Awards 2020

SCFAwards2020_Shard

SCF Small Cell Awards 2020 – the ultimate badge of excellence.

Open for submissions in January 2020

See the 2019 winners here

Now in its 12th year the SCF Small Cell Awards continue to be upheld as the industry recognized standard of excellence. Open to the whole industry, SCF members and non-members, the awards play a vital role in showcasing the highest levels of innovation in small cell technology and best practice in deployments around the world. Previous winners include; Airspan and Sprint, Nextivity, Parallel Wireless, Nokia, SK Telecom, Qualcomm, Bentel and Digital Colony.

“The SCF Small Cell Awards has been rewarding both commercial and technical innovation and achievement for over 10 years now. In that time, they have reflected the huge changes in our industry, with small cells moving to center-stage as dense networks become the norm for 4G and 5G.” Caroline Gabriel, Chair of the Judges.

Why enter the SCF Small Cell Awards 2020?

  • The awards are independently judged by a panel of experts, comprising of handpicked industry analyst and journalists, without commercial influence
  • All entries are reviewed by the judges independently, and also discussed and evaluated as a panel, rather than being judged remotely as with many awards
  • SCF are delighted to announce The Mobile Network will be featuring the awards in a special Market Update report, providing our finalists with a platform to showcase their initiatives to the industry and gain industry-wide recognition for their company, and projects. Finalists will also be able to enjoy preferential advertising rates for this publication. 
  • Winners will be announced at the SCF Small Cell Awards Gala Dinner on the 12 May 2020.  The dinner forms an integral part of the Small Cells World Summit, 12-13 May 2020 and finalists will have opportunity to include a 600 word insertion into the conference program. The conference attracts a global audience, and presenting entrants with an exceptional networking opportunity and platform upon which to promote their work
  • An SCF small cell award is the ultimate badge of excellence. Finalists and winners are free to use the appropriate SCF small cell awards logo as they see fit

Categories

As we move into the era of 5G our industry is changing rapidly. Small cells used to be all about indoor coverage, but today small cells are finding vital roles in every aspect of network design, not least to provide capacity for incoming 5G. They will be the enablers of IoT innovations and 5G businesses cases globally, and they are bringing connectivity to rural and remote scenarios. To reflect the changing nature of, and technology within, the industry, the award categories now include topics such as 5G migration, SON and Orchestration and RAN.

Please click on the category name to view the description. 

  • For an entry to qualify for this category, it must refer to a small cell deployment that is in current and commercial use within the urban environment. Urban small cells are defined as compact public-access base stations deployed by operators to enhance capacity and coverage in dense environments such as city center hot-zones, transportation hubs and retail. This incorporates work within the ‘smart cities’ initiatives, as well as the use of small cells in the context of public transit and street furniture. They are often referred to as microcells, picocells or metrocells.

    The judges will be looking for new ideas, either technical or relating to the business model, which have enhanced the small cell offering to the market. Entrants will be able to demonstrate that they have developed and deployed a capability to service providers or subscribers which provides demonstrable cost savings, revenue generation, ease of use or quality of service improvements.

    The judges will consider not just the success and inventiveness of the offering but its market impact and provision in terms of delivery or package. Entrants will also need to explain how their product stands out in the market. This category may include award submissions for real, measurable commercial trials, but not lab trials.

  • For an entry to qualify for this category, it must be refer to a small cell deployment that is in current and commercial use within the Enterprise. Enterprise small cell deployments refer to commercial multi-cell deployments that cover a wide range of settings such as enterprise buildings, small offices and shopping malls.

    The judges will be looking for new ideas either technical or relating to the business model which has enhanced the small cell offering to the market. Entrants will be able to demonstrate that they have developed and deployed a capability to service providers or subscribers which provides demonstrable cost savings, revenue generation, ease of use or quality of services improvements.

    The judges will consider not just the success and inventiveness of the offering but its market impact and provision in terms of delivery or package. Entrants will also need to explain how their product stands out in the market. This category may include award submissions for real, measurable commercial trials, but not lab trials.

  • For an entry to qualify for this category, it must be refer to a small cell deployment that is in current and commercial use within a rural or remote environment, or on a temporary basis.

    This category covers deployments in a variety of settings including rural communities and remote industrial locations. It also includes ‘deployable’ small cells which can provide permanent or short term coverage in challenging environment, for instance for emergency services, disaster recovery and special events. This also includes services for military personnel and for all classes of shipping, aircraft and trains.

    The judges will be looking for new ideas either technical or relating to the business model which has enhanced the small cell offering to the market. Entrants will be able to demonstrate that they have developed and deployed a capability to service providers or subscribers which provides demonstrable cost savings, revenue generation, ease of use or quality of services improvements.

    The judges will consider not just the success and inventiveness of the offering but its market impact and provision in terms of delivery or package. Entrants will also need to explain how their product stands out in the market. This category may include award submissions for real, measurable commercial trials, but not lab trials.

  • The need to meet increasing capacity demands places an increasing burden on small cells and makes it essential that networks are well planned and managed, to maximise resource efficiency and minimise interference and congestion.

    That task involves a diverse range of elements including multiple spectrum bands, different cell form factors, and other parts such as backhaul links or controllers. The situation is complicated further by the introduction of virtualized small cell networks. The need to coordinate large numbers of elements, and to manage virtual and physical functions requires a rising level of automation.

    Management and automation of complex HetNets, including orchestration of virtual and physical functions, is the focus of this category, which places small cells within the broader context of a HetNet that must be planned and managed from end-to-end.

    Judges will be looking for solutions which ease the deployment and management of small cell HetNets that are capable of scaling to meet the new demands while incorporating a variety of elements, which may be virtual or physical.

    Examples include tools, services and cloud solutions focused on planning, testing, network management, SON, optimization, workflow management and virtual network MANO (management and orchestration).

    The judges will look for entrants which demonstrate an identifiable benefit to the operator business case and to the advancement of the ecosystem. They will assess submissions according to market impact – commercial deployments or trials, numbers shipped, impact on cost of deployment, ecosystem; and/or technical differentiation, including performance, quality of experience, spectral efficiency etc.

    Contributions to ease of deployment, interoperability and scalability will be considered also. Reference to commercial deployments or results of large-scale trials will be helpful.

  • One of the biggest challenges for operators today is to strike the right balance between enhancing their current networks and migrating towards 5G. In parallel, they are making decisions about when and how to adopt new architectures such as virtualized small cell clusters or hyperdense networks.

    This category rewards architecture designs which support current requirements effectively, particularly in very dense environments, and which also demonstrate a clear migration path to 5G, virtualized RAN and increased levels of density.

    The current architecture must be in commercial use now, and its future iterations must have been designed and have a firm roadmap to launch (the judges will be looking for more than slideware and good intentions). Tests, trials and proof of concept demoes will all be helpful.

    The successful entry will demonstrate innovation in the architecture and how that enables a dense, heterogeneous environment to operate efficiently and without interference, now and in future environments.

    The judges will be looking for examples of the effective use of emerging architectures such as virtualization of the small cell access network or the packet core; or support for edge computing (e.g. MEC). The judges will consider not just the success and inventiveness of the offering but its current market impact and provision in terms of delivery or package. Entrants will also need to explain how their product stands out in the market.

  • In an increasingly software-driven world, this category focuses on the physical aspects of the small cell network – including the access point, and other network elements such as gateways, controllers, security, network-in-a-box solutions.

    For the first time, this category also includes Xhaul (backhaul and fronthaul), as well as integrated access/Xhaul solutions. Eligible entries include hardware and software developments in wired or wireless backhaul, where these are specific to small cells, and can include associated technologies such as timing and sync.

    The judges will look for entrants which demonstrate an identifiable benefit to the operator business case and to the advancement of the ecosystem. They will assess submissions according to market impact – commercial deployments or trials, numbers shipped, impact on cost of deployment, ecosystem; and/or technical differentiation, including performance, quality of experience, spectral efficiency etc.

    Contributions to ease of deployment, interoperability and scalability will be considered also. Reference to commercial deployments or results of large-scale trials will be helpful.

  • While the previous categories related to small cells which are commercially deployed and proven, this category is focused on technical innovations which will help to push the boundaries of the small cell platform and enable new architectures and use cases.

    The judges will assess any small cell technology, including access points, network elements, backhaul or virtualized platforms, purely by its level of technical innovation. The entrants can be commercial or pre-commercial, and can relate to current technologies or to pre-5G projects. However, they will need to demonstrate uniqueness in design, performance or functionality, and must clearly state how these will help to improve the small cell business case, now or in the future.

  • The second Innovation category also looks to reward creative thinking and new ideas, which may be commercial or pre-commercial. This category focuses on innovation in the business case for small cells.

    Entrants can be at the trial phase but must be able to demonstrate uniqueness and creativity, and describe how the business case is enhanced or enabled by small cells, and what benefits it would bring to service providers. Detailed proof points and customer/trial examples will be helpful to illustrate innovation. The business case can relate to any small cell market – enterprise, urban, residential or rural/remote.

  • One of the operator community’s goals for 5G is to achieve a more open ecosystem, in which they can build interoperable, multivendor networks. That improves the economics of deploying small cells at scale, by supporting competition and choice in innovation and pricing.

    Small Cell Forum has been active in championing open networks from its early days when it developed the Iuh interface. Today, there are many more elements to an open small cell network. Examples include:

    • common interfaces at chip level or between access points and central controllers (including in vRAN architectures)
    • use of open source or open software stacks and tools
    • common xHaul interfaces

     Judges will assess contributions to the open environment for small cells, in current or future networks. They will look for

    • solutions which make innovative use of technologies from open network initiatives (some examples include Telecom Infra Project, Open Networking Foundation and LF Foundation ORAN), or open source
    • technologies which have been submitted to open platform initiatives
    • solutions which commercialise standard interfaces and so support their adoption

    Solutions can be fully commercial or under development but a clear commercial roadmap must be demonstrated. Pure research projects will not be considered.

  • The judges want to look beyond the purely commercial implications of small cells and recognize their potential to have a social and economic impact too.

    This is a wide-ranging category. In the past, submissions have ranged from solutions that make it more cost-effective to bridge the digital divide in remote or deprived communities; that improve the quality of life, or business opportunities, of underserved citizens; that lessen the environmental cost of wireless expansion.
    The judges encourage entries which demonstrate any form of significant positive impact on the socio-economic climate, and the external environment, in which citizens live in any part of the world.

  • The Judges’ Choice is a special award which recognizes overall excellence, and an exceptional contribution to the development of the small cell industry. It particularly focuses on an organization whose impact is felt to go beyond specific categories.

    The judges will select the winner from among the entries across all the other awards categories, focusing on overall contribution to innovation, commercial success, and/or market development across the sector. The award may relate to the organization’s broader contribution, not to the specific submission in isolation.

SCF Small Cell Awards Gala Dinner

The winners of the SCF Small Cell Awards 2020 will be announced at the Award Gala Dinner, which will take place on the evening of Tuesday 12 May at Novotel London West as part of the Small Cells World Summit event.  Make sure you put the date in your diary today and join us to celebrate the success of our winners over a three course gourmet meal, with wine.

Tickets  will be available to purchase in January 2020 and are available, either individually or as a table of eight. Alternatively, they can be purchased as part of the delegate package for the Small Cells World Summit.  

2019 Awards Gallery

 

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