On Friday night at the AV Interactive Awards held in London SpinetIX somehow won the Digital Signage Product award. We must have had a sneaky feeling about this as we wrote back in September “… we don’t quite get this love-in for SpinetiX who are a finalist, one would guess, for the same old product they role out every year at every trade show…” and surprise, surprise it was the same old product being rolled out (unsurprisingly perhaps) again.
Back in June when SpinetIX were given the NEC Best Of #InfoComm2010 Award we said “it’s an interesting choice as a winner and we think says more about the poor quality of the finalists in general as opposed to SpinetiX in all seriousness having the best product on show” but that wasn’t the case this time around as they were up against stiff competition with Christie Digital’s MicroTiles and Amscreen’s Forecourt Network product.
Amscreen did walk away with a prize on the evening, narrowly edging out (in our view at least) ONELAN but overall probably being a deserved winner of the Digital Signage Manufacturer award (sheer volume, market presence and good publicity probably winning the day – though we’d have to say that ONELAN whose business now comprises something like 40% internationally would have pushed them close).
You all know our work with MicroTiles and our general love-in for the product and you pretty much all know our opinion about Amscreen’s scaffolding pole installs so in any judging you might figure we’d be biased*. However we do enough competition judging to know what’s good, what’s not, what meets the criteria of the judges, when to reserve judgement and when to shout from the rafters when something is brilliant (that is our style after all).
Let’s put this another way then;
- Gary Kayye (perhaps the most respected AV analyst globally) said in his presentation at the Projection Summit back in June “if it weren’t for Christie and Prsym there wouldn’t be much innovation in the sector at all at the moment”.
- At the launch of the product in December 2009 Gary also said “to be perfectly honest, we don’t even think that Christie has a handle on how big of a product they have on their hand with MicroTiles”
- Gary had also previously called the product a ‘game-changer’ – a term often bandied about but a term we thought accurate enough for us to repeat in our ‘DailyDOOH Best Of 2009′ adding ourselves “We think it might even be the best screen innovation of the decade”.
I can perhaps understand why the judges, predominantly a bunch of AV folks** didn’t ‘get’ Amscreen’s product – as we say it might not be pretty (pretty enough for our liking anyway) but it’s damned effective and Simon and his team have done a phenomenal job in rolling out such a large network (2,738+) in such a short time and a lot of that is down to the way the product has been designed and built BUT we cannot believe that anyone with any AV pedigree could NOT see that MicroTiles is a product that is a game-changer.
We cannot for the life of us see how Greg Jeffries (one of the judges), someone we admire and acknowledge as an industry expert (and someone who has in the past taken us to task for daring to say White Van Man in the same breath as judging panel) can be happy with that decision?
Decisions like this do little for the credibility of the AV Awards (in fact any awards), make nonsense of the industry in general as well as embarrass the judges, embarrass the sponsors and of course embarrass the eventual winner(s). No doubt SpinetIX’s PR machine (one-girl band Katinka Kanga Dinka) will be working overtime with a big smile on her face and rubbing her hands with glee but whatever way you spin this judging decision it is a poor one and utterly, utterly wrong.
Mind you, with new owners, less cash to splash out on lavish award ceremonies and incredibly stupid decisions like this, perhaps this is the last AV Award ceremony we will ever see. I doubt if one or two of the big sponsors will be back next year that’s for sure.
**This year’s judging panel comprised: Morgan Stanley’s Owen Ellis; Barclays’ Roger McArdell; SCHOMS’ Toni Kelly and Stuart Davies; the MOD’s Stuart Carter; QE11 Conference Centre’s Deborah Jones; CommerzBank’s Dominic Edwards; consultant Nick Rogers; MJC’s Jason Brameld; Hewshott’s Jim Barrett; COMS’ Richard Northwood; Futuresource’s Chris McIntyre-Bown; Visual Acuity’s Frank Sheehan; Arup’s Graham Naylor-Smith; Infocomm and Paradigm’s Greg Jeffries; and Infocomm and RGB’s Gordon Innocent.
*The DailyDOOH team at the award ceremony were guests of Amscreen, Christie Digital and Scala