Discussions about the future of cities tend to focus on huge systems – infrastructure, bureaucracy, the economy. Those things are important – but doesn’t it make more sense to focus on people first? That could mean empowering workers to do their jobs a bit better. It could mean empowering citizens to easily engage with local services. Or it could mean empowering new ideas to thrive. Great works can come from such small beginnings.

Take apps, for example. A simple app can improve productivity, make communication easier or help keep a project on track. That’s why the brightest minds in tech are always keeping their ears to the ground for news of the next great app innovation. And Microsoft are no exception.

But instead of just scouring the web for news of the latest tech trends, the Microsoft BizSpark initative is helping to discover them. Microsoft is a sponsor of the European App Cup, an annual challenge to highlight development of ground-breaking business- and consumer-focused applications. Because of Microsoft’s focus on empowering cities through the CityNext initiative, there are even categories aimed at empowering cities and engaging citizens.

More than 200 apps, developed by teams from across Europe, were initially considered for the competition. The pool was whittled down to just a few finalist apps per category. And now, at last, the winners have been crowned.

The health care sector is vital to the future of cities, so of course the prize in the B2B CityNext category went to a health care app: MedCase. This Windows 8.1 app from Austrian developer MedCubes is aimed at helping doctors in remote areas manage patient assets and connect with a hospital data centre or other health IT system, using Windows Azure and Skype. It’s a great example of how local health care authorities can use technology to improve care not just within a hospital, but within the larger community as well.

Want to learn more about how health care providers in the UK can improve access to data at the point of care? E-mail Health-UK-Contact@microsoft.com.