Verizon's $10 million new-ideas contest now accepting submissions

Verizon's Powerful Answers Award contest is accepting entries for innovative ideas in education, health care and sustainability

Verizon Communications is now accepting submissions for a contest in which the company will award US$10 million in prize money to individuals and organizations worldwide that come up with innovative ideas in education, health care and sustainability.

With the Powerful Answers Award contest, Verizon hopes to draw the best minds to make the world a better place, said Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, at an informal event in New York City's The Standard High Line Hotel. The contest was originally announced at International CES in January.

Starting on Wednesday, anyone above 18 years of age, including individuals, organizations and academics, can submit ideas in the three core areas through the Powerful Answers Award website.

The submission period ends on June 30, after which judges will review the entries in a two-step selection process. The winners will be announced at International CES in 2014.

Five winners will be selected in each of the three categories. The top prize winner will get $1 million, and depending on ranking, the other winners will get $850,000, $700,000, $500,000 and $285,000, respectively.

The contest is open to participants worldwide, and thousands have already signed up, McAdam said.

McAdam said he hopes the contest will inspire positive social changes while also inspiring new business ideas and marketplaces. The judges will be reviewing commercial viability, global impact and use of technology for each entry.

Consumers are ready for ideas that make their lives easier and more meaningful, McAdam said.

He cited the idea of how changes in health care are already taking place but still need improvements. For example, it is easier to gather information about a patient through mobile devices and have a meaningful interaction with the doctor using cloud computing, but there are many regulations and connectivity issues to overcome.

The winners will get access to Verizon's wireless and wired network assets and cloud services. The contest is a corporate responsibility project for Verizon planned only for this year, and McAdam did not commit to repeating it in the coming years.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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