Stephane Contré wins the 2008 novaNAIT Challenge

Today, NAIT announced the winner of the inaugural novaNAIT Technology Commercialization Challenge (see our previous coverage here). Stephane Contré beat out seven other finalists and was awarded $10,000 in novaNAIT services for his innovative crime forecasting software.

novaNAIT Challenge 2008Stephane Contré

The software, called Daily Crime Forecast, is based on a unique forecasting model that is up to 9.2 times better than a random prediction. Risk is predicted by time-of-day and is plotted on a map (currently Microsoft MapPoint is being used). The software is currently being tested with Stephane’s employer, Edmonton Transit. His data shows that since January 2006, officer initiated calls are up 159% and reactive calls are down 52%, which means officers are better able to anticipate crimes before they happen.

It’s not quite Minority Report, but it does facilitate a more effective deployment of police resources than conventional models. Stephane says that he’s received inquiries about adapting his software to other areas beyond crime, such as traffic (perhaps predicting collisions).

This is the second police-related announcement to come out of NAIT in the last few days – on Friday, a team of NAIT students won a competition aimed at attracting young police recruits.

David Burry, Coordinator of the Prototype Development Program at novaNAIT, told me he was very impressed with the response to the novaNAIT challenge this year. They received 35 submissions from entrepreneurs in the Edmonton area, and are keen to hold the competition again next year. They’re still in the planning stages, but David would love to see the challenge return “bigger and better” in 2009. He hinted at the possibility of expanding beyond Edmonton too, perhaps in collaboration with NAIT partners such as SAIT.

Congratulations to Stephane and to all of the participants! This is a great program for Edmonton entrepreneurs, and I look forward to next year’s challenge. You can see more photos and video from today’s announcement here. The official NAIT press release is available here.