Reminder: Get Your Entries In For The Global Digital Signage Awards; Sept. 30 Submission Deadline

September 18, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Submissions for the global Digital Signage Awards need to be in by the end of this month, and as a main media sponsor and the person behind the awards categories, I wanted to remind companies about the deadline and reinforce the rationale for entering.

There are some big changes in place for the awards categories this year, with much more focus on impacts as opposed to market segments.

Instead of celebrating the best submitted work in categories like workplace or digital out of home, the categories have designations like:

The awards are now sorted by:

The awards are handed out Jan. 29th, at the the front end of ISE 2024 week. As with 2023, there will be mixer ahead of the awards dinner, with both events at the same venue, but SEPARATELY TICKETED.

Awards Reconsidered

As the 2023 awards evening in Barcelona broke up, I was chatting with a couple of very knowledgeable industry friends who were, putting it nicely, underwhelmed with the winners and the overall approach. I was also underwhelmed by some of the winning selections, as well as by a couple of projects and vendors winning numerous categories for the same projects.

For a few years now, I’ve helped the UK company that does these awards (they are in the awards business) shape the categories. But in reflection, my suggestions were a bit lazy, patterned after how other awards are categorized and sorted.

So I started thinking the next day about how to better go at this, to better identify and celebrate projects that are not just about big budget and size/scale. It is human nature that even seasoned industry people looking critically at projects are probably going to be more impressed and excited by a $5 million project at a new airport than a $50,000 project at an auto parts factory.

The way around that is, I think, noting Project Excellence and then zeroing in on what was done, why, how and what happened. For example, there is now this category aimed at solutions providers and their largely unseen thinking and work: Superior Technical and Project Design

Celebrating excellent decisions and work done behind the screens by integrators, solutions providers and creative technologists, including the designs for security, scalability, remote management, and hardware. Overviews that present no risk to network integrity are fine.

So an integration or deployment specialist company can be celebrated and pick up an award for doing things like rolling out a new or converted solution to 100s of stores on a tight and complicated timeline.

Boring Signage

I also wanted to find a way to celebrate, as one example, what I call Boring Signage – efforts that won’t get pulse racing because of the visuals or scale of a project, but just do a great job telling people what to do, where to go, what’s open or the state of operations or equipment: Difference-Making Operational & Everyday Signage

The content, software, technologies and strategies that drive simple – even boring – digital signage that guides, informs, warns and updates, including back-of-house workplace messaging, digital dashboards, wayfinding, directories, meeting room signs, hot-desk assignment screens and queue management.

The other thing these revised categories do, I hope, is create a way to celebrate the products and work of technology vendors. I don’t mean Best Fanless Media Player or Best Video Wall Controller. I don’t know how that sort of thing gets judged without bench tests and maybe a pile of valid user surveys.

I mean things like:

These sub-category awards hopefully provide an outlet for the many, many companies in the ecosystem that have products that are central to just about every deployment out there, but don’t tend to get recognized or celebrated because the project awards focus tends to be on the pretty stuff that viewers see.

There are 20-plus awards across the three major categories, as well as a new award for start-ups.

Credible Judging

The judging is all done by industry people who work in and know the business, as opposed to some awards whose judges include trade journalists who’ve not done more than observe and write about digital signage and pro AV. I’m a journalist, sure, but I’ve also run ops, launched networks and consulted about projects to Fortune 100s.

The other notable difference is these awards are based on merit. Vendors can’t buy awards directly or by being a major sponsor or purchaser of awards dinner tables. I look at some awards that get announced and just roll my eyes like a teenager.

There is also now a cap on entries (five) from any one company, which should neuter any effort to win awards by sheer volume of entries.

There is a four month window – ending Sept. 30 – made available to prepare and upload entry submissions. The actual awards will be presented during the week of ISE 2024, again in Barcelona.

Awards are often under-appreciated and ignored by a lot of companies in this industry. That might owe to companies not thinking they have the time or resources to develop and make submissions, but probably also to some sense that the great little project they did won’t stand a chance when up against big-dollar, high-profile projects. I am hoping this revised approach does the job of levelling the playing field.

Award-Winning Reads Well

Winning awards is great marketing. Would you rather use a marketing description that includes an empty phrase like “leading provider” or a confidence and trust-inspiring one like “award-winning?”

Awards also boost morale, and lead to new business.  I have heard stories from industry friends who said award wins have had direct, traceable lines to new business wins, because awards make the simple suggestion that “these people must be good at what they do.”

As for the mixer, the venue is booked and will put the registration engine up live AFTER DSE, in early December. There is a mixer for DSE, as well, and I don’t want the confusion of ticketing two events at once.

DSE registration will open in mid-October. Sponsors are fully sold out for that one, and I have, as I type this, two of eight sponsor slots left for Barcelona.

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