  and the billions of small devices and sensors that will be deployed, often into surroundings where energy sources are environmental and unreliable, in areas such as remote regions of the earth, space, and even inside the human body.

This year’s Prize was launched in March 2016 and attracted 252 proposals from 41 countries. Most were from universities, but some also came from industry. After a diligent review process, 13 were selected from the US, UK, Denmark, Taiwan and Israel. From now until September 9, they will partner with Bell Labs researchers to strengthen their proposals. The final submissions are reviewed and 5–10 finalists are announced on October 17. The finalists will go head-to-head later this year with the top three innovators taking home prizes.

The Prize is both a highly prestigious innovation award and a means to collaborate with the world-renowned Nokia Bell Labs. Although only three can win cash prizes, those surviving the first round gain visibility with a high-profile audience of researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, media and partners. A few may also see their innovation come to fruition, contributing to changing our lives for the better.

If you’re interested in following this year’s Prize or entering the 2017 Nokia Bell Labs Prize competition with an idea of your own, you can visit our web site, where you can learn more about the Prize and apply next year.

In case you're interested, here's what I had to say about "The rational exuberance of 5G" and "Disruptive innovation".

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #innovation #IoT

Marcus Weldon

About Marcus Weldon

As Corporate Chief Technology Officer, Marcus Weldon is responsible for coordinating the technical strategy across the company and driving technological and architectural innovations into Nokia’s end-to-end networking systems and software portfolio.  In addition, as President of Nokia Bell Labs, Marcus is responsible for driving the next disruptive innovation and research agenda for the company.

Marcus is considered one of the luminaries in the ICT industry in terms of the clarity, depth and breadth of his vision. He combines his vision with the power of Bell Labs, to create a unique innovation engine whose goal is to ‘invent the future’ of the networking and communications industry.

Tweet me at @MarcusWeldon

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