By Erin Coller

San Diego’s innovation economy has never been stronger, and one organization has solidified its central role in making that possible. CONNECT is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. According to CONNECT’s 2015 Innovation Report, the innovation economy in San Diego is continuing to grow and now accounts for almost $52 billion, or 24 percent, of San Diego’s GDP.

A total of 405 new innovation startups were established in San Diego in 2015, ranking San Diego County fourth in the state of California for new innovation startups created. San Diego County ranked first in California for new innovation life sciences startups created in 2015, providing for the creation of 1,650 new jobs. CONNECT has been modeled in more than 50 regions around the world, and is focused on creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital, and technology resources they need for success.

Photo courtesy of SDG&E
Photo courtesy of SDG&E

The innovation economy in San Diego has been fueled by partnerships with local businesses like San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) over the years. In the past year, SDG&E was an instrumental part of the Most Innovative New Product Awards, sponsoring the Cleantech, Sustainability, and Energy category. The Renewable Meter Adapter (RMA) technology was recognized as a finalist in the Energy category this year, and has reduced the cost and enhanced the efficiency of private solar installations, saving SDG&E customers over $5 million. SDG&E also supported CONNECT in honoring Drs. Magda Marquet and François Ferré, founders of Althea Technologies, for their lifetime achievements.

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Learn more about CONNECT’s upcoming programs and events.

“Partnerships with local businesses are critical to CONNECT’s mission, and SDG&E has played a major role supporting recently launched innovative products that are helping change the we interact with energy,” said Greg McKee, CEO of CONNECT. “As a major supporter of CONNECT, SDG&E has been true to their commitment of clean energy and sustainability through investing in companies that will drive the future of energy and by honoring the leaders that have made an impact on the San Diego innovation ecosystem.”

On Dec. 1,  CONNECT hosted its Most Innovative New Product Awards. The prestigious competition is an annual signature event at CONNECT that recognizes and lauds groundbreaking products released within the last 18 months from San Diego-based innovation companies. Thirty finalists pitched their products live in front of an expert judging panel, from which the 10 winners were selected.

Listed below, in their respective categories, are the ten 2016 Most Innovative New Product Award Winners. Photos of the winning products can be viewed here.

Bluetech: Water Pigeon – a fast, simple, secure automated water metering infrastructure (AMI), alternative solution to the existing AMI for water.

Cleantech, Sustainability, and Energy: Camston Wrather LLC’s Recycled Commodities – recovers precious metals and polymers from e-waste using green technology that produces no hazardous waste or byproducts as a result of operations.

Defense, Transportation, and Cybersecurity: Cubic Corporation’s GATR Inflatable Satellite Antenna – the only provider of inflatable satellite communication antenna solutions.

Information Communication Technologies: Aira – Develops remote assistive technology that connects the blind with a network of certified agents via wearable smart glasses and an augmented reality dashboard.

Life Science Diagnostics and Research Tools: Echo Laboratories Inc.’s Revolve – a new hybrid microscope that easily transforms between upright and inverted configurations.

Medical Devices: Onciomed, Inc.’s Gastric Vest System – a revolutionary, minimally invasive, laparoscopic, implantable device used to enable weight-loss and stomach preservation.

Pharmaceutical Drugs & Medical Devices: ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s NUPLAZID – the first and only medicine approved by the FDA for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.

Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles: CleverPet, Inc.’s CleverPet Hub – designed to fill a dog’s cognitive needs by using smart hardware to offer pets engagement anytime, automatically, whether their humans are home or not.

Software, Digital Media, and Mobile Apps: Guru’s San Diego Museum of Art App –transforms the cell phone into an experience enhancement tool through video, audio, games, augmented reality and digital tours.

Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies: Bixpy LLC’s Bixpy Jet – the world’s first and only portable, handheld water propulsion device.

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