The awards committee of the National Marine Electronics Association made several changes in the annual product awards program that are designed 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.
All of the winners will be named at the NMEA International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo, which will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore.
Among the changes to the NMEA Product Awards are online voting, rather than paper ballots, and the addition of seven categories: AIS; underwater lights; NMEA 2000 sensors; marine cameras; and three marine app categories — aids to navigation, end-user utility and technical utility.
The online voting procedure is aimed at streamlining the nomination process for manufacturers and the voting done by members. Adding categories recognizes the continual expansion of marine electronics technology and products.
"We're all excited about this year's revamped awards program," NMEA president and executive director Mark Reedenauer said in a statement. "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."
Manufacturers must nominate products by July 2. Voting will begin on Aug. 4 and end Sept. 30. The awards committee will screen the products to ensure they qualify for the category in which they are entered.
NMEA members get one vote per category, except for NMEA dealer members, which receive one vote per employee who has taken an NMEA installer training course.