Cabling Innovators Awards: Your questions answered

Many have inquired if the Cabling Innovators Awards program is meant to highlight products or projects. We answer that and other questions.

The 2015 Cabling Innovators Awards program: It's for projects.
The 2015 Cabling Innovators Awards program: It's for projects.

In the weeks since the Cabling Innovators Awards program was announced, we’ve been asked the same question by a number of individuals and organizations. That question is: Is this a product award program, or is it for projects?

Below, we answer that question (Spoiler: It’s projects) as well as other questions that have come up frequently.

Our Cabling Innovators Awards page can be found here. For now, here is our FAQ.

Q: Is this a product awards program, analyzing and recognizing the characteristics of products that are available in the market?

A: No it isn’t. The program’s intent is to recognize the use of cabling products and systems in real-world applications. To that end, a submission should include information about how a product or system has been put to use. We realize that in many cases, a product or group of products will be the centerpiece of a submission—it is the innovation worthy of recognition—and this awards program is an opportunity for product manufacturers to showcase their products’ characteristics and value. In these cases, we’d like product manufacturers to use the submission form as an opportunity to tell us how your product, or a group of your products, have been deployed and the value that has come from that deployment. The submission form includes space to include multiple entities—companies, individuals—within a single nomination. When possible, please take advantage of this space to include people and/or organizations such as cabling installers, system designers, system end-users and others that participated in the successful deployment of a product, group or products, or system. The program has been structured this way intentionally, to give product manufacturers an opportunity to nominate themselves along with their business partners and customers. The program’s title includes the word “Innovators” because it intends to honor people and organizations that innovate.

Q: What if we’ve completed a worthy project but the end-user customer won’t allow us to publicize it?

A: We honor non-disclosure agreements and will keep confidential any information not intended for public consumption. In cases in which a user or other entity involved in a project will not allow public disclosure, the project can be described in general terms that do not “name names.” For example, a submission can include references like “a university with approximately 17,000 students …,” “a financial institution with a trading floor on Wall Street …,” “a data center facility in the Pacific Northwest …,” etc. With the user characterized in general terms yet remaining anonymous, the remainder of the project’s description can be more specific. For example, “a 20,000-square-foot student union with 130 network nodes ...” To the extent possible, please include details about the project that explain why it exemplifies innovation in some form or fashion.

Q: Who can submit an entry?

A: Submissions are open to any organization or person, of any discipline, involved in the specification, design, installation, or management of communications systems. The answers to the previous questions mainly apply to situations in which a product or group of products represents an innovation that has yielded benefits for users. However, we know that innovations take place in many other forms as well. Designers use creativity and innovative thinking to develop communication systems that save time, money, energy, or all of the above. Likewise cabling contractors frequently use ingenuity and innovation on a project site to overcome obstacles or add to the value of an installed system. Stories about these types of innovations are welcome and encouraged.

Q: What is BICSI’s involvement in the program?

A: BICSI has generously offered to help us promote the Cabling Innovators Awards program as we gather nominations, and also has allowed us to offer a discounted submission fee for BICSI members. BICSI is also going to provide us some time during its 2015 Fall Conference, to be held September 20-24, to announce the program’s honorees. More details on the exact date and time of that announcement will be forthcoming. Additionally, the judging panel that will review nominations will include individuals designated by BICSI.

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