Tekne Award Winners Announced

I love the idea of the Tekne Awards – celebrating Minnesota’s high tech rock stars. Last night was the big night! I’m not sure we’ll hear Joan Rivers talking about the awardees – but maybe that’s a good thing. I did want to congratulate some of the more broadband-focused companies here; companies that help make broadband even more valuable by providing services via broadband. You can get a full list of winners from the Tekne Awards web site.

The Computer Hardware & Electronic Devices Award was presented to Global Traffic Technologies, LLC (GTT). Based in St. Paul, Global Traffic Technologies, LLC (GTT) was formed in 2007 when the division was carved out of 3M. GTT’s mission is to save lives, save time and improve the environment through traffic management systems that facilitate the interoperability of public safety, transit and traffic management infrastructure. GTT has developed and refined an architecture of adaptable solutions for Transit Signal Priority (TSP) and Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) installed in more than 100,000 intersections around the world. EVP systems grant emergency vehicles green light passage through signalized intersections and TSP systems improve transit operations by granting a transit vehicle an advantage at a signalized intersection either by extending a green light or truncating a red light. GTT’s Priority Control Systems are so well-respected that their trade name “Opticom” is generically used to describe the entire product category of traffic signal priority products.

Sophia Learning received the Edutech Award, which recognizes development of technologies and/or innovative use in technology in and out of the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. Minneapolis-based Sophia began with the premise that there are millions of great ideas, methods, lessons and people who can contribute to society’s goal of spreading knowledge and making education better and more effective. The website, Sophia.org, has been described as a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube focused solely on education. The online social teaching and learning platform that launched publicly in March of 2011, combines connectivity tools to create a free, credible, education-based, crowd-sourced platform that provides access to learning packets. In the first 90 days after launching in public beta, Sophia had more than 20,000 users from 129 countries at nearly 1,000 education institutions. The online site currently offers more than 1,000 learning packets on a variety of topics that are ranked and rated by the Sophia community.

The Innovative Collaboration of the Year Award was presented to Maverick Software Consulting in Lakeville. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), Maverick Software Consulting, Advance IT Minnesota, Thomson Reuters and Digital River have created a first-of-its-kind academia-meets-corporate America partnership, bringing together top computer science students from campuses across Minnesota with corporations seeking local software development and software testing. The innovative collaboration provides corporate partners with top student talent as a successful, proven option for cost-effective software development and testing services and an experienced workforce after graduation. It also provides students real-world experience working in the field with cutting-edge technology and, typically, a job offer prior to graduation. This collaboration creates a motivated, skilled and productive workforce that sustains and expands Minnesota’s technology-based economy.

The Mobile & Communication Technologies Award went to GeaCom, Inc. Duluth-based GeaCom was founded in 2007 by Mat Johnson who, after years of studying communication theory and working with high technology innovators, recognized a need for an improved method for communication theory as well as communicating across language barriers. Johnson’s resulting solution, Phrazer, is a handheld, interactive communication system with a touch screen interface that enables the collection and delivery of critical information. After identifying what language a patient speaks, Phrazer collects his/her information, medical history, symptoms and complaints and then summarizes it into the caregiver’s language that can be accessed on the device or through a facility’s electronic health records (EHR) system.

Software Awards were presented to two companies recognized for innovative development of applications for business or consumer use.

The Established Company Award went to Imation, with its roots in 3M’s former Data Storage business, the Oakdale-based company has a 60-year legacy of technology leadership. With 88 percent of organizations reporting at least one data breach in 2010, Imation staff dedicated themselves to finding a solution. In February 2011, Imation unveiled the Defender Collection Control Software Suite which enables organizations to manage their removable data storage devices to maximize security, prevent data loss, and minimize risk. The multi-tiered software is a Web-based application that manages security policy controls for users, removable device types, passwords, off-network usage, encryption and device usage. It also provides protection on individual computers by allowing administrators the ability to block files representing risks of data leak or virus/malware.

Calabrio, Inc. was presented the Small and Growing Company Award. Located in Plymouth, Minn., the company has an ambitious goal – to provide the contact center customer service industry with a better option for workforce optimization by eliminating the implementation and ownership challenges for enterprises of all sizes. The all new Calabrio ONE suite, released in February of 2011, features a completely new Web 2.0-based user experience designed to simplify daily use and configurability for dynamic contact centers. Calabrio has sustained growth in excess of 20 percent over the past three years due to its innovation and aggressive sales and marketing efforts as well as establishing relationships with Cisco and Avaya. According to DMG Consulting Group President Donna Fluss, “Calabrio’s new user interface is highly innovative and a game changer for the contact center workforce optimization market.”

The City of Minneapolis received the Technology Excellence in a Non-Profit Organization Award. Supporting the City of Minneapolis’ vision for the future are six goals: A Safe Place to Call Home; Jobs and Economic Vitality; Livable Communities, Healthy Lives; Many People, One Minneapolis; Eco-Focused; and A City That Works. The City of Minneapolis’ new Emergency Operations Training Facility/Strategic Information Center (EOTF/SIC) brings technology and information together to make Minneapolis a safer place. At this location, technology, digital data, streaming video and highly interactive interfaces come together in one highly efficient communications center for the city. In August of 2010, Emergency Preparedness in collaboration with the Minneapolis Fire and Police departments opened the EOTF/SIC. Prior to this, each entity served a singular purpose and would only come together during a large scale event.


The Technology Services Award was presented to two companies for succeeding in innovative development and/or delivery of technology services, including consulting services, service providers and software as a service.

The Established Company recipient was Eagan-based Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters Checkpoint has been the industry-leader for online information for tax and accounting professionals for more than a decade. Checkpoint blends cutting-edge technology, expert editorial insight, primary source materials, time-saving productivity tools, online learning, and news updates all in an integrated fashion that adds intelligence to what might otherwise be content and software. On June 13, 2011, the latest evolution of Checkpoint was launched. The features include a redesigned user interface and re-factored underlying code as well as new functionality to enhance users’ experience. The new features and superior web design will continue to widen the gap between Checkpoint and the competition.

APEX Print Technologies was presented the Small and Growing Company Award. Since its beginning in 1995, St. Paul-based APEX has continued to build market share by listening to both its customers and their patients. Today, healthcare organizations are looking for a product offering that can improve cash flow, decrease billing costs and improve patient satisfaction. APEX has answered the call by creating myEasyView and mySecureBill. By accessing myEasyView, healthcare facilities have the ability to edit documents prior to printing, view an exact PDF replica of the patient statement, easily make Web-based payments over the phone, enroll patients for electronic statement delivery and set-up payment plans. mySecureBill extends these services to the patient through a branded Web portal.

This entry was posted in Broadband Applications, Conferences, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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