The world's oldest forum for discussion and debate in the television community, the Royal Television Society (RTS), has launched the 2007 Innovation Awards. Formerly the Technology Awards, the RTS has re-vamped the categories to reflect the rise of the new technologies which are transforming the broadcasting world, writes Andy Stout.
The awards now aim to better recognise the outstanding achievements of those working to take media into the next generation - from developing new technologies in video production, manipulation and distribution, to exploiting new developments and enhancement of content. The award categories have thus been changed to emphasise the growing interdependence of content and technology and to reward those that are reaching out to new communities of users with innovative and interactive ways of communicating with anything from hardware to software to delivery techniques.
The new categories are:
The Under the Bonnet Award - recognises a significant advance in the way content is managed or transferred in any part of the chain from development to end user. This could be anything from a new example of engineering excellence to the creation of enabling software or database development. This award is not intended for hardware.
The Gizmo Award - recognises a "box of tricks" that is readily available in the UK. This piece of hardware may or may not contain revolutionary software but as a piece of equipment answers a previously unmet need. Judges will primarily look at the functionality but will also take into account how easily the hardware can be assembled, integrated, maintained, understood and used.
The Raising the Bar Award - recognises a technique, technology, production device, or programme which sets a new "gold standard" of expectations. This could be anything that has taken the viewing or using experience forward, to a level that cannot be lowered again without disappointing or losing viewers - such as a new picture quality, a production technology within a programme or use of production tools in a new and exciting way.
The On the Move Award - recognises either a significant advance in the way users can access content while away from base, or a significant development in mobile content. This could be a service, device, product or programme.
The Community Award - recognises significant value to a niche community of users or viewers. The award will recognise a new service, product, programme or piece of hardware that benefits a not necessarily large range of users or community.
The User-Generated Content Award - recognises advances in the area of development, production, organisation, manipulation or distribution of content, which is either user-generated or involves viewers and users widely in interactivity. This could be either informational or entertainment and could be based on linear TV programmes that have been re-invented for new audiences or to help form user relationships.
The Judges' Award for Outstanding Innovation - this will be decided by the judges from the full range of ideas, development, activity and achievement within and related to the media. They will recognise an individual or group that has shown great vision in determining the future development of media and how the wider community will relate to all aspects of communication. No entries are required for this award as it will be at the discretion of the judges.
Jeff Henry, director, ITV Consumer & chair, RTS Innovation Awards, said: "It is very fitting that the oldest and most respected television society should now be recognising the new and most innovative parts of our industry. The RTS awards represent the benchmark of quality and excellence within our industry and I am delighted to be chairing these awards to celebrate the efforts of the talented people bringing their energy to many exciting projects across the sector."
All entries must be work carried out principally within the last two years. Entries will be accepted from organisations based in the UK or internationally, as long as the hardware or application is readily available to UK users. Cost of entry is _117.50 (Inc. VAT). The closing date for entries is Monday 2 July 2007. The Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday 1 December at BAFTA.