Innovation and success in Miami's burgeoning tech industry were highlighted at Friday afternoon's Technology Leaders of the Year Awards, hosted by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
More than 400 people attended the fourth-annual ceremony, held at Jungle Island.
Technology involving healthcare and solutions for managing data online were common themes among a few of the finalists.
The Best Use of Technology award went to Patricia Smith, chief information officer at the nonprofit Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, an agency that works with the state to oversee foster care and related services.
She headed a program to give caseworkers cellphones and laptops with specialized software to make it easier to keep track of foster children.
The Best Up & Coming Technology Innovator award went to Albert Santalo, CEO of CareCloud in Miami. It works with the healthcare industry to provide online solutions to replace medical practice management software.
The top chief information officer award went to Alejandro Romillo of Health Choice Network in Doral. He oversees network support to more than 5,100 users of the company's healthcare technology services.
And Fausto Fleites, a computer programming Ph.D student at Florida International University, was named the top technology student of 2010.
Bill O'Dowd, CEO of Dolphin Digital Media, gave the keynote speech stressing what children -- the customers of tomorrow -- will be demanding of the next generation of technology products. "We have to be where the consumer wants it at all times,'' O'Dowd said.
O'Dowd pointed out that the Moviefone service went from being a telephone number to a phone app with showtimes and trailers accessible anywhere. Music has gone from CD store to downloading straight to an iPod. And calling 911 has turned into OnStar sensing an accident and calling you.
"The genie is out of the bottle,'' O'Dowd said. "We cannot put our head in the sand and say we don't live in a digital world. We do. Our kids really do."