The 2020 Leading Lights Awards winners have been announced via a special pandemic-proof, super socially-distant online video conference call (and a little editing magic), connecting six editors in three countries.
The Leading Lights winners were chosen following the judging of hundreds of submissions in 21 categories, which this year included recognition for those companies making progress in networking, digital enablement, 5G, AI/Analytics, edge computing, blockchain, SD-WAN, telco cloud and many more.
The Leading Lights finalists were announced in June after several delays as we optimistically looked to see if there was any possibility at all that we could somehow get folks together for a gala dinner to hand them out in person. We couldn't do it safely this year but we'll hold a good thought for 2021 and start making those plans soon.
In the meantime, we have a lot of winners to announce in this year's Leading Lights. Check out the entire list below:
Most Innovative Blockchain for Telecoms Strategy
Awarded to the company that has devised the most innovative blockchain-based strategy in the telecoms market during the past year.
Winner: Whale Cloud
Whale Cloud wins for its blockchain-based data-sharing platform, which allows communications service providers to share data with enterprise customers from sectors such as banking, insurance and technology.
Most Innovative IoT/M2M Strategy
Awarded to the communications service provider, systems integrator or technology developer that has unveiled the most innovative Internet of Things/Machine to Machine (IoT/M2M) strategy during the past year.
Plume wins for creating a smart-home services bundle that boosts connectivity within the home, enhances IoT security and offers Zoom subscribers better Wi-Fi experiences.
Most Innovative Security Strategy
Awarded to the communications service provider, systems integrator or technology developer that has unveiled the most innovative security strategy during the past year.
Sprint wins for Sprint Secure for reducing false positives from 98% to 15%, and protecting users against malware, ransomware, PowerShell attacks, mobile device phishing and more.
Company of the Year (Private)
Awarded to the privately held firm that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.
DriveNets brings radical cost reduction and operational simplicity to the carrier routing world and its catching on at some of the world's largest telecom service providers.
Outstanding Components Vendor
Awarded to the components vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud and makes employees happy. NOTE: This category is suitable for 5G-related component strategies.
LotusFlare gets special recognition as a leader in software-based embedded Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) technologies superseding physical SIMs and putting service providers in position to differentiate in hotly competitive markets.
Outstanding Digital Enablement Vendor
Awarded to the next-generation OSS/BSS/analytics/digital commerce systems vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.
Amdocs notches the win as the veteran OSS/BSS company broadens its connection to the cloud, expands its automation and debuts RevenueONE, a cloud-native, microservices-based 5G monetization platform.
"Can we get the slides so we can share them in our company newsletter?"
Yes, you can get the monkey-fightin' slides slides for your "Monday-to-Friday" newsletter.
Here ya go:
Most Innovative Business Cloud Service
Awarded to the communications service provider that has launched the most innovative business cloud service for enterprise and/or small or midsized corporate users during the past year.
Vonage wins for its Vonage Communications Platform, which gives developers and enterprises the tools to create customized, real-time conversations across messaging and voice channels.
Most Innovative Telco Cloud Product Strategy (Vendor)
Awarded to the technology vendor that has devised the most innovative telco cloud (virtualization, SDN/NFV) product strategy during the past year.
Winner: Volta Networks
Volta wins for its Elastic Virtual Routing Engine, which cuts routing costs, brings deployment flexibility and is interoperable with existing router technology.
Company of the Year (Public)
Awarded to the publicly listed firm that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.
Ciena is a well-oiled machine. It's been consistently well-managed and its products seem to hit the market at just the right time. This is the first time since 2015 that we've had a repeat winner in this category.
Most Innovative Telco Cloud Strategy (Network/Data Center Operator)
Awarded to the network or data center operator that has devised the most innovative telco cloud (virtualization, SDN/NFV) strategy during the past year.
Winner: Colt Technology Services
Colt wins for its dedicated cloud access solution, allowing customers to access public cloud services with added speed and security benefits.
Most Innovative Cable/Video Product or Service
Awarded to the company that has developed a potentially market-leading product, application or strategy that has enabled the launch, deployment or creation of innovative, profitable cable, video, TV or multimedia services during the past year.
Winner: Synamedia Smart Rate Control
As consumer adoption of streaming video expands and puts increased stress on networks, Synamedia is offering some helpful TLC with an AI-supported platform that helps service providers and programmers deliver more bandwidth-efficient live streams without sacrificing video quality.
Most Innovative Mobile/Wireless Product or Service
Awarded to the company that has developed a potentially market-leading product, application or strategy that has enabled the launch, deployment or creation of innovative, profitable mobile/wireless services (4G/Wi-Fi/unlicensed) during the past year.
Rakuten, Intel and Altiostar Networks win for building one of the world's first container-based, cloud-native radio access networks (RAN), a move that will likely pave the way for much of the rest of the industry in the future.
Most Innovative Private Wireless Networks Strategy
Awarded to the company that has devised the most innovative private wireless networks strategy during the past year.
Nokia wins for its industrial-grade private wireless solutions suite, a comprehensive lineup of private network products catering to customer needs in the transportation, energy, manufacturing, public sector and webscale sectors of the market.
Most Innovative Telecoms Product (Optical/IP/Carrier Ethernet/FTTH)
Awarded to the company that has developed a potentially market-leading optical/IP/Ethernet product that, through engineering and technical excellence, enables the deployment of profitable next-generation telecom services.
Infinera is doing something truly unique with XR Optics. It's a disruptive idea that requires a big change in service provider thinking.
Most Innovative AI/Analytics Strategy
Awarded to the company that has devised the most innovative strategy built around the development or use of AI/analytics capabilities during the past year.
Winner: A1 Telekom Austria SARA
The widely deployed SARA platform uses a mix of machine language and AI techniques to support network planning and ops alongside other functions such as marketing and sales. SARA takes an open API approach to ensure support for multiple vendor and technology environments.
Most Innovative SD-WAN Service
Awarded to the company that has launched the most innovative SD-WAN service for enterprise and/or small or midsized corporate users during the past year.
Masergy wins for the Masergy Managed SD-WAN service, integrating an artificial intelligence virtual engineer, cybersecurity for visibility into cloud applications, and Identity-based WAN Analytics for per-user visibility into its SD-WAN platform.
Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy (Vendor)
Awarded to the technology vendor that has devised the most innovative software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) product/platform strategy during the past year.
Fortinet's Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch services provides customers with integrated security, improved application experience on-premises and in cloud applications, and zero-touch provisioning.
Most Innovative Edge Computing Strategy
Awarded to the network operator or technology developer that has devised the most innovative edge computing strategy during the past year.
Winner: Red Hat Edge Computing Strategy with Red Hat OpenStack Platform
Red Hat wins for crafting a way for service providers to centrally manage their edge deployments with the same tools used to manage core OpenStack deployments.
Most Innovative 5G Technology
Awarded to the company that, during the past year, has developed a potentially market-leading product that will enable the launch, deployment or creation of 5G services.
Winner: Altiostar Networks
The open RAN trend is increasingly dominating discussions among network architects and tech policymakers around the world, and sitting at the center of that movement is Altiostar Networks, which is why the company wins in the innovative 5G technology category.
Most Innovative 5G Strategy
Awarded to the company that has outlined and clearly communicated an innovative, market-leading 5G networking technology or service development strategy during the past year.
Winner: SK Telecom
SK Telecom, one of the first operators in the world to launch 5G, wins because it has steadily continued to expand its 5G coverage and service lineup, and now has several million actual 5G customers to show for it a global rarity.
Outstanding Test & Measurement Vendor
Awarded to the communications networking test and measurement, monitoring or assurance systems vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.
Winner: VIAVI Solutions
Last year, VIAVI was a finalist for its prudent acquisitions and ability to adapt to new markets. The company wins this year for its market leadership in several key test and measurement areas, including 5G, optical transport networks, optical manufacturing, Ethernet, DOCSIS and more.
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in this year's Leading Lights contest. Also, please take a moment to tip your cap to (or furrow your brow at) our fresh set of nominees for The Light Reading Hall of Fame: