The AV News Awards have a special place within Europe’s audio-visual industry, being focused on the people and community that make the business work. The Awards recognise the contribution made by the individuals in the labs and R&D centres, the sales and marketing teams and those involved in training and support for the technologies and services that comprise AV solutions.
The Awards also recognise excellence in AV technologies and in the channel that delivers them to market. AV News is delighted that the Awards again attracted a strong group of nominees and would like to extend its thanks to all those who undertook the task of filling in the forms, and to the Award sponsors who again made the whole thing possible.
AV Technologist of the Year
The AV Technologist of the Year recognises an outstanding achievement by an individual in advancing AV technology. The Award is open to nominations for individuals responsible for the development of a new technology, solution or application, and which is either currently available on the market or which will be demonstrated as a working prototype.
“I am an AV Producer, Visual Artist, VJ, Electronic Musician and inventor. I am founder of Hexstatic and Holotronica Ltd and also a co-founder of the Big Chill.”
Former AV Technologist of the Year as recently as 2015, Stuart Warren-Hill is the inventor of Holo-Gauze, audio visual producer, VJ, visual artists, electronic musician, and video cut and paste master. A visual music specialist, he created the seminal AV track “Timber” with Coldcut and Greenpeace in 1998. I was voted No.1 VJ in 2005 by DJ Magazine.
As the founder of Hexstatic, and more recently Holotronica. Suart released the world’s first audio-visual album, ‘Rewind’ by Hexstatic. in 2000 and more recently the world’s first 3D audio-visual album, called Holotronica in 2014. 2017 was also a busy year for Stuart, with users of his technology including Beyonce, Lady Gaga and superstar DJ Eric Prydz. Currently he is building a business to supply Holo-Gauze and create content for Hologram FX productions worldwide.
AV Sales Professional of the Year
The AV Sales Professional of the Year recognises the contribution that the individuals who lead or make up the sales teams of resellers, integrators, distributors or manufacturers make to advancement of the AV industry. The winner of the Award must demonstrate success in AV sales over a period of at least two years, a professional approach and innovation in sales technique.
CTOUCH Business Manager, EXERTIS
“Martin is the best kind of Salesman – you don’t know he is selling!”
Emma Thornton, Lickey Hills Primary School
Martin Price has been active in Business Development Management with Medium and then Exertis Medium for five years, having previously worked for Epson. His reseller customers really value his contribution: Keith Cotterill, Education Director, CC Communications says: “Martin is wonderful resource for Exertis to offer and if I’m being honest, he adds real value when evaluating or demonstration CTOUCH products to our end users. Martin is also a real driving force when proving “Best Value” against the aggressive competition.”
Lilian Cutting, Managing Director, GV Multimedia adds: “Martin continues to show enthusiasm integrity and professionalism and is very personable dealing with end users and dealers and can be relied upon to always deliver what he promises, whether its price or responding to any issues, and can be relied upon to always phone back when contacted. On top of all, this he is a nice person!”
His relationship with his principal vendor is also outstanding, with Francois Barlinckhoff, CEO of CTOUCH Europe, says: “Why do I think Martin Price deserves this award? He is the most passionate salesman I know. He knows exactly what the customer needs, and he will do everything to help him to get the right solution. His entrance is always big, but after 5 minutes everybody loves him because he is giving you trust, knowledge and a little bit of love. He is honest and delivers what he says. He is the best for CTOUCH.”
AV Support Professional of the Year
The AV Support Professional of the Year Award recognises the importance of the support and service functions in the running of a professional business, and is open to representatives of resellers, integrators, distributors and manufacturers. The winner must be able to demonstrate a commitment to the support role, and to provide evidence of positive customer interaction.
Technical Sales Engineer, LG
Pete Mytton-Bayley is a technical sales engineer at LG, and is a key figure in supporting end users and resellers through technical, installation, commercial, and pre-sales. He has extensive experience in the AV market, with 2017 being a pivotal year for Pete as he helped LG launch OLED technology to market. Pete was instrumental in helping integrators and consultants understand, design and install complex OLED systems which have become flagships for the LG portfolio worldwide such as Manchester City, NFL, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants.
Pete has worked with the top integrators in the UK to produce some of the most innovative installations of 2017. He has established himself as a technical resource helping pan-European teams to excel in new technology integration. He is known for putting the customer at the forefront of the process, creating bespoke solutions to fit their needs. Pete las also helped the sales team to establish new markets for new technologies including the 86” UltraStretch displays, which required product management and the creation of support systems and best practice procedures for the technology.
AV Marketing Professional of the Year
Communication of the benefits and applications of a continuing stream of new products, solutions and services have seen the marketing function increase in influence. The AV Marketing Professional of the Year Award recognises excellence in marketing and marketing communications. The winner must be able to demonstrate effectiveness, creativity and success.
Marketing Manager, Sahara Presentations Group
A marketing graduate and former Brand Director for AV Magazine, I built a solid foundation the brand for brand bringing in all the related products under the umbrella name. He started his career in magazine subscription sales for such glamorous titles as Corporate Insurance and Charity Times. He did a stint in classified sales started in March 2002 for AV Magazine and that’s where my career began in the diverse and innovative audio-visual industry.
After a short break of four years where Adam worked on The Publican Newspaper selling into the big drinks brands and a 14-month trip around the world I was asked back to AV Magazine to take the position as Commercial Director and then later Brand Director, doubling the profits of the business over two years. After a chance conversation in March 2016, I applied for Brand Marketing Manager at Sahara
Created the new Sahara Presentations Group to give the business brand definition and differentiate from the UK distribution business to the manufacturing businesses of Clevertouch and Sedao. With Sahara AV Distribution re-branded and given structure, Adam worked to improve vendor campaigns and reseller communications. Moved the business into solution driven marketing with focused marketing materials on vertical sectors. Feedback from customers from the Sahara Partner Event 2017 has been that that the company is now moving away from a predominantly education provider to a Pro AV business, providing a full-service solution rather than a product box shift.
Part of this process called for the rebranding of the Clevertouch business. Moving to a neutral platform that appeals more broadly to all vertical sectors, Adam introduced a global strategy for the brand with local language marketing packs for all our partners. Recently, he has created an excitement and buzz with the company’s newly launched Capacitive Touch technology. Right now, Adam is engaged in the transition of Sedao into the Sahara business and giving the launch pad needed to become a global digital signage business in 2018.
Marketing professional winners continued
and the NEC Display Solutions Marketing Team
With over 70 years’ service between them, the NEC Display Solutions UK marketing team demonstrates experience, dedication and loyalty. Headed by Gill Slater, marketing manager, the small team of four comprising Anne Boreham, Megan Sweeting and Rishi Popat maintain an agile, proactive operation covering all aspects of product marketing, marketing communications and PR. In liaison with the NEC Display Solutions HQ in Germany, the UK team operates within the overall company strategy, yet fulfil marketing plans with a fresh creativity and vitality for UK based internal and external customers.
For a small team, the level of output is extraordinary. It’s a slick operation; each member of the team knows what needs to be done and makes it happen, intuitively and proactively. The majority of the work is handled in-house including the creative and PR (traditionally out-sourced components) meaning responsiveness is swift and costs are kept to a minimum, a benefit which is passed on to customers through channel activities.
With 100% committed to the channel, NEC dedicates a huge level of resource to supporting its channel partners and marketing is a major element. The team create a wide variety of collateral for use within the channel to support its sales processes – this is much valued, particularly by smaller resellers who do not have their own marketing resource, and benefits NEC by enabling tighter control over corporate identity and messaging. The annual NEC Solutions Showcase has become a phenomenon. Entirely managed in-house, the Showcase, now in its 9th year, has grown to become a must-attend event in the AV industry calendar and a Brand in its own right. One of the largest tradeshows in the UK, regularly attracting over 1,500 attendees including channel and end users and increasingly drawing European interest, the NEC UK marketing team consistently present an event with wide appeal. One reason for its success is in the team’s ability to keep re-inventing; maintaining fresh and vibrant concepts for advertising and promotion plus exciting experiences for visitors at the event, this is what keeps people returning year after year.
The UK marketing team is responsible for the local fulfilment of programmes available from NEC Europe. Developed to support channel partners in growing their business, programmes include the online SolutionsPLUS Partner Programme and its associated incentive rewards programme SolutionsPlus MORE; demo unit promotions; eLearning and the NEC Training Academy; vertical and product specific web micro sites and Solutions Zone, the new web-based information and networking tool.
Outstanding Achievement in AV
The Outstanding Achievement in AV Award recognises the product of a lifetime contribution to the development of the AV industry. The winner will hold, or will have held, a senior position within the industry for not less than five years, and will be a well-known figure at the manufacturer, distributor or reseller level.
Founder and CEO at Signagelive.com
Jason Cremins is the founder (1994) and CEO of Remote Media Group, pioneers of Digital Signage and the multi-award winning cloud-based digital media platform Signagelive, Responsible for Global strategy and expansion of Signagelive with offices in US (Chicago) and Asia (Singapore) and partners throughout many other countries. Jason tells his own story:
“I left school at 16 to join Road Tech Computer Systems as the second employee, four of us in total including the founders. I recall my interview consisting of a chat with Derek Beevor (founder) and a test of how to insert a 5.25″ floppy disk into a very early DOS based PC.”
“During my 9 years with the Company, I was fortunate enough to be involved in all aspects of the company from hardware and software support, to sales and marketing. At the age of 18, I moved to Liverpool for 2 years to setup and run the Northern Office overseeing sales and support for customers from Birmingham, north. I returned to work in the Shenley HQ alongside the senior management as the company expanded from the initial 4 of us to 90+ in the team.”
“I did not go to college or University, I learned everything I needed to succeed in business from my education at Road Tech Computer Systems and the passion and drive of Derek Beevor and the wider team.”
“I dreamt of the day that digital media could be uploaded, scheduled, deilvered to any device with an IP address and display using the Internet. We’re finally there…”
AV Project of the Year (Education)
Education applications have seen a succession of technology paradigm shifts that have changed teaching and learning fundamentally. These transitions are still in progress with the move to collaborative and personalised learning. The Education Project of the Year rewards innovation, sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness and will be awarded to the reseller or integrator responsible for deploying the nominated learning solution.
University of Leeds Collaborative Lecture Theatres
The project focuses on the redesign of three, tiered lecture theatres that replace traditional lecture theatre seating with new style collaborative ‘booths’. The solution combines the revised seating layout with embedded digital technology to create a new space to support group working and accommodate a ‘flipped’ learning approach to large group teaching.
The design retains a tiered structure but seats students in small groups around desks. Each ‘Booth’ is equipped with a laptop and audio conferencing to support effective cross-room communication. BYOD is also supported. The lecturer can share content from any of the Booths to the wider group. The system is also integrated with the University’s lecture capture system.
This is a sector leading project as evidenced by requests from other universities to visit and emulate the rooms within their own institutions. From the University’s point of view, they have been contacted by a significant number of external organisations keen to visit the rooms and understand what the University has been doing. While there is no direct financial benefit to the University, there is value in the presentation of the University as an innovator and leader within the university sector. And according to Neil Morris, director of digital learning, this project has raised and improved the profile of the University and their innovations in the field of digital learning:
“It was a complicated design and brief, both technically and conceptually that has been delivered, and everything works according to the principles that I set out. To have these devices all linked to a single front system and for it to be user-friendly is very challenging, particularly with academics that are nervous about new technology. The feedback from the staff is that they are able to control the facilities and deliver their teaching effectively using the technology, so I think that demonstrates that the principles, the design and the execution of the project are of very high quality”.
AV Project of the Year (Commercial)
Whether through improving decision making and operational efficiency with collaborative technologies or developing customer communication with digital signage, AV technologies are fast becoming mission critical. The commercial Project of the Year rewards innovation, sustainability and effectiveness and will be awarded to the reseller or integrator responsible for deploying the nominated commercial solution.
Installation at Bayer’s new offices in Reading
The project which was commissioned when Bayer decided to move from their home in Newbury to their new building in Reading. Green Park was planned and implemented by Focus 21’s Project Director Justin Paveley. Justin ensured that the project was not only implemented in the very short time scale, but also delivered on budget and above the client’s expectations.
The key was to provoke a change in how employees not only worked but how they felt about working. The simplicity of the USB connections, skype conferencing, room booking systems and informative digital signage, along with the cleverly thought out Bayer branding has made the new office a triumph. Staff productivity has increased, calls in to the IT/AV support desk have dramatically declined and the use of video conferencing has risen across the workforce.
Carly Santer, Bayer’s change agent for the move, summarised the benefits of the project: “Since moving to our new office at Green Park I find the ease of AV connectivity has helped increase my productivity. The wireless connectivity in the meeting rooms and breakout spaces means that I can use my laptop as a mobile office, I can move around our new home to wherever suits me without worrying about cables. My increased use of the AV technology has also led to an improvement in my presentation materials as I am now more practised in identifying what works in different sized meetings. It has also enhanced the meeting experienced for home-based workers as the improved sound in the meeting rooms means they can hear all of the content of the meetings. The branding and signage has made me feel proud to be part of Bayer in a way that our old office did not.”
PRODUCT AND SOLUTION AWARDS
AV Display Innovation of the Year
The AV Display Innovation of the Year Award marks the development of new or improved display technologies that will have a significant effect on the AV industry going forwards, providing the basis for new products, solutions or applications. The Award can be made to companies recognised as currently active within the AV sector or those involved in the development of enabling technologies on which future AV solutions might be based. Innovations introduced during 2017 or previewed in at least prototype form at ISE 2018 will be considered.
LG’s OLED 55” 55EF5C display is revolutionising creative opportunities in digital signage and display. Its ultra-thin canvas can be flexed into convex and concave shapes for architectural AV formations that have, until now, been unimaginable. Measuring less than 3.65 mm deep and weighing less than 5.8 Kg, the open frame design means this product can be flexed up to 2000 R making full circular applications in multi-screen formations. Organic LED (OLED) features self-lighting pixels, which removes the need for a backlight in the display, leading to incredible infinite contrast, true blacks and ultimate colours.
Digital Signage Innovation of the Year
As one of the hottest sectors in AV, the Digital Signage sector has seen continuous innovation in displays, interactivity, media players, audience monitoring and analysis. This category is open to developers, manufacturers and systems integrators involved in developing digital signage for clients in institutional and commercial markets including retail, transportation, stadia and other entertainment venues, museums and galleries.
SET in a tint box:
Sharp’s PN-V701 is the world’s largest commercially available video wall display, setting a new benchmark in high-impact, eye-catching digital signage. At 10” larger than Sharp’s current largest model, and 15” larger than the mainstream industry standard, the PN-V701 is aimed at high-profile, high footfall transport locations and luxury retailers who want to create maximum impact. The PN-V701 combines Sharp’s unique UV2A technology and Advanced UCCT (Uniform Colour Calibration Technology) with ultra slim but robust bezels to ensure a consistent, high quality image across the entire video wall, with minimal picture interruption.
Collaboration Innovation of the Year
The importance of collaboration in education and the workspace is acknowledged in this Award, which is open to manufacturers, software developers and others active in meeting room systems, video and audio solutions, networking and workspace facilities (including technology, design, environment and sustainability). Innovations must have been introduced to the market or demonstrated as a prototype in the year to ISE.
Kramer’s VIAWare is the first wireless presentation and collaboration as a software-only solution that offers true collaboration between users. Working on a Windows based PC, VIAWare offers all the functionality of a dedicated VIA collaboration product but on a PC. No other software only solution can offer the level of features that VIAWare can – file sharing, whiteboard support, annotation, remote device view of main display, supports for third party apps and site wide management tools amongst others.
Presentation Innovation of the Year
State-of-the-art presentations are almost unrecognisable to the generation suffering ‘Death by PowerPoint’, with new solutions available in both the display and management of presentation materials. This category is open to developers, manufacturers and systems integrators involved in developing innovative presentation solutions and techniques. Innovations must have been introduced to the market or demonstrated as a prototype in the year to ISE.
Plus Series from Clevertouch
The Plus Series from Clevertouch is the leading interactive large format touchscreen in UK schools, with a market share of 25%. It has been designed to be as intuitive as a smartphone, with a ‘walk up and use’ experience that allows teachers to focus on managing their classroom, rather than the technology.
The Plus Series has revolutionised technology in the classroom, delivering ease-of-use alongside powerful software. From its system-agnostic tethering abilities, to its near-faultless track record, the Plus Series thoroughly deserves its place as the industry leader in AV technology in education.
AV Market Development Initiative of the Year
The AV Market Development Initiative of the Year category acknowledges success with end-user programmes that contribute to the development of new business opportunities for the AV industry. Examples of qualifying entries might include end-user marketing or education campaigns; end-user events; customer promotions; new technology applications and deployments and other market development initiatives by AV resellers and systems integrators.
“Promethean’s innovation with the Promethean Grant made such a positive impact at our school. “
Simon Hunt, Teacher, Tottington Primary School
While Promethean is a brand that has long been synonymous with education, over the last 12 months the company has sharpened its approach to its core K-12 market. The company has wrapped a programme of development around the ActivPanel which has enabled Promethean to increase its IFPD market share from 18% in 2016 to a staggering 32% by the end of H1 in 2017. In fact, of all the IFPDs manufacturers monitored by Futuresource Consulting, in H1 Promethean shipped the greatest number of units.
This fresh impetus to reinvigorate the EdTech market was kickstarted at BETT 2017, where Promethean delivered a show-stopping performance, on the theme of the ‘Da Vinci Moment’. Promethean pushed the boundaries of technology in education by demonstrating how the most advanced technologies available today could be used in the classrooms of tomorrow. It brought together technologies from the wider NetDragon family in a thought provoking presentation utilising augmented reality, virtual reality and cutting edge Humagram technology.
The fruits of another element, The Promethean Grant, were apparent at this year’s BETT show. Promethean pledged 30 of its ActivPanels to the initiative. The objective of the programme was to identify schools who show true innovation by submitting multi-media nominations as to why they deserve an ActivPanel. Over 300 applications were received in just three months. A third, and most welcome element in Promethean’s campaign, the State of Technology in Education Report, was focused on establishing a solid grounding for growth in terms of product, channel and customer engagement. The detailed report surveyed over 1,500 UK teachers and aims to help guide and shape the way EdTech is used in schools. The report contains statistical insight and tactics that schools can implement. The 2016 report was downloaded 1,351 times.
AV Reseller / Integrator of the Year
The AV Reseller / Integrator of the Year Award recognises excellence in the transaction of AV business – skilled specialists delivering the right product or solution for their customers’ needs, with purchase decisions based on appropriate advice, installed with a high degree of competence and supported with due consideration. The winner of this Award will be required to demonstrate effectiveness at each stage of the process, with evidence provided in the form of projects completed within the last 12 months
2017 has been a landmark year for Pioneer Group, creating AV installations for global companies in corporate, sports and retail sectors, as well as increasing its penetration and innovation in the QSR market. The year also saw significant growth for the company, as well as thriving affiliations with leading manufacturers on landmark projects including Google, LG, Signagelive, Samsung and Peerless.
The business sits at the cutting edge of connected digital signage and collaboration, working with clients to put infrastructure in place through its IT division which makes the technology smarter and more intuitive. After unveiling a revolutionary integrated retail experience for visitors to RDE this year, in the form of a stand that featured the latest technologies in IOT, AV and digital labelling, Pioneer Group demonstrated how cutting-edge products enable retailers to gain insights, attract, inform and engage the audience through digital signage.
Pioneer has managed ongoing huge contracts with consistent delivery over the course of the year for both Manchester City and KFC, demonstrating its commitment to customer service and outstanding client management. In the case of Manchester City, a team is on site every match day assisting with technical aspects of the digital signage, including audio visual and LED lighting elements, managing the menu boards and digital signage in 800 KFC stores daily.
AV News’ Editor’s Choice
This is a new category to represent all round excellence, in each of the previous categories – innovation, product design, manufacturing, sales, marketing and support. It is awarded entirely at the AV News Editors’ discretion.
Peerless-AV’s values combine quality manufacturing in the company’ US facility with continuous innovation, through strong relationships with vendor partners. If a solution doesn’t exist yet, the Peerless-AV custom department will create one. A corrective Action Process guarantees that each of these new products meets all internal and external improvement requests. Peerless-AV aims to always be there for its customers, with expert technical support to on-site installation help. As a company with global strategy and ambitions, Peerless-AV has continuously worked towards industry leadership, recognising the need to provide global support for international partnerships.
AV News would like to thank the sponsors, the Award nominees and those assisting with judging and execution of the AV News Awards 2018.
Particular thanks are offered to Warren Lewis for his presentation, to Rita Balestrazzi for her help in presenting the Awards and for the creative and AV support provided by Acquire Digital and PSCo.