The Oscar awards were last night, yet another celebration of the most famous and over-rewarded people on the planet. But one undeniably impressive aspect of Hollywood is the creativity, and those Oscar winners who created value where there was nothing before. On the telecom side, we live far less glamorous lives, but that’s not to say our industry doesn’t have its share of creativity. Moreover, creativity in telecommunications is the innovation that helps real people connect across distances great and small, gain access to information, and lead fuller, more productive lives.
While Hollywood is able to entertain and educate people worldwide, telecommunication actually has a greater impact on living standards, quality of life, and productivity both fixed and mobile. It’s high time we celebrate the innovators who are pushing the boundaries of telecom, and creating value where there was none before. That brings us to the SPIFFY Awards, held last week in Redwood City, CA. The SPIFFYS take their name from the Service Provider Innovation Forum, a monthly meeting of telecom investors with core membership of major global telecom carriers. After a year of filtering 500 innovative companies, and seeing presentations from about 150, the SPIF members vote on the most impressive startup and early-stage companies, and recognize and celebrate the innovation they represent. As you can view in Sylvie Barak’s coverage of the SPIFFYS for RCR Wireless, this year’s Category Winners were:
• The Edison Award for Most Innovative Start-Up goes to Motally
• The Ground Breaker Award for Engineering Excellence goes to Violin Memory
• The Graham Bell Award for Best Communication Solutions goes to Aegis Mobility
• The San Andreas Award for Most Disruptive Technology goes to AirHop Communications
• The Core Award for Best Fixed Telecom Opportunity goes to Lithium Technologies
• The Zephyr Award for Best Mobile Opportunity goes to BOKU
• The Prodigy Award for the Most Successful SPiF Alumni is Swype
• The People’s Choice Award for the Technology Which Excited the Telecom Community the Most goes to Violin Memory
• The Fred & Ginger Award for Most Supportive Carrier goes to Sprint for the active role of their Silicon Valley-based team in supporting telecom entrepreneurs.
But the SPIFFY awards are not just about winning and taking home the trophy. It is truly a celebration of all the innovators, from our prize winners through to those whose ideas might not even make it out of the garage. The SPIFFYS do what Silicon Valley does naturally: honor and value creators and those who work to bring new ideas to market. Congratulations to you all, and please, keep it up.
Liz Kerton, President, The Telecom Council of Silicon Valley
The Telecom Council