Let’s hear it for the innovators!

Cybera's mandate is to foster technology and innovation; therefore, any awards program that recognizes these areas is one we want to be a part of.

The Manning Innovation Awards is just such a program, and we are pleased to have our President and CEO, Robin Winsor, serving as the Chair of the awards' Southern Alberta Chapter. In the run-up to its big ceremony on October 14 in Edmonton, Cybera is hosting a congratulatory reception in our Calgary office for the two Southern Albertans nominated for this prestigious award: Brad Murray and Ross Mitchell.

The reception will be taking place next Wednesday, March 23, 2011, from 5:00-7:00 pm. All are welcome to attend!

Murray is the Vice President of Technology at Poynt, and played a key role in the development of Poynt's all-in-one, free local search application for smart phones. This app connects users to nearby businesses, cinemas, restaurants, people and retailers. The system uses GPS and WiFi technology to track the user's location, so they don't need to manually enter an address. A simple click of the button not only reveals the nearest businesses, but also provides directions, an instant phone connection, and/or reservation options.

Mitchell and his research team at the University of Calgary were inspired by computer gaming graphics cards to create a system for instantly sending advanced medical images to mobile devices. Their goal was to allow medical staff to quickly access scans or x-rays from anywhere using an iPhone or web browser. Patients in remote areas could therefore be diagnosed, and their treatment proscribed, by doctors who are many miles away. The Advanced Visualization Anywhere app will no doubt have an impact on people with health disorders such as cardiovascular disease.

Both tools are intelligently designed and have the potential to, on the one hand, add convenience to people's busy schedules, and on the other hand, save lives!

These kinds of advancements are at the heart of the Manning Innovation Awards, which have been handing out nearly $4.3 million in prizes since 1982. This year's awards ceremony will feature 40 nominees from across Canada, each of whom had to go through a vigorous nomination process to get this far. Like the Oscar's, it truly is an honour just to be nominated!

Winsor will be on hand to host the Cybera reception, along with the Executive Director of the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation, David Mitchell.

There will also be a few words from Geoff Gosling, Product Development Team Leader for DIRTT Environmental Solutions, and winner of the 2010 Manning Innovation Award. Geoff designed the DIRTT Modular Wall System, an interior wall product that can be re-configured for a multitude of purposes (such as holding cabinets, sliding doors, glass panels, lights, etc), and is also made from environmentally-friendly materials.

It should be a stimulating celebration!