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Sony UK and WWF to crowdsource eco technology applications with "Open Planet Ideas"

Press release   •   Sep 01, 2010 10:38 BST

Sony UK today launched Open Planet Ideas, a new online community ‘incubator’ for collaborative technology solutions to critical environmental issues, with support from global conservation organisation WWF. This represents part of Sony’s broader commitments in sustainability, ranging from research and development of energy-efficient products to responsible materials for re-use and recycling.

Open Planet Ideas challenges participants to re‑imagine the smart use of today’s technologies to address key sustainability issues like climate change, biodiversity and water conservation.

Community members from across the globe can draw their inspiration from the environmental information hosted on the platform itself, which will give a snapshot of current environmental challenges based on the latest facts and figures assembled by WWF.

Entrants are also invited to draw inspiration from a myriad of Sony technologies – from GPS units and PSP™ handheld consoles to dye-sensitised solar cells and presence sensing software. They can propose disruptive new applications from a total of nine ‘seed’ technologies, used either individually or in radical new combinations.

This ‘mash-up’ approach to re-using current technologies was first demonstrated by Sony last year in the innovative Forest Guard project. Working with Sony, a group of young people from Califonia conceived the novel use of Sony’s IPELA  security cameras, wireless networks and photo-stitching software to create an online community of citizen firewatchers, monitoring at-risk areas where forest fires are a major environmental threat.

Adrian Northover-Smith, Head of Corporate Affairs for Sony UK, said: “Sony is committed to help create a more sustainable environment for current and future generations. This project will harness the ingenuity and creativity that exists across the globe to show the positive role technology can play in bringing about positive environmental change.”

Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, Corporate Relations Director at WWF International, said: ”WWF is always on the lookout for new ways of tackling the threats to our living planet; we are therefore delighted to be collaborating with Sony on this innovative community-driven initiative that could help address some of the world’s important environmental challenges.”

Open Planet Ideas remains open until January 2011, when the most viable concepts – as selected by the community and a panel of top Sony and WWF experts – will be taken forward to examine their technical and environmental viability. The top collaborators and winning idea conceptors will then work together with a team of Sony designers and engineers to develop the idea further in the ‘realisation’ stage of the programme.

Open Planet Ideas has been developed in collaboration with global design and innovation consultancy IDEO to harness the collective power of communities to foster environmental and social good. It draws on community input at every stage of the project – from the initial ‘inspiration’ phase to help refine the challenge through to evaluation and eventual realisation.

The platform’s inherent flexibility encourages collaboration via a range of different media. Inspirations and observations can be shared as digital photos, videos or simple notes.

Tom Hulme, design director at IDEO, said: “People in the online community are working together to address some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. IDEO’s platform gives them a meeting place — really,  a workspace — to share inspiration, generate ideas, and work toward positive environmental change.”

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