The CEDIA Awards: Mythbusting!

James Bliss | Mar 04, 2020
Every year we get similar questions and comments from a number of CEDIA members regarding our annual CEDIA Awards programs, so I want to address these for you up front — and dispel a few myths:
This isn’t a real competition; the same companies win each year.
Granted there are companies that win perennial CEDIA Awards, but these companies are doing excellent work and continue to enter the program each year. We also have a number of businesses that have won or been shortlisted in their first year competing.
The entry process is completely anonymous, and we have a recusal process in place should any judges recognize the origin of a particular project.
You have to be in it to win it!
The program requires expensive and comprehensive documentation that we don’t produce.
It’s a common misconception that these documents have to be produced from AutoCAD: these documents can be created in any software — or even hand drawn — as long as the documentation is legible, and the judges are able to follow it to ascertain the evidence needed for their criteria.

The documentation that is requested is to help the judges to see evidence that the details that have been submitted about the particular project. If you say the speakers are correctly positioned for the seats of your cinema, we need evidence. If you say your rack is properly ventilated, we need evidence. If you say you did a custom GUI, we need evidence.

We don’t have a professional photography budget for all our projects.

Photography is strictly used for two separate purposes: PR and marketing, and the judging process. There is no requirement that the photography for judging is of a high or professional quality; it simply needs to be clear enough to support the rest of the entry. Wide shots and close-ups taken on a phone camera are completely acceptable for the judging purposes.

Of course when it comes to PR and marketing, we would like the most professional photography possible: we want your projects to look absolutely stunning for the awards gala, case studies, showcase website, yearbook, and any other PR opportunities that we might have to feature your project (and I’m sure you would too!).

The entry process is long and complicated; we don’t have time.

Our awards submission platform allows you to enter your information at your own pace — there’s no need to enter it all at once, and your progress is automatically saved as you go. Also, CEDIA’s team is available to assist you any time with any issues or difficulties that you might have, and to make sure that you’re on the right track.

Furthermore, we have improved the platform this year to be quicker, more responsive, and more user-friendly: that means faster uploads, easier navigation, tidy summary pages, and integrated feedback.

I can’t get my client to sign the release forms.

We have an element of flexibility in these forms. We have a minimum requirement that must be met for us to execute the program effectively, but we can restrict the wider use of any projects or assets if that helps you to achieve sign-off. The same applies to photography releases; we are happy to use custom accreditation or watermarking where necessary if it helps you to get a project signed off.

All judging takes place under NDA, and those assets are never shared outside of the judging panel without previous consent from both you and the homeowner/client representative.

There isn’t enough value if we make the finalists list — or even win.

Winners and finalists each receive a bespoke four-page case study and are featured in our digital awards publications. You’ll also receive appropriate logos so that you can promote your success to your own audience.

Additionally, we are often contacted by flagship publications about featuring best-in-class case studies: In 2019, awards finalists and winners were featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, and the Financial Times, among many other publications.

We hope that these tools, along with the credibility you’ll build both internally and externally, provide great value for a program that is included in your membership cost. We know that previous winners have been approached directly to work on projects based on them being doing award winning work in the past!

I don’t have any new projects that I just finished.

Don’t worry, any projects that you completed since March 31, 2018, and are completed by the entry deadline, can by submitted. Furthermore, if you began a submission in previous years and didn’t complete it, you can also re-enter that project. Why not even submit a media room or home cinema from a previous Integrated Home entry? If you have questions about resubmitting a project for a different award, please get in touch with us to discuss.

Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us directly should you have any questions about the entry or judging process, requirements, or the Awards program in general.

Enter here. Questions?

In the EMEA region: James Bliss jbliss@cedia.org

In the Americas/Asia Pacific regions: Jessica Thornburg jthornburg@cedia.org