With the AV Tech Awards now just a few weeks away, we take a look at the shortlist for this year’s fiercely contested Company of the Year category.
This year’s awards will be announced during a brand new digital Awards Week running from 23rd to 25th June. The awards programme is held in association with Awards Partners Crestron, Integrated Systems Europe, and the Technological Innovations Group (TIG), and Association Partners AV User Group and Women in AV (WAVE).
Nominees for Company of the Year
Absen’s 10-year success as the Top Chinese Exporter of LED Displays is a testament to the company’s efforts to providing best-in-class products for both fixed and rental applications. Local support, along with Absen’s relentless focus on R&D and constant investment in improving its manufacturing capabilities, presents the company’s commitment towards the development of quality standards and innovation for the industry.
Osman Ayhan, IT Director at UniFree Istanbul Airport, with which Absen has previously worked, said: “We wanted to create the best visual experience for our customers – both for passengers and our advertising partners so we opted for LED because it gave us the creative freedom to design such a unique digital shopping facade, which needed to wrap around different shapes and curves. Following an extensive evaluation process, we opted for Absen due to the brightness, clarity and wide viewing angles of their displays and their experience working on other major airport projects. The Absen LED walls have been in operation since the beginning of the year and we have been very pleased with the result; the digital screens really help to make the Duty Free area at Istanbul Airport a destination of choice for travellers.”
Clevertouch is a market leading UK manufacturer of a range of IFPDs designed for business and education. The only manufacturer to develop a large format display that is totally cross-platform compatible, incorporates bi-directional mirroring, 4K resolution, 20-point touch and the fastest and most accurate touch responsiveness over any other comparable screen. The Plus Series is the dominant front of class display in schools and has held that position for several years, with a 42 per cent YOY growth of its education model worldwide 2019.
Datapath has continued to grow its market share over the past 12 months with continuous stream of product innovations and unequalled customer support with training and user-friendly support tools. Revenue has grown by 3.5 per cent y-o-y (as of March 2020). Formed in 1982, Datapath has grown to become a leading global force in video processing hardware and software. This achievement comes from many factors; great vision, ambition, a great team ethic and listening to and addressing the needs of customers.
Diversified is on a transformational journey of operational excellence – collaborating across all levels and departments to drive innovation, optimal performance and client satisfaction. Various initiatives are being prioritised, implemented and measured to align everyone into a unified culture of inclusiveness by embracing our differences, sharing perspectives and owning the future of our company. As an industry leader, Diversified attracts some of the best talent in the business. However, it prides itself on sharing expertise to better educate our clients on evolving technology and solutions that help keep them looking forward.
Fred D’Alessandro, founder and CEO, said: “In 1993, I stepped out of my comfort zone from being a broadcast engineer to a business owner and primary salesperson, which as any engineer would know, is a radical change. Then, in 2000, I started to diversify the company’s service offerings when other competitors were content with the status quo. Since that time, we have grown from a 100-person company with revenue of $125M to a 2600-person company with 55+ global offices and revenues exceeding $1B. Through constantly stepping outside of our collective comfort zones, we are breaking the mold of what it means to be a technology integrator and paving the way to a digital future.”
Embed Signage has achieved significant growth over the past year with regard to its commercial and operational performance. Sales growth has increased 64 per cent YOY, with 47 per cent growth in new accounts and 15 per cent growth in new resellers. Supporting nine different operating system platforms with its software only sales model means for every license sold, one of its resellers and supported platform manufacturers generates a sale (Samsung, LG, BrightSign, Iadea, iBase, Intel, ASUS, AOPEN, ONELAN, All See).
Lloyd Devy, enterprise marketing at BT, with which Embed Signage has collaborated, commented: “Compared with other software platforms, working with Embed has been a painless process, the entire team are extremely proactive and deliver on the timelines they set out and the functionality they offer. Having a centralised CMS for our digital content has transformed our workflow and enabled us to be so much more efficient, and we’ve only just scratched the surface so far.”
In 2019 Holovis saw record turnover, increased company growth, the launch of four new offices, proprietary software packages and patented solution driven innovations hitting the market.
The technology experience designer specialises in immersive, multisensory and interactive solutions utilising emerging technologies, complex AV configurations, computer vision technologies and machine learning. The company operates in two primary market spaces; Entertainment as digital disruptors and innovators of next generation immersive entertainment experiences and Enterprise; where the company is shaping the Industry 4.0 revolution with AI driven virtual manufacturing.
LEGOLAND New York – LEGO Factory Adventure, said of its work with Holovis: “Real-time media, personalised content and intuitive, invisible tracking technologies converge to create this world first dark ride experience for LEGOLAND® New York Resort that, for the first time, puts guests inside the media. This features HoloTrac, a proprietary software suite from Holovis that leverages on-ride tracking technology to identify the attributes of guests including hair colour and style, whether they are wearing glasses and t-shirt colour, maps their position in the virtual space and transforms them into Minifigures. Motion tracking then allows the guest to control the movement of their Minifigure.
Holovis has been responsible for the complete show package, including creative design and development, media production, complex AV design and integration and interactive software production. HoloTrac delivers new levels of guest personalisation and the LEGO Minifigure transformation is the perfect use for this on-board the ground-breaking family dark ride. The technology driving this is completely invisible to the guest, making it feel like real magic when the moment occurs.”
Maverick AV Solutions
In 2019 and 2020 Maverick AV Solutions has emerged at the forefront of a new era for the AV industry. As the tech industry has continued to transform the AV market, Maverick has redefined its position in the market through collaboration and smart workplace technology. The past year has been a triumph for Maverick where growth is concerned. Through strategic investment, partnerships and innovative technology, Maverick totalled $920 million globally and 12 per cent growth with an outstanding 1.05 per cent increase in GP and 0.45 per cent increase in operating income. These results were also reflected in its personnel which increased by a quarter in Europe and the US in the last 12 months, the deployment of demonstration facilities and the introduction of a new global events strategy to fuel growth in 2019.
Nathalie Andersen, channel director Western Europe, Barco, commented: “Maverick plays a key role in the exponential growth of Barco’s Collaboration Business, namely for our innovative ClickShare product line. They provide value added competencies in terms of focused product management and sales team, lead follow-up, major projects roll out and operational efficiencies across borders. We definitively value Maverick’s continuous strong commitment and look forward to tap into new customer segments whilst leveraging their newly developed reseller programmes.”
The Peerless-AV team is renowned and respected in the industry for being passionate about the brand and products. It knows the industry and react quickly to new trends and opportunities. It creates trust among their connections and build strong relationships. It acknowledges their strengths and support each other across divisions and regions. It works hard, and they also play hard and celebrate their achievements. It has a company ethos and support mechanism in place that is standard across the entire channel, which is to offer the same level of service whether the customer is a one-man band or a world class football stadium.
James Wilder, head of special projects, Esprit Digital, said: “Not only are Peerless products superior, but so is the service they provide. Quotes are quick and precise, which is exactly what I need when we all know the customer wanted the quotation yesterday! Also, the support we get from Peerless couldn’t be improved, its perfect. We have sold solutions to companies who, for example, have dropped or misplaced a bracket in the past. No problem when dealing with Peerless, replacement units are sent out next day FOC! Where else would I get that level of support and service?
You can tell a lot from the people representing a company and, from the managing director down, Peerless couldn’t have a nicer, more engaging team. There hasn’t been a project where Peerless couldn’t come up with a mounting solution.”
For more than 30 years, Riedel Communications has been a trailblazer and innovator in high-performance communications systems. While best known for its expertise with intercoms, the company has diversified into signal networks with its MediorNet family of products. Today, Riedel is synonymous with excellence in real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks, and its solutions have been deployed to support large-scale events, major entertainment arenas, and broadcast facilities all over the world. The company has over 600 employees working at its state-of-the-art headquarters in Wuppertal, Germany, and at locations around the globe.
Jean-Marc Poissenot, chief operating officer at the Paris La Défense Arena, with which Riedel has worked, commented: “Since the arena is state-of-the-art and groundbreaking in many ways, we needed nothing less than the state of the art in communications and signal routing technologies. Riedel was the obvious choice.”
SaltDNA is a multi-award-winning cybersecurity company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that builds secure enterprise mobile communications solutions. SaltDNA offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect its trusted relationships and stay safe. SaltDNA was formed in 2013 by a group of tech entrepreneurs with a shared history in enterprise security, telecoms, network optimisation and app development. As a company SaltDNA has shown extremely high levels of growth. 2019 was a record-breaking year for SaltDNA expanding their partner programme and gathering customers across six continents. SaltDNA was one of the UK’s Most Disruptive Companies by D/SRUPTION and One of Europe’s best in first ever ‘Ones to Watch’ list by the European Business Awards.
“After careful review of all available solutions it is clear that SaltDNA is the only solution which takes the need for management, compliance and encryption seriously. The others are just dressed up consumer apps,” said Joe Hancock, head of cyber security, Mishcon de Reya.
SMART Technologies UK
SMART technologies connect students, lesson content and devices to create interactive experiences that elevate outcomes and have a real impact on learning in the classroom. Its interactive displays and learning software are purpose-built, grounded in research and insights gathered from millions of educators. To serve the end user it has a two tier go to market strategy; distribution and channel In the UK we introduced a new channel programme in FY20 which had the reseller at the heart of its strategy. The ethos was to support and reward the channel partner who had earnt the specification decision and had invested in helping end users maximise their investment not just in SMART hardware but also in the software solution. In FY20 to date (11 months) SMART sold out 28 per cent more units than the previous year. Its sell out revenue is up 12 per cent and it is the fastest growing manufacturer of interactive flat panels. In July to Sept 2019 it achieved number one market share according to Future Source data.
“Because children tend to be very visual learners, it’s there, in front of the classroom, they remember things that are presented to them in a multimedia capacity. There’s no passive learning – they’re all active learning. The teacher has got the whole class in the palm of her hand,” said Julie Dunderdale-Smith, head teacher, Sharlston Community School, West Yorkshire.