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Teenager a popular winner at TechAwards

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Young winner: Berkeley Institute student Jacari Renfroe is flanked by chairman of the E-Commerce Advisory Board Aaron Smith, left, and Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development

A 14-year-old robotics specialist from Berkeley Institute stole the show at the 2016 TechAwards.

Themed a Celebration of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the awards night saw an audience of more than 100 tech entrepreneurs offer the greatest applause to teenager Jacari Renfroe who was honoured for his work at BIOS, the independent US non-profit scientific research and educational organisation based in Bermuda.

Jacari is in the BIOS Marine Science Internship Programme and won TechAwards Most Innovative Youth Programme after having been nominated by BIOS research specialist Matt Enright.

Jacari built a remotely-operated vehicle that allows marine biologists to assess bacterial development within water samples at the depth the sample is taken. This provides for controls on temperature and pressure in the surrounding water.

For more than a century, BIOS-based researchers and visiting scientists have worked to explore the ocean and address important local and global environmental issues.

The Bermuda Broadcasting Company (BBC) won for the Most Innovative Mobile App of the Year — a free product that allowed viewers to watch multiple streams of televised Olympic coverage.

Director of the Department of E-Commerce, Dr Marisa Stones said: “BBC’s Olympic App revolutionised sports watching in Bermuda, enabling fans to view round-the-clock coverage of the Rio Summer games on 13 channels streamed live over their phones or tablets. Tens of thousands of residents watched more than 100,000 hours of Olympic action, downloading some 400 million megabytes of data.”

The winner of the International Innovation of the Year — Hamilton Group’s new website — may also be the most impressive new tech development.

The site uses proprietary algorithmic learning software, geo-localisation and predictive analytics to learn with every click. It features a customised experience which recalls previous visits for every user. Under the direction of the Hamilton Group’s senior management, it was designed by the Bermuda-based corporate communications team.

Bermuda Virtual Tours Ltd was presented with the top Local Innovation for their ultra-high resolution 360-degree panoramic virtual tours they provide their business and real estate clients. Displayed on the Google Street View trusted platform this is a great way to showcase a business in front of potential customers and stand out from the competition.

Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, congratulated the finalists. Noting how they continue to provide technology solutions that not only inspire and empower us every day, he said they also showcase Bermuda as a great testing ground and launch pad for innovation and achievement.

Dr Gibbons said: “This Government is committed to business and job growth and to the recovery of our economy and as such, it embraces partnerships that assist us in achieving these goals. We are confident that through continuously offering opportunities to our local Bermudian entrepreneurs we can help to foster economic growth, create opportunities for new business and facilitate job creation.”

A BBC screen presentation discussed how the BBC app was developed against the clock, after a destructive lightning strike hit Bermuda Broadcasting just months before the Olympics and threatened to cripple its ability to screen live action from the games.

A global search for answers led to collaboration with IT solution providers in India, Canada and the UK. The app created a real buzz — not only among viewers and advertisers, but also, evidently, among fellow techies and media folk.

TechAwards night: pictured are, seated from left, Vinisha Saltus, Juanee Scott, Quinton Grant, Rockel Mundy and Tony McWilliam. Standing, from left are William Francis, Marisa Stones, Jacari Renfroe, Nick Kempe, Grant Gibbons, Ian Rawlins, Gary Foster Skelton, Patrick Singleton, Aaron Smith, and Joe Mahoney