WASHINGTON, D.C. — PILOT, an innovation initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), announced the 12 finalists of its second annual PILOT Innovation Challenge. The PILOT Innovation Challenge recognizes creative ideas that leverage technological advances in the production, distribution and display of engaging content.

Winners will be selected and announced November 13 at the NAB Futures conference in Palo Alto, Calif.

Over 150 ideas were submitted to address the challenge question, “What is an unconventional way broadcasters and other local media could serve communities?

In partnership with the Knight Foundation, PILOT increased the size and number of winners in this year’s Innovation Challenge. The first-place winner will receive $30,000, second place $25,000 and third place $20,000 with three winners receiving an Innovators Award of $15,000 to assist with prototyping the concepts. Additionally, the top six winners will receive expert guidance, access to key broadcast executives and exclusive exposure at NAB Show.

“The PILOT Innovation Challenge launched last year to showcase and help develop creative ideas and solutions with potential to positively impact the broadcast industry and its consumers and we continue to build on that success this year,” said Executive Director of PILOT John Clark. “This second group of 12 finalists have submitted a variety of unconventional ideas to address this year’s challenge question. We’re excited to announce our finalists at NAB Show New York and ultimately decide the winners at NAB Futures.”

This year’s finalists are:

  • Drone the News (DTN)
    Central Michigan University
    DTN connects broadcasters to their communities by instructing them on agile drone technology that can be used for coverage. Broadcasters can also invite community drone users to send in user-generated content for sharing online or on the air.
  • End-to-End Audio Solution for VR Live Streaming
    G’Audio Lab
    An end-to-end software-driven audio system for VR livestreaming as a plug-and-play format that can be adopted into any 360-degree video rendering platform.
  • Engagement VR: Transparent Community Interaction
    E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University
    Engagement VR offers a simple solution for newsrooms to create virtual tours of less covered parts of their viewing areas to help audiences understand the role journalists play in community building.
  • Google Question Generator
    Cornell University IRL School
    The Google Question Generator tracks the most common searches made on the search engine in relevant news regions. By filtering for key words, reporters can track which stories are getting the most attention and in which regions.
  • Immersive Storytelling & an Ethic of Care
    University of Colorado Boulder
    This project experiments with digital storytelling platforms and determines if interactive, augmented reality and virtual reality storytelling can help develop an “ethic of care” in viewers. The case study features three to six female photographers whose projects deal with the environmental impacts of oil and gas extraction.
  • LiveWorks
    LiveWorks is a chat application that provides live 360-degree video streams that allow for multiple camera feeds and graphics to be sent to Next Gen TV enabled Smart TV’s.
  • nēdl (“needle”)
    Ayinde Alakoye
    nēdl allows radio listeners to use speech recognition to eliminate the need to go station-to-station to find specific news, sports, talk and music.
  • NewsBIN VLOG
    University of Maryland
    Combines broadcast journalism and YouTube’s popular first-person vlogging style to create a new format of video journalism.
  • Next Gen TV Saving Lives One Alert at a Time
    “Next Gen TV: Saving Lives One Alert at a Time” will enable North Carolina’s public safety community to provide timelier responses to emergencies by datacasting technology over broadcast television.
  • Pivotal News
    Curated by journalists from around the world, Pivotal News using cutting-edge tools to make news that is cost-effective and interactive. The organization exists as a four-part ecosystem: a digital platform, a network of journalists, a newswire service, and a training academy.
  • RESILIENCE- Preparing for Climate Change
    Michael Ricciardi
    The RESILIENCE project will situate the local news station as the central hub (and “integrator”) of climate change resilience information, resources, and services and thus make each station integral and indispensable to its community in the coming decades of real and increasing climate change impacts to the local community.
  • Tiny (AR) Desk Reporter
    NMIEL / Cronkite School of Journalism
    The Tiny Desk Reporter will bring into the user’s own space an avatar that will give them the top headline news. Broadcasters supply the voice over for the avatar to give the update.

Additional information about the PILOT Innovation Challenge is available here.

PILOT is a coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technology and cultivating new media opportunities. PILOT propels broadcast television and radio into the future. It provides a platform for innovation, an engine for incubation, a venue for testing new technologies and a forum for broadcaster education. Learn more at nabpilot.org.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.