The National Marine Electronics Association's (NMEA) Product Awards Committee has made several changes to its annual product awards program to expand and improve the selection process.
The program has two components-the NMEA Product Awards, which are chosen by NMEA members, and the NMEA Technology Award, which is selected by an independent panel of judges.
"We're all excited about this year's revamped awards program,' said Mark Reedenauer, NMEA President & Executive Director. "We will see companies win awards that might not have been recognized before. The addition of seven new categories reflects the technology expansion in marine electronics that can be seen today on a typical 30-plus foot vessel. All of us at NMEA are very grateful to the Product Awards Committee for their many hours of hard work to put this together.'
All of the winners will be named at the NMEA International Marine Electronics Conference and Expo, which will be held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland from September 29 to October 1.
Among the changes to the NMEA Product Awards are online voting rather than paper ballots and the addition of seven product categories including:
• Underwater Lights
• NMEA 2000 Sensors
• Marine Cameras
• Marine App: Aids to Navigation
• Marine App: End User Utility
• Marine App: Technical Utility
Rounding out the categories are Multi-function Displays, Autopilots, Fish Finders, Radars, Marine VHF Radios, Satellite Communications Antennas, Satellite TV Antennas and Manufacturer with Best Product Support.
The online voting procedure is aimed at streamlining both the nomination process by manufacturers and voting by the membership. NMEA says adding categories is to recognize the continual expansion of marine electronics technology and products.
Manufacturers must nominate products by July 2. Voting will begin on August 4 and end on September 30. The Awards Committee will carefully screen the products to ensure they qualify for the category in which they are entered. All NMEA members get one vote per category except for NMEA Dealer members, which receive one vote per employee that has taken any of the NMEA installer training courses.
Todd Tally of Atlantic Marine Electronics chairs the NMEA Product Awards Committee. Assisting him are Brian Kane of GOST, Paul Comyns of Intellian, and Chris Labozza of Precision Marine Center. Bruce Cole of McNabb Marketing Resources and Reedenauer are non-voting members of the committee.
The NMEA Technology Award honours a single product that a panel of independent marine electronics writers/editors considers to be the most innovative among those nominated by manufacturers. Products must have shipped after June 30, 2013, and prior to June 30, 2015. Judging will be conducted during the exhibit portion of the Conference and Expo. Companies must nominate products for consideration by September 2 and include specific supporting information.
Ben Ellison of Panbo.com and AIM publications will chair the independent panel of judges, which will include Bill Bishop of TheMarineInstallersRant.com and Jim Fullilove of Marine Electronics Journal, all members of Boating Writers International (BWI).
Details on participating in both the NMEA Product Awards and NMEA Innovation Award are available on www.nmea.org.