UNC-TV, UMD Top Winners for NAB's Pilot Innovation Challenge

WASHINGTON—After more than 150 entrants were submitted for the NAB’s second annual Pilot Innovation Challenge, the big winner was UNC-TV for its “Next Gen TV: Saving Lives One Alert at a Time” service.

The Pilot Innovation Challenge recognizes creative ideas that use technological advances in the production, distribution and display of engaging content, per NAB’s announcement. This year, entrants had to address the challenge question, “What is an unconventional way broadcasters and other local media could serve communities?” A panel of five judges from the media, technology and broadcast industries selected the top six winners. Conference attendees at the NAB Futures event in Palo Alto, Calif., determined the final placements.

UNC-TV won first place, and its $30,000 grand prize, for the “Next Gen TV” service, which will enable North Carolina’s public safety community to provide timelier response to emergencies by datacasting technology over broadcast television.

In second place was the University of Maryland’s “NewsBIN Vlog,” which combines broadcast journalism and YouTube’s first-person vlogging style to create a “new format of video journalism.” UMD earned $25,000 for second.

In third was nēdl, a way for radio listeners to use speech recognition to eliminate the need to go station to station to find specific news, sports, talk and music. Third place garnered a prize of $20,000.

Three Innovation Award Winners were also selected, each earning a $15,000 prize. “Engagement VR: Transparent Community Interaction” from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism; “Immersive Storytelling & an Ethic of Care” from the University of Colorado Boulder, and “LiveWorks” from VRVideo took home the Innovation Awards.

All six of the top winners will receive further guidance, access to broadcast executives and exposure at the NAB Show. For more information about the 2017 Pilot Innovation Challenge winners, click here.