“Everyone was very happy for me. They were very proud and pleased. They thought I did well – no-one said I didn’t deserve it!” says Maddie Vining, senior AV technician at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, looking back at winning the Rising Star Award at the 2016 InstallAwards last June.
What has she been up to since then? “We had a big installation done over the summer – though I wasn’t much part of it – we had a new 4K projector installed, with a surround sound system. I’ve been working with the team, building my experience, and teaching people stuff.”
Is there anything she’s particularly proud of? “I’m quite proud of how everything’s turned out in the last year. I’m proud of our awards and our team. I feel we’ve got a good bunch of people who enjoy what they do and make the effort to provide a good service.”
She’s also enjoying the recognition the Rising Star Award has brought her. “It’s very nice for me having won the award. Being part of Women in AV and the AV User Group, people do mention it – and it’s nice to be recognised. I met one of the judges who voted for me. They explained they thought what I had done was good and they felt that I deserved it, which was really nice.”
So what would she say to someone now who might be thinking about entering the Rising Star Award? “I’d say, definitely go for it. It was an honour just to be nominated – it was nice to think someone thought I was worth the nomination. You’re not going to lose anything by going for it, it can only increase your confidence like it has with me, and make you feel good about yourself and the work you do, like you’re really making a difference.”
Ruben Rengel, managing director Absen Europe and Oceania reveals the importance of the company’s partners and sharing recognition with the entire team.
How did it feel to receive recognition at last year’s InstallAwards?
The pace is such in this industry that you rarely have the opportunity to look back at what was achieved. We are constantly working on new exciting projects and launching new products, so receiving recognition at last year’s InstallAwards not only gave us incredible pride, but it was also a great opportunity to associate our partner to the win and give them the recognition they deserved.
Being awarded in front of your peers is simply an amazing feeling, which we hope to experience again in the future. The InstallAwards are so much more than an industry accolade; receiving this from a leading international publication reinforces your reputation in the industry, and is a true recognition of the hard work. From R&D to sales, from customer service to technical teams, the InstallAwards celebrates all our employees, whether they have been involved directly or indirectly in the project.
What prompted you to enter last year?
First of all, we were confident that, with the digitalisation of Fiumicino airport, we had a top contender that would be high on the jury’s list. Also, Installation is a highly respected publication, which sees hundreds of installations each year, and we knew that it could help our partner and ourselves to get the recognition that was deserved. Finally, the prospect of spending an afternoon with your peers in an amazing venue in London is always an attractive proposition.
What advice would you give to those considering entering this year?
You can only win awards in the pro AV industry when you are surrounded with amazing people: employees, partners, distributors, integrators, clients, all these people have the ability to make a good project an amazing one. Get your partners involved, make sure you write a solid entry that is backed up with high quality pictures, and don’t be shy. If you have the right product, and the right partners, you deserve industry recognition.
Integrator AVMI was involved in two of the big InstallAwards wins last year. It won the Best Corporate/Industrial Project Award for its work with the Ministry of Justice, but “the big one for us”, according to marketing manager Alex Couzins, was the Integrator’s Choice: In-House Team of the Year Award, which was won by HSBC following AVMI’s nomination.
This came from “working with the guys at HSBC on a global project that had been in development for four years and is still ongoing,” explains Couzins. “To recognise their achievements and ongoing efforts and hard work really paid off. The news was circulated internally across their network and it really helped us as the integrator to strengthen that relationship. A lot of good things have come from that.”
The HSBC project is “essentially proof of concept” of a new AVMI service called Streamline, explains Couzins. Since its soft launch, “we’ve branched out and selectively targeted key accounts and key prospects and won several new clients off the back of that – including blue-chip companies”.
AVMI has also developed the Streamline management portal – “a very substantial piece of software, and a key element of Streamline projects”.
Marketing the platform, including giving demos at industry events such as the AV User Group, has “started filling the order book,” he says.
The Streamline team, originally small, has grown to more than 15 people. “I would class it not just as a service but as a division – a business within a business, if you like. The InstallAward was a validator, right from the start – it showed that we were on to something, and it made the client more receptive to talking about the project, so it’s been very positive since then.”
InstallAwards 2016 AVMITurning to the Best Corporate/Industrial Award-winning project: this was for AVMI’s work rolling out digital technology across what has since become a total of 800 courtrooms. “It was all about moving to a digital, paperless courtroom where trials are run off iPads.”
He adds that the project involved other innovations that weren’t submitted for consideration in the InstallAwards due to space limitations on the entry form. These include OBWAN, which he describes as “like a wireless broadcasting system on steroids”: deployable anywhere, it can provide live video links and also provide ad-hoc WiFi connectivity. “It’s been really useful for some large court cases.”
The award has helped AVMI to promote its work within the government and public services sector, while drawing attention to its other innovations. “I’ve been approached in the past couple of months by several event organisers in the area of government technology who have seen that we’ve been recognised for the project in that space and felt that we would be a good match.”
To those contemplating entering the InstallAwards, he says: “Go for it – absolutely! I like the fact that it forces you to boil down your ideas into a succinct form. It’s a good opportunity to engage with your clients, especially the Integrator’s Choice Award. Clients and their internal teams like to see that they are being recognised by their suppliers; there’s no work involved from them and it’s good for the relationship.”