By Emeka Aginam
Ericsson has announced the finalists in the Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) 2016. The four teams are expected to participate in the EIA 2016 grand final, which will be held May 26, 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Accordingly, the winning innovations showcase windows as a communication medium, crowd-sourced environmental data solutions, mobile devices to support the blind, and micro-transaction-based eating spaces

The EIA is a global competition that gives students the opportunity to develop innovative ICT ideas in collaboration with Ericsson experts.

Meanwhile, a total of 843 teams from 72 countries entered the competition this year, compared with 270 teams and 43 countries in 2015.

Each of the four finalists has developed solutions addressing the future of city life, as the theme for EIA 2016.
Today, more people live in cities than in rural areas, and the United Nations forecasts that 70 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2050.

The EIA 2016 finalists are as follows:
*SherPak (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy and Frederick University, Cyprus): planar-embedded antennae that turn windows into a communication medium, supported by solar power generation capabilities.

* Airscapes (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US): a collection and augmentation solution for crowd-sourced environmental data, which provides personalized air pollution exposure metrics.

*SoundVision (University of British Columbia, Canada): a mobile device that converts three-dimensional spatial information into sound so that blind individuals can identify their surroundings more effectively.

*Common Spoon (Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain): a communal kitchen, automated grocery and eating space based on micro-transactions that boost local economies, improve environmental outcomes and strengthen social bonds.

The winning team will be selected by a jury formed of Ericsson and non-Ericsson representatives.
Speaking on the development, Ulf Ewaldsson, Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson, said that, “Ensuring that cities are creative, connected and sustainable places represents a major challenge – but it also offers an opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people.

“ICT can enable fundamentally new ways of collaborating, innovating and socializing for cities everywhere. As a leading ICT transformation partner, Ericsson is committed to maximizing these positive impacts and to supporting innovation that can make a difference for city-dwellers, both today and in the future.”, Ewaldsson, added.

Meanwhile, the winning team will receive a cash prize of EUR 25,000, with a second-place prize of EUR 15,000 and two runners-up prizes of EUR 1,000 each. Career-enhancing incentives are also on offer: all participants in EIA 2016 will be invited to apply for Ericsson opportunities, and finalists and semi-finalists will be interviewed for internship or full-time positions.

Bina Chaurasia, Head of Human Resources, Ericsson, said that, “Today’s students are tomorrow’s change-makers, and the Ericsson Innovation Awards showcase some of the most transformative thinking coming out of the world’s universities.

“In 2015, more than 5,000 graduates and interns started work at Ericsson, and we hope to welcome some of the rising stars from this year’s awards into our company to help shape the future of city life.”, Chaurasia said.

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