2021 Categories include:
AI/Analytics/Automation - Artificial intelligence and other automation software for networks, including database solutions and analytics systems.
Business Services - Solutions and gear for delivering or managing enterprise services. Includes SD-WAN, Ethernet-on-demand, VoIP, contact centers, and unified communications, including video and voice conferencing, speech recognition, e-mail and messaging.
BSS/OSS - Billing and operations support systems, including network management, customer experience management, service assurance, revenue management and other forward-thinking support and enablement.
Cloud Services - Cloud compute, storage and networking for private, public or hybrid clouds, as well as edge compute locations. Also includes vertical-specific cloud applications for business.
Customer Engagement - Partner management, Big Data analytics, customer service platforms, portal strategies, user-centric policy engines, self-provisioning, tools for leveraging and benchmarking social and companion apps, and more.
NEW! Digital Divide - Technologies, services, partnerships, and projects that are helping to make broadband more accessible and affordable to underserved areas and communities. Includes deployment and technological innovations.
IoT - Solutions and technologies geared toward bringing connectivity to devices and infrastructure. Includes Smart Cities, vehicles, homes, wearables, buildings, and all industrial verticals including healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy, and more.
Network Test and Measurement - Portable or lab-based hardware and software or centralized solutions for testing, management and maintenance of telecommunications networks. Includes security monitoring, troubleshooting, system monitoring and disaster recovery.
Next-Gen Deployment Wireless - Equipment and solutions used to segue from past wireless network buildouts to newer market models, including small cells, 5G SA NR, 5G SA Core, and other 5G development, Wi-Fi, backhaul and fronthaul, dynamic spectrum sharing, vRAN and O-RAN.
Next-Gen Deployment Wireline - Advances in broadband architectures for central offices, headends, data centers, backbones or the last mile, including fiber, Docsis 4.0, PON, Ethernet, Packet Optical, and distributed access architecture.
Private Wireless Networks - Hardware and software to deploy private wireless networks, spectrum access system (SAS) technology, and third-party spectrum solutions from carriers or other spectrum owners.
Security - Software and hardware geared toward securing networks, devices and content.
Applications will be scored by two judges and the aggregate of the scores will determine finalists and category winners. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Ease of Use/ROI: Does the entry improve and significantly impact a service provider’s business case, operational profile, business model and/or overall strategic position?
Effectiveness: Does the product or service deliver what it promises? Are there quantifiable metrics or case study data that demonstrates the value?
Technical Innovation: Is the product or service technologically ahead of the curve? Is it employing new systems or processes that have not yet been implemented in the industry?
Competitive Advantage: Can the product or service deliver a genuine competitive advantage that would better enable business processes?
Financial Impact: Does the product or service enable new revenue opportunities or greatly enhanced cost savings? Does it streamline workflow in a way that would lead to new operational efficiencies? Does it improve the Quality of Service or Quality of Experience for end users? Does it reduce subscription costs? Does it make it easier for the consumer or business to adopt and/or manage their service?
True Innovation: How unique is the entry? What problem does it solve? Has it pioneered a new way of doing things? Does it fit the definition of "game changing?"