Posted Mar. 1, 2017 at 7:56 a.m.

Gigabit 'Reverse Pitch' kickoff event draws statewide audience

Published: 2017-03-01 07:56:56
Updated: 2017-03-01 07:56:56


Over 300 people across the state came together via simulcast last night for a RIoT event supporting US Ignite’s national Gigabit Reverse Pitch initiative in North Carolina.

Initiated by North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) in partnership with New City Ventures and RIoT, the event kicked off a statewide competition to create transformative, problem-solving applications that leverage ultra-high speed, low latency fiber networks.

Jeff Sural, acting Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office for North Carolina, Scott Turnbull, National Technology Leader for US Ignite and key member of the Smart Gigabit Communities and Dennis Newman, Program Director of NCNGN made opening remarks. They explored high-speed internet’s integral role in building a 21st century technology infrastructure that supports students, educators, first responders, and businesses.

“The expansion of fiber networks has taken on a life of its own,” noted Newman. “The new applications that leverage these networks will transform what we’ll be able to do in our lives.”

Scott Watts. Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of North State Communications, the primary sponsor of the nearly $40,000 in cash awards for the event, described how ultra-high speed networks combined with the cloud, can redefine the way we use and manage our rapidly expanding devices and also revolutionize the nature of collaboration through new applications

Demonstrating the "walk the talk" of high bandwidth applications, the event speakers were streamed from HQ Greensboro to large audiences at the newly opened Launch Factory in Charlotte and at HQ Raleigh in the state's capital. Seamless multi-way audio and video allowed all participants to join the discussion.

The Reverse Pitch event kickoff event attracted more partners as it grew. Of significance, IBM joined to offer $480,000 in tools and support as additional prizes for pitch finalists and winners. IBM Digital Market Leader Michael Gilbert described how the IBM Watson IoT Platform via Bluemix, will allow finalists to incorporate ready-to-use capabilities, such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain, advanced data analytics and cyber security into their latest inventions.

RIoT Executive Director, Tom Snyder, emphasized the importance of NC establishing leadership towards the Data Economy, often dubbed the 4th Industrial Revolution.

"RIoT strives to build collaboration across industry, government and academia,” notes Snyder. ” Of the 8 US Ignite reverse pitches happening across the country, only North Carolina was organized to run an event statewide This demonstrates the strong leadership already in place in the state and a strong culture of community collaboration on projects of civic importance. The partners in this project have been fantastic and I can't wait to see the outcomes this summer."

Looking forward, last night's event presented 4 problem statements that can leverage the speed and low latency of gigabit networks Now companies, developers and entrepreneurs have five weeks to submit project proposals that leverage these networks.  10 finalists will be selected that will receive free coaching from New City Ventures and RIoT Labs throughout the spring as well as IBM Watson IoT Platform access.

“We’re driving toward a finalist pitch event in early summer to award the prizes and set the teams in motion to build great gigabit applications,” says Joel Bennett of New City Ventures. “We’ll work with the winners and finalists to scale their products and businesses across the country with US Ignite and NSF support.”

Details on the problem stations, upcoming information sessions and access to the application is at www.ignitenc.co.  

A full video of the Reverse Pitch event will be viewable in the next few days.

Applications are open until April 3, 2017

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