Photo by VodafoneZiggo (2022)
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TechBinder and their innovative Smart Vessel Optimizer were crowned champions of the second 5G Innovation Challenge taking place at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven yesterday.

The Smart Vessel Optimizer is an innovative tool allowing for the accurate monitoring of energy consumption on ships. Owners are able to monitor and adjust the performance of their ships more rapidly, and 5G is needed to communicate that data rapidly.

The innovative solution using 5G was praised by the jury for its future potential and lasting impact, with sustainability being the theme for this year’s event. Alongside the accolade, TechBinder wins a co-creation program from the 5G Hub and partners to further develop its project, according to a press release from VodafoneZiggo.

Diverse potential of 5G

Techbinder was one of six start-ups and scale-ups that were tasked with responding to a pressing sustainability-related issue as the key objective of the challenge, sponsored by VodafoneZiggo. As part of the competition, each project had the opportunity to provide a brief presentation of their idea in front of a panel before facing a questions and answers segment.

Contestants brought a range of ideas to the fore, including 5G-enabled networks aimed at providing service across areas with bad connectivity, energy monitoring and storage technology for homes, and a platform that allows for the mapping of street sport activities in order to facilitate urban policy-making. 

View from the audience

Similar to making a business pitch, most of the projects were accompanied by sharp looking presentations and a company overview that might have a fitting place in a Ted Talk. 

Notably, Connec2 delivered a virtual reality presentation that offered up the varying use cases for its metaverse-based platform, including the ability to visually understand how the construction of a hospital or house might look. 

Panelists were judging on the relevance of the innovation to 5G, how sustainably-minded the idea was in relation to Sustainable Development Goals and the business case for it.

Reflecting on his role on the panel, jurist Andy Lurling, who is part of LUMO Labs, said: ”As a jury we unanimously agree on the winner. We mainly looked at the sustainable element and the relationship with 5G, but also how attractive it is for the market.” 

“We believe that with the application of TechBinder important steps can be taken in the shipping industry in terms of efficiency. This makes TechBinder the deserved winner of the 5G Hub Innovation Challenge, which this year focuses on sustainability.”

TechBinder takes top spot

Bram van den Boom, co-founder of TechBinder appeared jubilant after the award. He said: ”I am very proud and it feels like confirmation that we are doing good things. I look forward to continuing the development with the experts of the 5G Hub, their knowledge and network.” 

“The next step is to look together for opportunities to show our value. It helps to have so many valuable partners around you.”

Preparation for the real world

The 5G Innovation Challenge is much more than just presenting a strong technical idea. Asked about what it offers young innovators, Andy Lurings says that the competition is “a great learning opportunity as you can never pitch enough.”

“This kind of event is fantastic for visibility of new emerging tech and facilitates greater collaboration within the innovator community on 5G enabled projects.” Despite these advantages, Lurlings points out that what he wanted to avoid as much as possible in his jurist role was seeing too much “greenwashing”, preferring projects with genuine use over eye-catching marketing. 

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