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Aced it! AKQA scoops innovation award

AKQA has been named number one in the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list in the media and marketing category for Australia and New Zealand.

This is the third consecutive year the strategic design and innovation company has been acknowledged by the AFR for its commitment to innovation in the media and marketing category.  

The Most Innovative Companies Awards were presented via a live stream event late last week and recognised AKQA’s “Action Audio” for Tennis Australia as a world class example.

Launched at the Australian Open 2021, Action Audio enables blind and low vision sports fans to enjoy the grand slam for the first time alongside friends and family. Addressing a real problem by turning what needs to be seen into sound. 

Brian Vella, Managing Partner at AKQA Asia Pacific, says it was an honour to be recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s most innovative companies. 

“It’s humbling for the work to be recognised in such elite company. Our mission is to create a better future and this type of external recognition validates it for our partners, our team, and encourages us to keep going,” says Vella. 

“More than 600,000 blind and visually impaired Australians, and 285 million people globally, were able to experience the thrill of the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam like never before.

“Action Audio is a great example of the powerful work the people at AKQA do everyday, making a real and meaningful difference to people’s lives.”

This project is a world-first and the only existing system for augmenting live sports with sound, designed to give people who are visually impaired the ability to follow games in real-time.  

Developed in partnership with Tennis Australia and Monash University, Action Audio uses data from a ball monitoring computer vision system to emphasise key moments of play with a 3D sound design system that has been developed with the blind and low vision community.

Tim Devine, Executive Innovative Director at AKQA Asia Pacific – and based in Queenstown – says that he was proud of Action Audio and that for many visually impaired sports fans, it delivered the first opportunity for them to follow the speed and actions of a live game.

“It’s a powerful illustration of the AKQA team’s unique ability to design comprehensive experiences that align and cater to fundamental human needs and behaviour.”

“Innovation requires a mindset to challenge ourselves, our clients and society. To accept that the worlds we live in are created and could just as easily be made differently. I am proud and grateful to all of our team for their continued devotion and commitment to exploring and investigating technologies and issues that are, or will be, important to our clients and broader society. It’s the knowledge and insights gained through this exploration that allows us to innovate,” says Devine.

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