Connect Marks 30th Year of Most Innovative New Product Awards

In its yearly celebration of entrepreneurship and invention, San Diego’s Connect gave its Most Innovative New Product Award to 10 local companies at a dinner gala Thursday evening.

Speaking in an interview before the late-night ceremony, Connect CEO Greg McKee said the awards highlighted the diversity of innovation in San Diego—from an oxygen mask that signals if a patient develops trouble breathing (TereoPneuna) to artificial intelligence technology developed for self-driving vehicles (Brain Corp.).

While A.I. has been advancing at a breathtaking pace, McKee said a recent, massive explosion of data is threatening to overwhelm existing technologies—and that’s likely to drive a new wave of innovation. “The data stream has gotten so high that we have to figure how to manage and triage this river of information,” he said.

During the fete, Connect also inducted longtime Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) CEO Jay Flatley into its Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, along with four local innovation leaders: Richard C. Atkinson, president emeritus of the University of California, received the Connect Founder’s Award; Joe Markee, a longtime tech investor and entrepreneur, was given the Duane Roth Award for his distinguished contribution in technology; Richard Lerner, the research chemist who served as president of The Scripps Research Institute for 20 years, received the Duane Roth Award in life sciences innovation; and Larry Bock, the late life sciences investor, was posthumously awarded the Duane Roth Award in life sciences innovation.

It was the 30th annual ceremony for Connect’s Most Innovative New Product Awards, a competition that began in the spring with companies submitting close to 100 new products for consideration. By September, Connect culled the list to 33 finalists who pitched their products last month to an assemblage of outside judges, who selected the winners in 10 categories.

Listed below are the winners in each category:

Cleantech, Sustainability, and Energy: Amionx

With backing from Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), Amionx has developed SafeCore technology that is intended to act like a circuit breaker to prevent a lithium-ion battery from exploding or catching fire. Amionx says SafeCore adds minimal cost to lithium battery production costs.

Defense, Aerospace, and Transportation: Fuse Integration  

Fuse Integration has developed a miniaturized mobile server, with embedded encryption and advanced cybersecurity, that meets military requirements for ruggedized electronic networking systems. Fuse says its CORE server can be used aboard military aircraft and vehicles to provide secure data communications over IP networks, as well as command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.

Information Communication Technologies: Nextivity

Nextivity specializes in technology that addresses “the universal challenge of poor cellular coverage in the office, at home, or on the road.” The company says its Cel-Fi GO device improves … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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