REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Vodafone Americas Foundation today announced the finalists for its 10th annual Wireless Innovation ProjectTM (WIP) competition, which features the latest connected innovations designed to address critical issues facing the global community. Entrepreneurs, startups, non-government organizations (NGOs), nonprofits and university projects have entered their social good technologies for an opportunity to pitch their solutions as part of the competition. The eight finalists have been chosen for their potential to make a difference in communities around the world.

The finalists will travel to San Francisco to participate in two days of activities including pitch presentations to the Vodafone Americas Foundation panel of judges.  Three winners will be selected, with first place awarded $300,000, second place $200,000, and third place $100,000, paid over a three-year period.

The Wireless Innovation Project’s 2018 finalists, who will look to join the 27 previous winners who have received Foundation support through the competition over the past decade, are:

  • TalkingPoints – TalkingPoints helps the 12 million students from low-income, diverse, immigrant families to feel better supported by their biggest allies, their parents and teachers. We enhance and facilitate meaningful relationships between teachers and parents in a cheap, accessible but effective way through building a multilingual communication platform for empathetic communication, providing two-way machine and community translated messages and educational content.
  • SAM Photo Diagnosis App Project – An integrated, image recognition system capable of diagnosing various stages of malnutrition. Through 2D imaging, the solution serves as a cost-effective early warning system for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), a condition that results in millions of preventable child deaths each year.
  • cerVIA – An affordable, accurate and accessible cervical cancer screening tool that improves screening accuracy through simple imaging and machine learning in an Android device.  The innovation will allow healthcare workers and doctors to easily validate their screenings.
  • SMARTSickle and Malaria Accurate Remote Testing is an integrated point-of-care technology platform with electronic health record systems to diagnose, track, and monitor sickle cell disease and malaria patients in low resource settings. The system will provide affordable remote testing for sickle cell disease and malaria with dashboards to help facilitate local and national responses to epidemics.
  • TenFour by Ushahidi – TenFour is an open source emergency check-in system for schools, NGOs, and small businesses that, during a crisis, lets people easily check-in via any communication channel and provides actionable alerts, allowing teams to triage resources, saving time and lives during disasters.
  • Peetsie – Teens (aged 15 to 19) who have experienced or witnessed violent trauma can receive counseling through Peetsie, a mobile-based chatbot avatar solution. Created by YTH, a youth centered health design organization, it uses AI to counsel youth 24/7 through a confidential, HIPPA compliant platform to link youth to emergency support and meets the youth where they are.
  • Air 2 Electricity Microgrid – A solution that is vital to areas with unreliable access to electricity and water, Onsite Air is a mobile microgrid that is a dual mode resource extraction solution that uses compressed air to produce electricity and to harvest air-borne moisture. This solution can be used to generate electricity in areas with an unreliable grid and can also provide water when there is a shortage during an emergency.
  • ENVision mobile – A simple and intuitive accounting and business management application for financially illiterate microentrepreneurs, optimizing operation in hard-to-reach environments and poor data areas. This mobile tool helps MicroFinance Institutions assess, manage and track the performance of their portfolio, thereby extends financial inclusion for the underserved.

Since launching in 2009, the Wireless Innovation Project has awarded $5.5 million to competition winners to help develop and scale their unique solutions to ultimately address critical issues affecting people in the most vulnerable areas. WIP-supported innovations have directly impacted more than 40 million lives across 40 different countries.  Past WIP winners have gone on to future success through international accolades, various industry prizes, and more than $9.5 million in additional funding.

“This year’s WIP finalists join an inspiring group of entrepreneurs who have brought wireless-related social change projects to life through our competition over the past 10 years,” said June Sugiyama, Director, Vodafone Americas Foundation. “While both the technology and the competition have evolved over the past decade, year after year we continue to see truly exciting solutions through this program, and this year is no different. From technology that helps global communities stay healthy, to tools that create new ways to gain electricity or financial independence, each of this year’s finalists has a unique opportunity to change lives through technology.”

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, 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
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 25 countries, partners with mobile networks in 47 more, and fixed broadband operations in 18 markets. As of 31 December 2017, Vodafone Group had 529.1 million mobile customers and 19.3 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

*Vodafone, the speechmark symbol, and Wireless Innovation Project are trademarks of Vodafone; other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

For further information, please contact:

June Sugiyama
Director, Vodafone Americas Foundation
americaswip@vodafone.com

Bob Gohn
Text100 Global Communications
bob.gohn@text100.com