Innovative technology is one of the key elements the judges looked for in selecting the winners for the Project Excellence category of the BCS IT Industry Awards, says Steve Markwell, chief executive at NCC and chair of the judges for the Project Excellence Awards. "We were looking for exciting projects that delivered evidence of real business results or social benefits, and we were not disappointed. It was a real challenge to select these winners and medallists."
A potentially life-saving mobile patient care reporting system won the Mobile Technology Award supported by the CMA. Siren ePCR, CSC's emergency care system for ambulance services, is used by the NHS in the North, Midlands and East of England. The system is delivered with software developer Medusa.
Siren ePCR, which is installed on touch-screen tablet PCs used by ambulance staff, records patient information such as blood pressure and ECG statistics using wireless technology. This gives paramedics the ability to access a summary of the patient's notes to help them determine the best course of treatment, often negating the need to take the patient to A&E.
Already in use by three of the six ambulance service trusts under the CSC NHS contract, it is hoped the system will be deployed to all 2,500 ambulances and up to 20,000 staff in the North, Midlands and East of England in two to three years.
Markwell says, "Although it is still early days, this project is overcoming traditional boundaries with proven mobile technology and giving enormous long-term potential to save lives and money."
Through its CSC Alliance, CSC has combined the skills and capabilities of a world-class group of companies, each with a track record in public sector and healthcare IT, to deliver the NHS National Programme for IT, of which this project is part.
Medallists in this category were Mobyko.com by Mobyko and Tesco Next Generation Network by Deloitte.
Research & Development
A one-man company collected the first Research & Development Award for tackling the problem of rendering convincing real-time simulated weather effects - a longstanding challenge in computer graphics.
The Simul Weather SDK by Simul Software renders real-time, volumetric, dynamic clouds and weather effects for games and simulations. The software offers the possibility for the first time to have convincing 3D clouds and weather effects, constantly moving and changing as they do in real life on the computer screen as part of a computer game or simulation. The clouds can reflect time-of-day changes on a frame-by-frame basis as physically correct lighting is calculated from time of day, year and global location.
The software has been developed to offer high-performance and visual quality with limited use of CPU and graphics hardware resources.
Markwell says, "This is a highly creative and innovative solution to a well known and difficult computational problem. It is applicable in a wide range of graphics-based industries, such as simulation games and movies."
Simul Software was founded in 2007 by Roderick Kennedy. He operates the company with a determination to compete in the international market and show the world that Britain is leading the way in research and development.
Medallists in this category were BT Intelligent Video Delivery and BT Real-time Platform Analysis Dashboard.
Information Security and Data Management
Information has become one of the currencies of modern society, moving information assurance from the IT department and onto the agenda in the boardroom. One threat for many organisations is loss of information through e-mail systems. One stray e-mail can give competitors a potential source of vital facts or seriously damage a reputation at the press of the send button.
MessageLabs collected the Ricoh Information Security and Data Management Award for helping organisations to combat this threat with its Policy Based Encryption (PBE) service.
MessageLabs' PBE service enables organisations of any size to create highly flexible and sophisticated rules for the encryption of outbound e-mails, preventing the loss of confidential data through either accidental or deliberate e-mailing activity, facilitating regulatory compliance. The service provides easy access to encrypted e-mails through a wide choice of delivery mechanisms, including push and pull methodologies, and recipients do not require specialist knowledge or tools to read their mail.
Judge Louise Bennett, chair of the BCS Security Forum, explains, "This service gives businesses the ability to take responsibility for the security of all personal and sensitive data that they transmit in e-mails. At the same time, it enhances the confidence of message recipients, be they individuals or organisations, because their data is protected without having to invest in, or understand, high-quality security technology."
PBE is the only service to offer encryption that integrates with three leading encryption suppliers. This integration allows for a seamless service, which can ensure complete and secure delivery of encrypted e-mail to any recipient, whatever their operating system, device or location.
Medallists in this category were Norwegian e-Health Infrastructure based on XML by Xenos Europe and Mobile Stop and Search by Arrk Group and Airwave.
Social Contribution & Business to Business
An innovative application from Concentra, C-PORT (Chemotherapy Planning Oncology Resource Tool), was a double winner at this year's awards, walking away with the project excellence awards for Social Contribution and Business to Business, sponsored by IBM.
C-PORT applies advanced modelling techniques to tackle the problem of chemotherapy capacity planning. It uses leading-edge techniques in simulation to forecast how each patient will experience care, how long they wait, whom they see, and when. It creates, in simulated form, real life events that influence treatment, such as equipment breakdowns, phone calls, meetings and absenteeism.
Markwell says, "This project was a clear winner in both categories. C-PORT was voted winner of the Social Contribution Award because it represents a major contribution to cancer care and NHS reputation. It gives real world analysis to help the NHS improve quality of care and save lives."
The project brings a wide range of benefits for all those involved, especially patients, who benefit from shorter waiting times on their chemotherapy treatment and improved access to new therapies.
In addition, the project allows the NHS to have a standardised way of evaluating the impact of new drugs, plan resources, manage its business planning and change working practices
The web-based tool is available in more than 160 hospitals across 34 NHS networks. As well as gaining endorsement at the top of the NHS as an essential tool to improve cancer service delivery, it has been welcomed by clinicians, pharmacists, nurses and managers.
A landmark level of co-operation among an extensive team of stakeholders ensured the project was a success. Organisations involved in delivering this project ranged from pharmaceutical companies, NHS Cancer Networks, the NHS Cancer Services Collaborative and the Cancer Action Team of the Department of Health through to the IT sector, supported by consultants AT Kearney and primary technology partner Concentra.
Chris Sharp of IBM explains, "One of the reasons IBM sponsors the Business to Business award is to raise awareness of the positive impact that technology can have on our lives. C-PORT is an excellent example of this.
"It is impressive how advanced mathematical modelling has been brought to bear on the complex scheduling problem of chemotherapy capacity planning, in a way that can empower everyone involved in the delivery process, from NHS planners to the nursing staff working with the patients, to help improve the delivery of care. It is an excellent example of a project that has a real business and social benefit."
Social Contribution medallists were Emotional Support through SMS by Samaritans and Charity Technology Exchange by Charity Technology Trust.
Business to Business medallists were the LINKFresh solution for Produce World by Anglia Business Solutions and Greenstone Acco2unt by Greenstone Carbon Management.
C-PORT was not the only double award winner in the Project Excellence section. Garlik's DataPatrol project collected the Web-based Technology Award and the coveted BT Flagship Award for Innovation. DataPatrol is the world's first semantic technology platform that aims to give consumers power over their privacy and identity online.
Medallists in the Web-based Technology Award were the StrategyEye Subscription Platform by StrategyEye and Used Vehicle Search Implementation by Trader Media Digital.
Photos from the awards ceremony
Photos of IT folk enjoying themselves at the BCS awards dinner >>
Profiles of award winners
More information about the BCS IT Industry Awards can be found on the BCS awards website.
This was first published in December 2008