Research Sharing, Translation, Big Winners At GigTank

Last week, GigTank Demo Day ended Chattanooga's 14 week GigTank program. The GigTank was an initiative designed to highlight Chattanooga's gigabit network, the fastest citywide broadband network in the nation. Twelve judges from a variety of tech giants analyzed ideas from eight teams and eleven students. The event awarded $100,000 to Banyan and $50,000 to student team Babel Sushi. Both entered the competition to show the world what can be done with a gig.

Local news 12 WDEF covered the story:

Banyan provides solutions to the logistical and authorship challenges faced by researchers. With a modern user interface and integrated productivity tools, Banyan facilitates collaboration and information sharing in the research industry, where the U.S. spent $67 billion in 2011.

Babel Sushi present a crowd-sourcing language app that translates conversations with almost in real time capability.

Iron Gaming won a $10,000 Warners Brothers Digital Media Award for a social gaming model focused on competitive interactive streaming content.

Charlie Brock spoke at the event. Brock is Executive Entrepreneur at CO.LAB, one of the corporate co-hosts of the program:

"We're proud of Banyan's big win today, and believe that they're positioned to shape the future of collaborative research. But each of these teams has the potential to transform the industries they're working in. The teams have left an impressive stamp on Chattanooga's thriving entrepreneurial culture, and now they're ready to take what they've built here this summer and make great things happen."

Without attempting to take any of the excitement away from those developing gigabit apps, we would be remiss to note that these high capacity networks are important even if there is no single app that requires a gig of connectivity. As The Economist recently noted, the network is important as a platform for all kinds of applications, not just the fastest ones. Community networks are essential for unleashing innovation. If they can also deliver a gig today, so much the better. But the important goal is not any one speed -- it is a network that enables innovation rather than limiting capacity to maximize profits for a single monopolistic industry.