Thursday, 21 July 2016 04:47

2016 ACOMMS 'Communications' award winners announced


The 2016 ACOMMS Awards has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, recognising excellence in the communications industry.

The ACOMMS are communications awards presented by the Communications Alliance and CommsDay.

With the finalists having been announced last month (and which can be seen here), the question of which finalists actually won was answered at a gala awards night event held at the Four Points by Sheraton in Sussex St, Sydney.

I attended as a guest of Macquarie Telecom, and watched as the chief executive of Communications Alliance, John Stanton, gave a funny and pointed introduction speech, with the entire event emceed by the lovely Julia Zemiro of RockWiz and Eurovision hosting fame.

The keynote speaker of the event was Federal Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, who had great fun roasting NBN chair Ziggy Switkowski's foray into NBN commentary during the caretaker period, as well as poking fun at the Labor Party’s Jason Clare and Ed Husic, noting how many tens of thousands more NBN connections were in their electorates compared with the time period in 2013 when the federal Coalition first won government after six years of Labor government.

He had plenty of other funny zingers, including a jab or two at Telstra’s recent outages and appeared to be having great fun giving the keynote.

Then after plenty of funny banter from Zemiro, we all got down to the business of discovering who the award winners were.

1. The first award was in the ‘Innovation – Large Company’ category.

Here, the whiner was Telstra Corporation for its Telstra Air network.

In the blurb we were told that "The launch of Telstra Air in June 2016 ushered in a new era of Wi-Fi in Australia. Today, Telstra Air is Australia’s largest Wi-Fi network, providing Australians with access to more than 300,000 hotspots in Australia and 17 million globally".

2. The second award was in the ‘Vendor Innovation Large Company’ category.

The winner was Optus Mobile Cash by Optus Wearables.

The blurb states that "Cash by Optus Wearables enables Optus mobile customers to live life more mobile with the ability to load funds to a facility on their phone and make contactless payments using their phone anywhere Visa payWave is accepted".

3. The third award was in the ‘Vendor Innovation Emerging’ category.

The winner was Symbio Networks Tollshield.

The blurb states that "Tollshield is the world’s first real-time toll fraud mitigation software. Its intelligent engine analyses billions of active calls to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent activity and block fraud in real time. TollShield is like a rottweiler than can smell the difference between a burglar and the postman".

4. The fourth award was in the ‘Commitment to Customer Service’ category.

The winner was Southern Phone Company for industry-leading customer service for mobile customers.

The blurb states: “SPC executed an integrated approach to lifting customer satisfaction feels for mobile customers by fostering a workplace culture of resolution not escalation; extending hours of operating in customer service and technical support areas to 24 hours, 7 days a week; and developing a team who understand requirements in rural and regional Australia."

5. The fifth award was for ‘Services to Industry Professional Services.’

The winner was Cisco Systems ‘Student Summit at Cisco Live Melbourne 2016’.

The blurb states: “Cisco’s Network Academy program brings together 500 students — spending a day with industry experts and the broadest gathering of local industry professionals at the NetAcad Student Summit during Cisco Live."

6. The sixth award was for ‘Best Mobile Solution.’

The winner was again Optus Mobile – Cash by Optus Wearables.

The blurb is the same as it is for the second award above.

7. The seventh award was for ‘IoT Innovator’.

The winner was NetComm Wireless for its "Smart Home Gateway".

The blurb states: "The NetComm Wireless Smart Home Gateway is the first IoT device to reduce household power consumption and sustain energy efficiency. The cutting-edge device enables the connection and remote management of energy meters, sensors, heat pumps and home automation devices in real-time; enabling diverse smart home applications on global mobile networks."

8. The eighth award was for ‘Community Contribution.’

Here there were TWO winners: Conexu Foundation  Braille CapTel, and the Vodafone Hutchison Australia and Vodafone Foundation DreamLab.

Conexu’s blurb states that: “The Braille CapTel Trial is a national technology trial that allows people who are both deaf and blind to access the telephone using their own voice. The trial is being conducted by the national non-profit organisation, Conexu Foundation, which develops and promotes communication technology to assist deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people."

Vodafone’s DreamLab blurb states: “DreamLab is Australia’s first smartphone supercomputer that speeds up cancer research for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. The Android app harnesses the collective power of users’ devices when they are charging, by sending them tiny problem from the cloud to solve. Users choose a research project (breast, prostate, ovarian or pancreatic cancer), and how much data they’d like to give on mobile (max 500MB a month) or Wi-Fi. DreamLab is supported by Vodafone Foundation and Vodafone Hutchison Australia."

9. The ninth award was for ‘Satellite Provider of the Year.’

The winner was SpeedCast Establishment of Teleport facilities in Australia.

The blurb states that "Speediest have strategically invested in infrastructure to support vital and secure communications to the rest of the world. As a result, Speedcasts’ two Australian teleports are recognised as highly secure Global Access Points, supporting certified classified networks to ensure the transmission of sensitive information for government clients. SpeedCast has also demonstrated dedication to quality and a recognised commitment to the highest levels of environmental management and safety standards through its ISO 9001, ISO 14,001 and OSHAS 18011 certifications".

10. The tenth award for best marketing initiative went to Cisco Live. 

There was no blurb provided as the winner was to be announced on the night, but Cisco Live is a legendary event that you can find more about here

11. The final, eleventh award went to Communications Ambassador for 2016.

The winner was David Stewart, the founder and ongoing chief executive of Australian technology company NetComm, which makes a range of routers, Wi-Fi extenders and more at retail, alongside a string of winds in the US to deliver IoT and M2M solutions.

David started NetComm more than 30 years ago and has been an incredible ambassador already for communications over the last three decades, so it was fantastic to see the ACOMMS people celebrating one of Australia’s greatest technological achievers, having successfully transferred that success to the US and global markets, making it an extremely richly deserved award for Stewart.

And that concluded the event’s formalities!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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