Digital Alberta announced the winners for the 2013 Digital Alberta Awards at a gala event held at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton on Sunday, June 2. Now in its third year and the first time the awards were held in Edmonton, 16 winners from a pool of over 100 finalists for the 2013 awards were chosen. The Digital Alberta Awards ceremony honours digital industry experts in Alberta, ranging from philanthropy, film, software, community and education, television and gaming, mobile and start-ups, design and creative, to marketing and social media. A double award winner (and the only female award recipient!), was Victoria MacLean, co-developer of the mobile and web application BeauCoo.com, designed for women who love to shop and share fit, flatter and fashion ideas online.
BeauCoo.com claims to be “the world’s first and only body positive style network.” The mobile app and web-based social media network allows women to input their body dimensions and take photos of how clothes look and fit — and share these details and photos with other women with the same style, shape and size. The hoped-for result is that the app will make it easier for women to discover new styles, brands and stores online by matching themselves up with other women with a similar body type and fashion taste.
Victoria reports the application has a wide-range of users from ages 14 to 56. But the most popular demographic ranges from 24 to 36, many in the plus-size category. She also points out that 59% of the North American market are plus-size but only 2% of the clothing in department stores carry these sizes, a large gap in the marketplace they hope to fill.
The developers launched with the mobile application first. The beta version for the iPhone was launched in October 2012 and the full version folled out in December 2012. In January 2013, they launched the Android version and in February 2013, they launched the website. Early reports indicate that the application is finding its market. Their user base has increased 150% each month with uptake now expanding to the US and the UK.
With their next step, they plan to incorporate a full buying experience and sell quality clothing directly to their users.
At the Awards on Sunday night, the application took awards for Best Digital StartUp and Best Mobile Application.
Digital Alberta 2013 Award Winners:
Community and Education
Best in Student Interactive Digital Media and Creative Design: Jetpack Kitty, Orest Nazarewycz
A mobile game, Jetpack Kitty is the story of a jetpack equipped kitten, inadvertently shifting between alternate dimensions, while carelessly chasing a ball of yarn.
Best in E-learning: Solar Energy Defenders, MindFuel
The game, Solar Energy Defenders, challenges youth to collect energy during the day using their solar panels–taking into consideration sun angle, shadows and time of year–to power their light blasters. Their target? The vampires that crashed their last dance and busted a move on the dance floor!
Best Digital Media Leader, Community Leader, Educator, Program Leader, or Department Head: Duane Szafron, GRAND NCE
Best Digital Philanthropy Innovation: Charity App Challenge – A Hack-a-thon for Good
A hack-a-thon where 8 teams were given the challenge to build one universal app for the 12 Calgary Herald Christmas Fund Charities. The scope was designed and developed by the Charity App Challenge Steering Committee and a sub-committee of tech experts lead by Pieter Boekhoff (AcceleratorYYC/PoshView). A panel of industry experts were the judges and $37,000 was awarded to the winning team: PledgeCalgary, lead by DMG (Digital Media Group). PledgeThis is a mobile and web application designed to engage donors in fun and innovative challenges that raise money for their charities of choice. PledgeCalgary is currently in production with a launch date of this summer. All 12 charities were invited to participate in realization of this app. Their guidance had tremendous influence over content and best practices.
Film, Television and Gaming
Best in Cross-platform Content: Sketch 3D, GRAND NCE
This is an image assisted sketch-based modeling system with which the user can start with an image of the model and provide important strokes of the object by simply drawing on the image. Then system creates a 3D model using the given strokes. In addition, the appropriate portions of the image are used as the texture for the model. Some modeling actions (e.g. make a hole, or add on-demand details) are supported through annotated strokes using a red pen. The underlying 3D models are feature-sensitive subdivision surfaces with controllable details. Creating detailed digital content is a major task in industries such as Game, Film and CAD, and requires well-constructed, high quality geometric models. However, even with sophisticated software packages, geometric modeling is still a challenging, tedious and time consuming task. Using this modeling tool complex models can be created in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
Best Use of Film, Animation or Special FX: Painted Black, CH Video & Photography Inc
This experimental glitch-style music video created by Craig Hall for electronic indie artist, Airick Woodhead, uses primarily an old VHS Pro camera and a set of strobes. Taking the musicians approach to sampling old sounds, Craig Hall logged and purposefully glitched the VHS tape to create a unique series of VHS glitches that form the basis of the style for this ‘analogue’ video. Inline with the experimental approach, additional footage was incorporated, often with the beat track driving the edit. Artist – Airick Woodhead. Director / DOP / Editor – Craig Hall. Sound Engineer – Shawn Everett. Produced by Film & Media Department at The Banff Centre
Best in Gaming: Spy vs Spy, Robots and Pencils Inc
Robots and Pencils used acombination of business, ideas, art and technology to create Spy vs. Spy, which has shot to #1 in the App Store in 11 countries. Based on the original “Spy vs Spy” game, the iOS title brings back all the humor, action and fisticuffs that made the original an all-time, multi-million-unit-selling hit. This modern update takes the imaginative gameplay as designed, developed, and published by First Star Software in 1984 for the Apple II, Atari 400/800 and Commodore 64, and adds HD visuals; support of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple’s GameCenter. In this latest version the developers also added four remixes of the original music and many other new features.
Software, Mobile and Startups
Combined Hardware & Software: Experience Simulation Tools for Medical Training, GRAND NCE
Surgical simulation: Design and Evaluation. Image-guided surgery: Innovation and Education. Medical Education: Psycho-Motor Assessment on Medical Skills. Human Factors in Surgery: 3-D Perception, Eye-Hand Coordination, Movement Efficiency, Work Flow in OR.
Mobile Entertainment: Pop Quiz Show, Uppercut
Pop Quiz Show is an iPhone trivia game. Inspired by the group dynamic of board games and the style of retro TV game shows, playing Pop Quiz Show is truly social.
Mobile Applications: Beaucoo (with an honourable mention to FastCab Smartphone App)
While Beaucoo.com won the award an Honourable Mention went to FastCab smartphone application that helps people get cabs. Passengers can easily hail a nearby cab without calling dispatch and watch their selected driver approach the pickup location on their phone’s map. Drivers can easily accept hails and find their passengers’ GPS location, alleviating the “no-show” problem. Ultimately, FastCab helps passengers get to where they need to go and provides drivers with additional opportunities to earn an income.
Best In E-Commerce Solutions: Blame Betty, Cornerstone Technologies
BlameBetter is a local success story in Calgary, providing unique vintage, pin-up girl inspired styles from their 17th Avenue store for the past eight years. An on-line store was developed in order to satisfy demand among their 24,000+ Facebook followers and reach a much larger, worldwide audience. Cornerstone provided the design for Blame Betty’s new online store with many unique design details. The site is unique and appeals to their varied audience, while also being highly functional. The site was custom built in Magento and integrates with their point of sale system, allowing online inventory to sync with their physical store inventory. The site is already a huge success with substantial sales driven by a strong, integrated social media campaign.
Best Digital Startup: BeauCoo.com
Design and Creative
Best Digital Design: ARC Resources Corporate Responsibility Report, ZGM Collaborative Marketing
For ARC Resources’s 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report, ZGM brought ARC’s promise of sustainability and innovation to life in a unique online experience. Using animation and parallax scrolling, ZGM’s environmental backdrops were brought to life; clouds floated by, snowflakes fell and leaves scattered. These environments served to divide and deliver the main sections of the report, and captured the natural landscapes ARC strives to protect.
Marketing and Social Media
Best In Social Media: Make Something Edmonton, Lift Interactive Inc
Make Something Edmonton seeks to solve the Edmonton identity question by asking it’s creative citizens “what are you making?”. The site allows users to create personal and project profiles to allow fellow Edmontonians to support their efforts. 3rd party social sites are utilized.
B2C Innovation: Connecting You to Edmonton’s Past – Interactive Bus Bench Campaign, Strong Coffee Marketing
Fort Edmonton Park partnered with Strong Coffee Marketing and Aurasma.com to create an AR (Augmented Reality) experience across the City of Edmonton. After downloading the Aurasma application and following the Fort Edmonton Park Aurasma channel, transit riders scan one of the 75 bus benches throughout Edmonton and hear a short interpretive message from a costumed historical interpreter. Each day of the week has a different historical message linked to Edmonton’s past.
Best Digital Advertising/Marketing Campaign: The Big Burn, ZGM Collaborative Marketing
To prevent skin cancer caused as a result of indoor tanning, Alberta Health Services wanted to create an awareness campaign that would help teens and parents understand the risks associated with baking themselves bronze.
In addition to the judged categories, a People’s Choice award for the Most Inspirational Digital Leader is conducted through an online vote where the winner is selected by his or her peers in the digital sector. This year’s winner was Kevin Hayes from Blue Pixel Media.
Thank you to Meghan from The Agency for compiling the award information for this article and to Victoria MacLean from BeauCoo for sharing her passion with me at and after the Awards. Best of luck to her and all the other award winners.