The Small Cell Forum Industry Awards has to be my favourite time of the year in the ‘small cell world’. There’s a certain excitement in the air when you have all the top players in the ecosystem compete for recognition while at the same time cheer each other on as the winners get announced and make their way to the podium. This year’s SCF awards had a staggering 65+ submissions from which the independent panel of judges selected the deserving winners.
The Forum themed this year’s evening as ‘The Night of a Thousand Stars’ and it surely felt that way as we walked through the solid wooden doors of the Painted Hall at the old Royal Naval College last Wednesday, 10th June. It was a truly majestic sight!
At ip.access we were happy to be shortlisted with our partners for three awards. Two of these awards fell under the same category of Excellence in Rural deployment. One nomination was with our partner iDirect for our ‘small cells on the move’ deployments across the aviation, maritime and first responder sector.The second was with Telefonica del Peru for delivering connectivity to the remote parts of the Peruvian jungle. Sadly for us, the judges gave this award to the interesting submission by EE & Parallel wireless for their contributions in re-imagining the economics of rural cellular deployments.
Our drum roll then commenced as we approached the award for Social Impact. For this award we were shortlisted with our valued partner SIRRAN for using small cells in providing advanced LTE testbeds for aspiring engineers worldwide – currently accessed by students and researchers from anywhere in the world to develop new wireless applications and technologies. The testbeds are vital not only for the development of next–generation wireless technology, but also for fostering the next generation of aspiring telecom engineers by providing them with world-leading facilities in which to explore, create, question and validate their ideas.
In the words of Keith Dyer, The Mobile Network: “The judges were impressed by the commitment shown by ip.access and SiRRAN to extending open access to real world technology, via the EU FLEX project. By delivering their eNodeB and EPC technology with enhanced control, configuration and management capabilities, the companies have greatly enhanced the ability of a generation of researchers to develop and test ideas on fully operational testbeds.
“The lack of such facilities often limits the ability of research students, so this project has delivered a real impact in the academic community, with results that can only be beneficial for the wider small cell ecosystem.”
The final highlight of the night was when my colleague Kit Kilgour, the Standards Manager at ip.access, won the prestigious ‘Chairs award’ for his contribution to the work of the Forum. A fantastic mark of recognition by his peers for the sustained contributions he’s made to the work of the Forum and to the industry as a whole – I’d like to take this opportunity to cheer him on one last time :^)
I’d also like to say thanks to the Small Cell Forum for throwing another wonderful awards ceremony and to Avren Events for the choice of venue and overall management of the night, as well as a BIG thanks to all the Judges who kept us on the edge of our seats until the end!