The 2009 Tech Awards Gala – Part 2

When I first met the 2009 Tech Award Laureates two weeks ago at Intel’s headquarters in Santa Clara, I didn’t really have an opportunity to learn more about their projects more than what I had read about them online. But what I was about to learn from these really passionate individuals would really knock my socks off.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to the Laureates and get a glimpse of the impact that technology has made in their communities. All the Laureates had set up a showcase with demos and videos of their work at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, afterwhich was a Gala to honor all Laureates and select one cash winner of $50,000 from each category.

TechAwardsAlGore2Small.JPGBefore honoring the Laureates and to kick off the night, The Tech Awards first honored the 2009 Global Humanitarian Award. This year’s Global Humanitarian was Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore, recognizing his work in environmental affairs and raising global awareness with the issue of climate change. While it was a serious talk and the issue no laughing matter, one memorable quote from his talk had the room up in laughter, “The planet Earth is going to be fine. The real risk is to human beings.” With the reality of global warming and effects being more apparent each day, his short talk emphasized the necessity for new technologies, solutions and usage models to tackle this growing crisis.

Following the Global Humanitarian Award, each sponsoring company introduced the three Laureates from their respective categories. The Tech Awards had compiled wonderful footage into a brief documentary for each of the Laureates and their nominated projects. I was able to snap a video of the Intel Environment Award Laureates’ documentaries and the introduction by Intel VP Stuart Pann, who is also a member of The Tech Awards Executive Committee.

All three are incredible solutions that are deserving of the Tech Award Laureate title. In addition to that honor, one of each category was selected as a cash prize winner of $50,000. Even from my personal experience seeing technology solutions in emerging markets, it was difficult for me to pinpoint one of those three that were better than the other two. Could you guess who won it? Here’s the rest of the video, and you can find out if you were right!

It’s truly incredible to see the impact that technology can have on people’s lives, in places and circumstances where it was not thought of before. Sometimes these solutions are capable because of the introduction of new tech tools, such as with LeafView’s portable Electronic Field Guide, and other times it’s because of innovative usage models that leverage current technological advancements. I’m really proud that Intel is involved in recognizing these Laureates, and reminds me of a statement often said at Intel, “It’s not what we make, but what we make possible.”

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