The Buzz: Excellent Icons
Aug 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart
Randal Lemke, PhD, executive director of ICIA (left) and Chris Miller, CTS, president of ICIF and the first recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award (right). ICIF is the International Communications Industries Foundation.
Here's juxtaposition for you: industry veteran Hubert Wilke accepts his lifetime achievement award backed by the dazzling, modern glow of a Barco MiPIX LED wall. One of Wilke's important accomplishments as the pioneer of AV consultancy was convincing the builders of the Sears Tower in the early '70s to include a wiring shaft for AV. Such seemingly mundane triumphs transform an industry where the definition of cutting-edge moves at nearly the speed of signal.
Wilke's poignant speech, thanking some of the now-deceased young lions he came up with and celebrating achievements that are now entrenched in the everyday, lent context to a sold-out evening that was packed with feats of engineering that will one day seem commonplace.
In this way, the first annual ICIA AV Excellence awards captured what is rewarding and bittersweet about this industry. People who build equipment and systems are nearly all drawn to the cutting edge, and they solve today's problems with a gusto that belies the shelf life of their breakthroughs. The evening also reminded us that there is a thread that connects each new accomplishment to the next. Being taken for granted is perhaps the ultimate legacy.
Hubert Wilke, Distinguished Achievement Award winner.
Of course, the festivities, as hosted by industry veteran Randy Pagnan, focused on the newest crop of engineering and integration accomplishments. On the products front, the ceremony honored the Best Installation Products. As the systems integrators rooted for their favorites — and the manufacturers rooted for themselves — honors went to JBL's PD5000 Series two-way loudspeakers, Polycom's SoundStation VTX 1000 mixer, Listen Technologies' LR-600 wireless speaker/receiver, Biamp Systems' AudioFLEX, Barco's SLM-series projectors, Da-Lite's Integrated Screen Control, Sharp Electronic's LC-M300 LCD monitor, AMX's Modero ViewPoint 8400 control product, Crestron's RoomView 4.0 software, Premier Mounts, and Analog Way's Octo-FX OFX802 and Extron's Systems IP (tied for best VSP or distribution product).
The continuing interest in rental and staging was supported with both product and installation awards. Product winners included EAW's SLAM KF730 loudspeaker, DiGiCo's D5 Live FM mixer, Christie's LX65 LCD projector, NEC's 61-inch XGA plasma, JELCO's EZ-LIFT, High End Systems' DL-1 digital light engine, Wybron's Nexera lighting, ETC's Emphasis lighting controller, Unique Business Systems' R2 Rental Businessware software, Vista Systems' Montage, Son's DXC-D50 camera with Triax, aV Stumpfl's Monoblox mobile projection screen, ClearCom's CellCom wireless intercom, and Barco's MiPIX LED pixel block — the same technology that formed the evening's staging backdrop.
The installation awards were particularly interesting because they honored events across an enormous budget range, from Staging Solutions under-$10,000 installation for the Metro Light-Rail opening to Duocom's ambitions staging for the 14th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf and Show Department's work for the Walgreen's Manager's Meeting — both winning in the over-$200,000 technology budget category. In the $50,000-to-$200,000 range, Alford Media's Proctor and Gamble Awards staging and Colortone/Cinecraft Productions' work for Big O Tires were both honored. Under-$50,000 kudos went to Eleven Producciones' Mazda 20th anniversary event. The awards also acknowledged companies that met unique challenges. Alford Media won the award for most innovative use of technology for a smaller-format event for a BellSouth event; Cleveland Corporate services won for best trade-show booth at the NPE show; Duocom won for best outdoor event for Montreal's Urban Passenger, Live on the Conveyer Pier; and Schraff Weisberg was honored for its unique Sinatra event.
The evening's flashiest awards celebrated one of the most important and challenging trends in AV: the integration of AV systems tightly into the architecture and aesthetics of the installation. Important collaborations for six spectacular-looking projects were honored: the Queen Mary 2 for architect The Design Team and integrator Nautilus Entertainment Design; Christian Dior New York for architect Mr. Architecture and integrator Essential Communications; Fashion Show Las Vegas for architects Orne + Associates (design) and Altoon and Porter (of record) and integrator Vantage Technology Consulting Group; Hangar One, Scottsdale, Arizona, for architect Swaback Partners and integrator Automation iQ; the Richard B. Fisher Center at Annadale-on-Hudson for architect Frank Gehry and integrator SPL Integrated Solutions; and the National Constitution Center for architect Pei Cobb Freed and integrator Electrosonic.
The ICIA rounded out the evening by choosing its own Educator of the Year — Mario Maltese joins a long list of great past recipients — and the first annual Volunteer of the Year, the indefatigable Christopher Miller.