In our latest blog SCF Awards Chair of Judges Caroline Gabriel shares her view of the awards process, with useful insight into just what the judges are looking for.
It’s hard to believe that the Small Cell Forum awards are now in their ninth year, and once again I’m excited to be the chair of judges for this significant event.
Industry awards are not just about trophies and a glittering dinner. They are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the past year, but even more importantly, to help build action plans for the one ahead.
In reflecting on what went right in 2016, it is easier to identify the technologies and strategies which must be emphasized in 2017. So the 2015 awards process highlighted the importance of real world deployment case studies, and led directly to the Forum’s first Champions’ Day; and last year, the entries and winners made it clear how the role and remit of the small cell had broadened to become a foundation of the whole HetNet and a stepping stone to 5G. This directly influenced the establishment of the Forum’s series of influential 5G workshops.
So there are many reasons why your organization will benefit from submitting entries for this year’s awards. Not just the chance of glory on May 24, but an opportunity to showcase the technology or business case you are pursuing, and help shape the wider agenda for the small cell industry.
Once again we have a high powered and illustrious panel of analysts and other experts, all with deep specialized knowledge of the small cell sector, and all fiercely independent. The profile of the judges is one of the key factors which differentiates these awards from many others, insisting on objectivity and transparency throughout the process. When you submit your entry, you can be sure it will be discussed, compared and analysed in great detail and with considerable knowledge.
The judges’ detailed scrutiny of the awards submissions also helps to identify key trends in the sector and this can provide valuable input into the Forum’s wider program. In turn, the awards categories are reviewed each year to ensure they map well to the overall Forum agenda.
Last year there were two new categories to reflect industry changes – ‘HetNet management software and services’, the first to look beyond the small cell by itself and towards the wider network in which it sits; and an award specifically for cutting edge innovation. This was to reflect that, while most of the awards go to solutions which are commercially available, there is always an important role for inventions and imaginative use cases, which drive the whole sector forwards.
The innovation category proved so popular that this year we have split into two separate innovation awards, one for business case and one for technology. Other categories are designed to reflect the two Forum work streams for 2017, which focus on hyperdense networks and on the digital enterprise. The latter was already well represented by the award for ‘excellence in commercial enterprise deployment’. This year we have added a new award for ‘excellence in commercial deployment of a dense HetNet’, to reflect this other important area of the work program as operators start to embark on densification programs round the world.
The full list of awards categories is here». Do give them some thought over the coming weeks and submit your technologies, services and deployments. We look forward to seeing your entries, and perhaps to celebrating with you at the gala dinner in May.