A Bright Horizon for the Future of Mobile

Nine in ten Americans — 92 percent — now own a mobile phone, according to PEW’s latest study on technology device ownership. The ubiquity of mobile connectivity has transformed the phone in our pocket into a digital Swiss army knife, capable of carving out innovative mobile solutions to many of the world’s most pressing issues. Armed with this revolutionary digital opportunity, American innovators are harnessing the powerful potential of mobile technology with game-changing ideas for effecting positive social change. Over the next few weeks, Mobile Future is spotlighting developers and technologists on the cutting edge of this social mobile movement with an annual innovation competition, the Mobileys.

A national competition that gives contestants the chance to win funding from a $20,000 prize pool, the Mobileys highlights mobile entrepreneurs who are leveraging wireless connectivity in ways that bring meaningful social benefits. The 12 finalists have developed a wide range of mobile solutions, ranging from reducing recidivism to helping manage pediatric cancer treatment. These powerful mobile tools showcase the diverse public benefits made possible by wireless technology.

This year’s 12 Mobileys finalists include:

Alerted, Woodbury, MN— a mobile app that leverages geo-mobile communications technologies, mobile data connectivity and social networking to aid in communication and recovery efforts for missing children.

Chrona, St. Louis, MO— a Smartpillow that integrates sleep-tracking and acoustic entrainment technology into a thin latex foam pad, turning any pillow into a customized sleeping experience.

Companion, Ann Arbor, MI — a mobile safety service that allows users to reach out to family and friends to keep an eye on them via a live map as they travel late at night.

CureSearch CancerCare, Bethesda, MD — a mobile app that manages a child’s treatment and advances parents’ ability to share crucial information and reports.

FoodShare, St. Louis, MO — a mobile app that donates a meal to someone in need through Operation Food Search every time a user dines at a partnered restaurant.

Givella, Denver, CO — using mobile technology, every time a customer shops with a Givella merchant, that merchant contributes a portion of the transaction back to the customer’s favorite nonprofit.

SanusEO, St. Louis, MO— a mobile platform that utilizes data analytics to keep patients and care teams engaged on a daily basis.

Pro: Up, Detroit, MI— a mobile app that matches high school students to educational and career development opportunities.

Smart Spark, Park City, UT — a mobile platform that uses brain science to help parents discover how their child learns best, and to easily share this knowledge with teachers, family, and mentors.

SPLT, Detroit, MI — a mobile carpool service for employers seeking to provide a benefit to employees, SPLT also records the reduction in CO2 emissions and miles saved.

SPROKIT, San Francisco, CA — a mobile app that reduces recidivism by better connecting returning citizens with their parole agents and probation officers.

StartDOT Handwriting, Ann Arbor, MI— a mobile learning tool that helps children learn how to write letters and numbers correctly, and to facilitate the transition from digital to real-world . . . from pixel to paper.

While the panel of judges will determine the first, second, and third place winners, you have the opportunity to vote for which finalist deserves the coveted People’s Choice Award. Voting closes today at 6 p.m., so if you have not voted for your favorite finalist, cast your vote! Finalists stand to earn $2,500 as the Peoples’ Choice Award winner, on top of the three podium prizes, which come with checks of $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500.

These mobile pioneers are pushing the envelope and unlocking the incredible opportunity that mobility has to build a better future. Just look at last year’s winner, Code Blue, a mobile support system that helps young people experiencing depression or bullying get immediate help. With prize money from the Mobileys, Code Blue has further developed their mobile app that serves as a ‘panic button’ for teens in need of a rapid response support system. Other winners last year used mobile technology to increase the accessibility to medical advice and make it easier for people to connect to volunteer opportunities.

As demand for connectivity skyrockets and investment in wireless continues to grow, the talent and tenacity of these mobile entrepreneurs from across the nation is inspiring. The Mobileys finalists are small companies with big visions for a bright mobile future.

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