Innovations in Technology Awards
Apr 1, 2003 12:00 PM, S&VC Staff
From now on, the spring awards season will no longer be dominated by talk of the famous gold statuettes coveted by Tinseltown. In the systems integration world, there is a new kid on the awards block. At last month's NSCA Systems Integration Expo, NSCA and Sound and Video Contractor magazine, in conjunction with ProSoundWeb, launched the Innovations in Technology awards, recognizing the companies and their products that have created a significant impact on the industry.
AN HONOR TO BE NOMINATED
Exhibitors at NSCA Expo were invited to submit for consideration products they believed met the criteria in six categories: audio, control systems, convergence, security/fire/life safety, video/display technology, and Web site. Finalists within each category were chosen by a nominating committee consisting of expert systems integrators, consultants, and editors. At the NSCA annual meeting on Thursday, March 13, each finalist was presented with a plaque for display in its booth for the duration of the show. The nominees in each category were:
Allen and Heath iDR Series
Audio Control Multizone Internet controlled power amplifier
Hear Technologies Hear Back
Alcorn McBride WEBster
Extron MediaLink system
Lynx Broadband Lynx A/V and data network
Broadata Communications Concierge multimedia fiberstation
Gefen Ex-Tend It VGA-to-DVI adapter
Commtech Wireless BASEPage 2000
Tel Tron Companion One
Fire Control Instruments NetSolo
Smart Technologies DViT technology platform for touch-sensitive displays
Da-Lite Screen Company integrated screen control
Wolfvision VZ-C10 ceiling visualizer
Another new feature was the S&VC Innovations in Technology pavilion, which provided a display of all nominated products and a venue for final voting. Expo attendees could familiarize themselves with the nominated products — presented in a low-key, even-handed display format — and then visit a Web site for more information, before making their final choices among the six categories.
“We wanted to present a ‘trade show within a trade show’ environment but in a very controlled presentation,” says Mark Mayfield, S&VC editor. “Our hope was that voters could get a sense of the product if they were not already familiar with it and then make a choice based on the product's merits rather than by the quality of the display.”
Chuck Wilson, NSCA executive director, said the Innovations in Technology awards is a way to recognize exhibitors who have really made an impact on the advancement of the industry and caused a major shift in the way systems contractors do business. “The pavilion was a great way for attendees to see and interact with these products — some new and cutting edge and others existing but important to the industry,” Wilson says. “It added an interesting dynamic to the show floor, and we are very proud of its success.”
Inside the pavilion, voters were allowed to vote for one product within each category during trade show hours beginning Thursday and ending late Saturday morning.
AND THE WINNERS ARE …
Winners were announced to an anxious gathering on Saturday afternoon near the end of trade show exhibit hours.
For the Audio category, Hear Technologies took top honors for its Hear Back personal monitor mixer system. A basic Hear Back system consists of a hub and as many as eight personal mixers connected using standard Cat-5E cables and allows local control of as many as ten channels of audio (eight inputs and a stereo aux input).
Crestron Electronics was the top vote-getter in the Control Systems category, for its MP2E. The new MP2E is a low-cost complete room control and audio/video switch solution. Featuring the powerful 2-Series control engine and its revolutionary dual-bus architecture at its core, the MP2/MP2E offers 4 MB of onboard Flash memory.
The new Concierge fiberstation from Broadata Communications got the nod in the Convergence category. This category recognizes products that are multifunctional and allows the integration of multiple technologies. The Concierge fiberstation packages 12 advanced multimedia services in a 13-inch card cage that fits into an industry-standard floor or wall box.
In the Security/Fire/Life Safety group, the BASEPage 2000 from Comm tech Wireless won the trophy. BASEPage 2000 is a high-end Windows-based messaging platform that incorporates all forms of text messaging into a single unified platform. It is primarily used by hospitals, emergency services, and casinos for mission-critical dispatch of messages to pagers and mobile phones.
The Innovations in Technology award in the Video/Display Technology category went to Smart Technologies for the new DViT (Digital Vision Touch) technology. DViT technology uses proprietary digital cameras and sophisticated software to determine the contact of a finger, stylus, pointer or other object on a touch-sensitive display.
Crestron Electronics was recognized again with the top honor, this time for the Web site category at www.crestron.com. Crestron's Web site was recognized for its visual appearance, ease of navigation, and informational content.
All nominees and winners were thrilled with the recognition and excitement created by the new Innovations in Technology awards. The overwhelming success of the awards program's debut sparked hopes among organizers that it would become an ongoing incentive for all manufacturers, across all categories, to continue to pursue product innovation in design and excellence in performance for their customers.