Technology that promises to cut city maintenance patrols in half was the grand prize winner of Hamilton’s annual innovation contest on Thursday night.
Lion’s Lair, presented by the Innovation Factory in partnership with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Hamilton Economic Development, allowed 10 companies to pitch their ideas to a panel of the city’s top business experts and be considered for a cash prize.
The 2019 competition began in late July with companies initially making a 10-minute pitch. They were then invited to a gala on Sept. 26 at the Liuna Station Banquet Hall, at which they made another a 2-minute pitch in hopes of winning the grand prize.
2019 Grand Prize Winner – IRIS
This years grand prize went to R&D group IRIS who walked away with the $35,000 top prize for it’s community-solving applications which claim to save cities cash on operational and capital costs.
The founder of the Oakville-based group says a unique AI (Artificial Intelligence) camera is the centrepiece of its marquee real-time road monitor.
Emil Ramos says the iPORT dashcam is attached to city vehicles, like buses and garbage trucks, and can observe road conditions using AI-enabled technology identifying potholes and other road deficiencies.
“It’s just a dashcam taking videos of our roads, taking that video to the cloud and having our AI detect potholes and road deficiencies for the city,” said Ramos.
“What we’re doing is we’re eliminating those manual patrols with a more sophisticated, yet simple deployable IOD (Information Of Delivery) solution.”
LISTEN: Global Newsradio’s Bill Kelly talks with the 2019 Lion’s Lair competition presented by Innovation Factory and the city of Hamilton
Ramos says his inspiration for the idea came when he emigrated to Canada and expected to drive on pristine roads.
“I came to Canada in 2017. I came from a third world country and expected to see beautiful roads, the void of puddles, and smooth driving,” Ramos said. “You can image my shock when I got here.”
Ramos says the iPORT is now being used in four cities worldwide and the ultimate goal for his company is to bring proactive technology to cities which will help vehicles avoid roadway danger.
ARCH – Runner Up $25,000
Runner-up, ARCH boasts a process providing a 100 per cent down payment for a home without interest or monthly payments. The catch is you return the down payment when you sell the home plus an agreed portion of the home’s increase in value.
The plan works in six steps with the first being pre-approval, then finding a home, qualify the home with ARCH and a home inspection, get a mortgage, then close the deal.
The company’s endgame is to get Canadians into their first home without the worry of putting together a down-payment which can be quite large when living in major city.
However, the plan does put a lien on the home, meaning you will be responsible for a pair of liens, one from your lending institution and one from ARCH.
BTXPen – 3rd Place $10,000
The BTXPen is an innovation spurred on by Cheryl Miuse, a nurse of 35 years, who saw the need for a much simpler way of injecting Botox.
“It’s the only device that’s open, and so the injector – you can fill it with whatever product they need to fill it with. Whereas all the devices now are closed, which means they are filled by pharmaceutical companies,” said Miuse.
Injecting Botox can be a tricky business according to Miuse due to the precise, tiny amounts used and the multiple number of injections needed for treatments.
The BTXPen is unique in that it allows the user to fill the pen/syringe and set a dial for an accurate injectible dose.
“The more we get exposed, the more people come up to us and say I wish this pen was available when I was doing these types of actions, like in fertility,” said Miuse.
Finally, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce awarded it’s own prize – $2,500 cash – to Engagement Agents, whose digital platform converts digital marketing elements from a retailer leasing with a shopping centre into a design that matches advertising campaigns created by their landlords.
All finalists were awarded a free one-year membership to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.