featured | Historic Super Bowl football commercial honors mobile tech pioneers

Best Buy mobile brand showcases Ray Kurzweil.
February 1, 2012


Ray Kurzweil | Text-to-speech



Kevin Systrom | Creator of Instagram


Jim McKelvey | Created Square Mobile Pay


Neil Papworth | Sent the first SMS message


Daniel Henderson | Video sharing


Chris Barton and Avery Wang | Helped create Shazam



Mashable | According to a report in Bloomberg, Best Buy was planning to hire a celeb spokesman for its Super Bowl ad, but switched course after Steve Jobs’s death on Oct. 5, 2011. At that point, Best Buy chief marketing officer Drew Panayiotou, “realized Silicon Valley inventors are today’s stars.”

“We are thrilled to have a stage as significant as the Big Game to showcase all that Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile have to offer,” said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy mobile division.

Best Buy’s Big Game spot was created by agency CP+B and directed by Wayne McClammy. It was shot in 6 locations in 3 countries. The innovators featured in the spot include:

Philippe Kahn — created the camera phone and MotionX
video | hwww.youtube.com/watch?v=wMVuFybjkf0

Philippe Kahn | Camera phone and MotionX

Philippe Kahn is a technology innovator and entrepreneur who has founded four successful technology companies. Kahn is married to Sonia Lee, who he co-founded Fullpower/MotionX LightSurf and Starfish Software with. They have a daughter Sophie whose memorable camera-phone first pictures dates her birth to June 11th, 1997. Together, Lee and Kahn run an environmental charity, the Lee-Kahn Foundation.

While at LightSurf Technologies, Kahn developed one of the first camera phones. His team at LightSurf built the first end-to end solution for picture messaging, and was the first to share pictures instantly on public networks. LightSurf’s core technology, the LightSurf 6 Open Standards MMS Platform, allows users to capture, view, annotate and share multimedia messages with any handset or e-mail address. It was the first commercially deployed inter-carrier MMS solution in North America, with over 400 million media messages shared on Sprint’s network. In 2005, LightSurf was acquired by VeriSign.

Ray Kurzweil — invented text-to-speech

Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of re-creating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.

Ray has written four nationally best-selling books. His latest book, The Singularity Is Near, was a New York Times bestseller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology, has received 19 honorary doctorates, and received awards from three U.S. presidents. KurzweilAI.net, his website on future technology, had more than 2.3 million unique visitors in 2011.

Text-to-speech is utilized on mobile devices by enabling the reading of information for a visually challenged person, or it may be used to augment the reading of a text message or email. It is often used with voice recognition to answer questions.

Neil Papworth — sent the first SMS message

Papworth is currently a software architect at Tekelec in Montreal. A graduate of Thames Valley University, he has been involved in product architecture and software engineering at technology companies for over 20 years.

Papworth is credited with sending the first SMS text message. While working with Sema Group in Newbury, England at age 22, Papworth sent his historic greeting to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone, during a Christmas party. Since cell phones were not yet designed to type out and send individual letters of the alphabet, Papworth sent “Merry Christmas” from a computer keyboard. It took some time for cellphones to evolve into send/receive capability.

Paul & David Bettner — created Words With Friends

Paul and David Bettner are the brothers behind Words With Friends, the word building game that has taken the world by storm by challenging players to create the highest-scoring words on a game board while playing against another opponent – friend or random. They first launched Chess With Friends in November, 2008 followed by Words With Friends in July, 2009. Paul is now Vice President and General Manager of Zynga With Friends based in McKinney, Texas, where David is Studio Director.

Words With Friends is a part of the ‘With Friends’ franchise, which has grown to four games and continues to connect players with their friends, family and even random opponents through its in-game chat and triple letter words. Available on Facebook, Android devices, iPad, iPhone and iPodtouch, Words With Friends continues to hover at the top of the App Store charts and is currently the number three game on Facebook by DAU according to Appdata.com.

Kevin Systrom — creator of Instagram

After graduating from Stanford in 2006, Systrom spent two years at Google where he worked on Gmail and Google Reader. In 2010, he launched Instagram. Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos, apply a filter, and share it on the service or variety of other social networking services. It was launched in Apple’s App store in October 2010, and by December it had one million registered users.

Jim McKelvey — created Square Mobile Pay

Jim McKelvey is co-founder of Square, a mobile payment platform. A renowned glass blower, he was trying to sell one of his pieces over the phone to a woman in Panama, and lost his sale because he could not accept American Express. He founded Square in 2009 as a way to prevent small business from not being able to accept certain payment cards.

Square was the first mobile payment system for smartphones. The miniature, square shaped, thumb-sized slot plugs into any Android or iPhone/iPad device and allows users to securely swipe credit cards and process instant payment. Instead of charging up to 5 percent of the gross sale like most machines, Square charges a fixed 2.75 percent. McKelvey built the prototype card-readers as Dorsey worked on the software. By the end of 2009, Square had over 100,000 customers, today it has over a million.

Chris Barton and Avery Wang —  helped create Shazam

Chris Barton and Avery Wang were two of Shazam’s four founders (Philip Inghelbrecht and Dhiraj Mukherjee being the other two). Chris Barton had the original idea for Shazam and sought out “the smartest guy he could find” to build his vision. Avery Wang was that guy. He became the principal inventor of Shazam’s recognition algorithms and is still Chief Scientist at Shazam. Barton is currently employed at Dropbox and serves as a Shazam Board observer.

Shazam’s roots are in music, enabling people to identify, buy and share music discoveries through an acoustic fingerprint algorithm. This amazing service began even before there were smartphones by delivering a text result to UK fans that dialed 2580 and held their phone towards the music. Today, Shazam connects more than 175 million people, in over 200 countries and 30 languages to the music, TV and brands they love. Shazam works with music labels, TV program producers and broadcasters, as well as every major mobile platform and carrier, making it the world’s leading media discovery company – and one of the most popular apps in the market (106).

Shazam is the world’s leading media discovery company with more than 175 million people in 200 countries and adding another 1.5 million new users each week. Shazam is the best way for people to discover, explore, buy, and share, music, TV shows and branded content. For further information about Shazam Entertainment visit www.shazam.com and @ShazamNews or follow us on Facebook. For daily music updates follow the Shazam Blog and @Shazam.
The Wall Street Journal: MarketWatch | “Best Buy uses the Big Game stage to focus on mobile technology”
Mashable | “Best Buy Super Bowl ad swaps celebs for tech innovators Instagram and Square”