NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nissan says it found one more way to keep track of what the most innovative thinkers are doing. The company sponsored the first ever Southland Southern Culture and Technology Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference brought together more than 500 entrepreneurs, investors and innovators to connect the Southeast's best early-stage companies with investors from across the country.
"We're able to provide them mentorship and teaching and training, industry expertise and experience and in exchange for that they also are able to provide us with new ideas, contact into areas that maybe we wouldn't otherwise see, at least not as early as we would otherwise see them, so I think it's a good relationship that we are trying to build," said Chad Kartchner with Nissan's Marketing Innovation Lab.
One lucky start-up, Variable, Inc., won the "Nissan Most Innovative Company" award and a $10,000 check.
Dr. George Yu, who holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech, created a device called a NODE modular wireless sensor. It's the world's first wireless sensor system. It syncs with your smart phone and can be used for things like motion mapping for animation, physical therapy or even motion based cues like detecting when the washer stops or the door opens.
"This is information that we as humans cannot really perceive easily, but technology today allows you to do this. We're very happy that we were chosen. The funds will go a long way," said Yu.
"He has created an innovation that is a platform for further innovation, so we don't really know where could that product be used in the future -- in cars certainly. It just kind of depends on the creativity of all the different developers that he is trying to go enlist to develop on his platform now," said Kartchner.
Nissan's marketing tagline is "Innovation that Excites," so company executives say supporting new ideas and leaders makes sense. Nissan Motor Company's headquarters for its Americas region is in Nashville, Tennessee.
"We're just looking for that next idea or that next space. Technology is rapidly changing the way we communicate, rapidly changing the way we do lots of things," said Kartchner.
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