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Foxconn Technology Group has announced the selection of 88 first round winners of the company’s Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition. The competition is an initiative that encourages sharing of fresh ideas and unconventional thinking for the benefit of Wisconsin.

During a ceremony hosted at Carthage College, Foxconn recognized outstanding ideas submitted by students, faculty, and staff from the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition promotes innovative ideas to enhance quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks and living spaces, inspire creative city planning, and promote sustainable energy solutions in Wisconsin. The competition was open to students, faculty, and staff at all University of Wisconsin campuses, technical colleges, and independent colleges in Wisconsin.

First round winners will receive $500 to help further develop their projects.

A panel of 50 judges from partners in academia and the private sector evaluated 325 submissions and selected the 88 submissions that will proceed to the second round. The highest share of ideas was in the energy and environment category.

Other entry ideas fell into the following categories: mobility and transportation, education, e-health, software, the Internet of Things, smart homes, robotics and manufacturing, and big data analytics.

Alan Yeung

“The Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition has been a catalyst for encouraging impactful ideas from the brightest minds in Wisconsin, for Wisconsin,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives. “The success of the competition and the quality of submissions speaks to the power of partnerships.

“As Foxconn continues to partner with the Badger State, its academic institutions, and its industrious people, there’s nothing we cannot achieve.”

“Foxconn is grateful to every student and faculty member who invested their time and energy to participate in this competition. Everyone who took part has distinguished themselves and demonstrated they share a commitment to improving the quality of life in their communities,” he added.

As part of the Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition, Foxconn will provide up to $1 million in cash and in-kind technical support in awards over the next three years.

Next phase underway

The next phase of the competition runs until Jan. 31. Each submission will be evaluated independently by four judges who will use six criteria to develop a numeric score. Up to 50 winners will be selected and announced on or before Jan. 31. The winners of the second round will be invited to participate in the third round of the competition, which starts from March 1 and runs through March 31.

In addition to academic partners, the competition is also supported by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the WiSys Technology Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation.

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.