JERSEY CITY, N.J., Dec. 14, 2011 — Opera Solutions, LLC (www.operasolutions.com), a global leader in machine learning science and advanced Big Data analytics, today announced the winner of their fourth annual Opera Open innovation competition. Media Moguls, captained by Principal Scientist Frank Elliott (San Diego), and including Carmine Mangione (San Diego), Tajinder Singh (New Delhi) and Kylie Francis (Jersey City), was awarded 1st place and $50,000 for their idea - an adaptive network based upon social networking analytics that aims to deliver a vastly increased selection of movies and TV to viewers on demand.
The Opera Open gives employees an outlet to use their business acumen and creativity in applying Opera's analytics, technology, and machine learning capabilities to new solutions and business areas. The competition is open to all except senior management, who are expected to mentor teams and provide support where needed.
Media Moguls won over stiff competition on a global scale. More than 50 teams from Opera's offices in North America, Europe, and Asia entered this year, competing for more than $100,000 in prizes. They were winnowed down to 10 finalists from which three winning teams were selected.
Other winners in the contest included Craig Nies' List, captained by NY-based Associate Joe Troyen-Schwartz, which was awarded the 2nd place prize of $20,000 for proposing a tool to help C2C marketplace consumers realize fair market value for goods they buy and sell to each other. AddSale, captained by New Delhi-based Business Analyst Harsh Shah, captured the 3rd prize of $10,000 as well as the People's Choice Award of $5,000 based on votes from employees. AddSale's idea is a tool that helps retailers better engage their customers in-store or at point of sale. More than 20 other teams garnered merit prizes for making it to the semifinals and finals.
"The ten ideas represented in the Open finals were innovative, engaging and perfect illustrations of why Opera Solutions is a center for learning and innovation in the Big Data space," said Arnab Gupta, CEO and Founder of Opera Solutions. "They also show how worthy our younger staff is of our support. These employees are truly the next generation of leaders who will continue to push Opera's thinking in a wide range of areas."
Opera typically commercializes promising ideas, allowing creators to participate in the process as much as possible. Concepts presented during prior Opera Open competitions have led to new products and solutions in a number of different areas for the company, ranging from text analytics to performance assessment for teachers and students to analytics supporting philanthropic organizations' activities. One idea opened the door for an attrition prediction assignment with a major online dating service.
This year's competition was judged by a panel comprised of Opera's senior project delivery and scientific management as well as external experts, including principals at premier private equity and venture capital firms, some of the leading machine learning scientists in the world, and business leaders.
"Every year, the Opera Open exceeds my expectations in every way," Gupta said. "I can only imagine the creative new ways our employees will leverage our capabilities and IP during next year's Open."