The second annual SCN Stellar Service Awards are upon us and we need your help! For the next week we are asking you, the reader, to vote for this year’s winners between now and February 27.

Below, we’ve listed all the candidates for each category. Please take a moment to read through the descriptions and vote here.

The winner will be announced in our 2015 Spring Special Edition of Systems Contractor News.

Best Use Of An Afternoon (Best Online Training)

Atlona
Atlona’s online training program, launched in September, 2014, is a free, formalized, three-level curriculum training program designed to support the company’s growing global network of dealers and distributors with increased knowledge of Atlona products, implementation of new products, system designs, and business operations. The academy is made up of online tutorials and evaluated by exams, and recently certified its 100th dealer in its first-level curriculum, a commitment that can take four to six hours per level.

Biamp
Biamp’s online training provides integrators and consultants with self-guided sessions that provide individuals timely knowledge on trends, practices, and products that are shaping today’s AV marketplace. By offering 24/7 access to online training opportunities, self-paced certification for VoIP, as well as Biamp’s TesiraFORTÉ platform, a dedicated YouTube training channel, and access to Cornerstone—Biamp’s online technical support knowledgebase—this leading program creates the world’s most complete learning experience for the web-based user.

Crestron
Online courses from Crestron offer a convenient alternative for busy AV professionals that want to begin their learning experience or increase their knowledge of Crestron products. First, there are full-length, introductory self-paced courses that are prerequisite to attending specified classroom training. These courses provide a great way to get essential information that will benefit any system designer, installer, or programmer, whether they attend classroom training or not. Also available are Crestron Quick Courses, individual short movies that cover a variety of specific topics and tips.

Extron Electronics
Extron offers a host of convenient online training content in multiple languages, providing ideal opportunities for students to earn AV industry continuing education units. Online training includes Extron’s AV Associate Certification and a portion of XTP Certification allows students to learn at their own pace and gain a better understanding of the fundamentals. Extron also offers a configuring for control training and a publications review program, which is a unique opportunity to read specified Extron publications for education units.

Rane Corporation
Rane offers personalized, on-demand web training for its HAL DSPs and Halogen software. Want an overview? No problem. Want a complete soup-to-nuts training session? You're on! Need programing assistance? They’ve got it.

Revolabs
The Revolabs Academy Training Program is an industry benchmark for online learning. Free to current Revolabs customers, the portal lets users explore audio fundamentals, performance tips, and installation best practices for Revolabs products. With intuitive guidance, the program also allows participants to earn four CTS credits after successfully completing each course, which include topics such as the principles of audio, echo cancellation, microphone placement, product integration, configuration settings, repair procedures, RF stability, and avoiding interference.

Symetrix
Symetrix offers award-winning online training to help partners and integrators build competency across the range of solutions offered. From live, one-hour webinars on specific product functions to self-paced video tutorials on the whole product range, Symetrix provides educational resources to consistently keep the industry up to speed. By understanding how to use the products effectively with real-world applications, partner employees can select the training courses to build competencies that complement their overall partner strategy and application focus. From time to time, Symetrix also teams up with Audinate--creator of the industry-leading Dante networked media technology--to deliver a range of online trainings focused on audio transport.


Best Excuse To Leave The Office (Best In-House Training Program)

Biamp
Part of the Biamp Education Experience, Biamp’s hands-on product certification training provides customers with a comprehensive face-to-face learning program. Designed to empower integrators and consultants with information, exercises, and tips for Biamp’s products, the multi-day sessions offered in the U.S., Hong Kong, UAE, and India have become an industry standard for the global delivery of highly comprehensive AV education. Led by Biamp application engineers, sessions also include an interactive bonus: a copious lunch!

C.E.D. Inc.
C.E.D. offers an easy-to-navigate website with a complementary online store available to authorized dealer customers for fast, convenient online ordering. With a personalized account login, C.E.D. delivers a clean, streamlined platform in which dealers can view their completed order entry, browse all product offerings, access accurate pricing details and inventory, as well as view in-depth product spec sheets and manuals, empowering dealers with a one-stop shop and resource for all of their consumer electronics needs.

Crestron
Crestron Training Institute (CTI) prepares you to join the elite of custom installers and integrators through a comprehensive training curriculum, currently at 22 courses. With 57 training facilities worldwide, each staffed with dedicated instructors, and convenient online courses, CTI equips you to compete and grow in the AV industry. Achieved by tens of thousands of professionals, DigitalMedia 4K Certification is the industry’s only standard for expertise in design and installation of 4K digital AV networks.

Extron Electronics
Education and training are the cornerstones of Extron’s commitment to its customers. Extron Institute and certification programs enable AV professionals to build upon their understanding of existing technologies and to learn about emerging technologies such as 4K, streaming AV, and control configuration. Courses are designed to encourage explorations of a wide range of digital and hybrid system designs and to experiment with various implementation methods for effective AV resource management.

Shure Incorporated
Shure gives system designers, installation teams, production crews and end users that operate multiple wireless systems a great reason to play hooky with its Advanced Wireless Seminar. The hands-on course, taught by system designers and technology experts, addresses the industry’s most buzzed about (and most misunderstood!) wireless topics: advanced RF theory, operation in hostile RF environments, multiple system installation, etc.

Sound Productions, Inc.
Sound Productions has created a fully functional training and demonstration room that provides two to three topic-based training sessions each month. It has a working sound stage, contractor products, recording studio, DJ setup and over a dozen consoles that can control the house mix. The company also boasts the ability to seat over 100 guests in this state-of-the-art room. The best part of its new offering: it provides all of the training for free.

Stampede
Stampede is teaming up with InfoComm’s Roundtable Events to bring the bigger, broader Stampede Big Book of AV Tour & Conference, featuring an enhanced ProAV conference-style format comprised of leading industry executives, subject matter, and expert keynote speakers, as well as leading industry manufacturers from every product category. Each daylong conference provides industry insights, technology updates, and training forums for total business needs. Similarly, Stampede University provides 24/7 online training programs for residential integrators anytime, anywhere.

Symetrix
Symetrix offers in-house training for partners and integrators worldwide. Regular technical training summits are offered near the Seattle, WA headquarters and are extremely popular. Moreover, Symetrix also provides localized training wherever possible, including at global distributors' offices and US domestic sessions. International training sessions dedicated to specific regions are also held, and Symetrix works with Audinate--creator of the industry-leading Dante media networking technology--to host regional roadshows around the US. Symetrix also takes part in global AV Networking World events, which bring together leading manufacturers to discuss their networked AV products in association with Audinate.

Synnex Corporation
What has been referred to as a “clear the calendar event,” the Synnex Pro AV Summit held each May is a premier customer experience. In the three-day event, an intimate group of integrators and vendors are able to network with their Synnex team at celebrity parties and concerts while also learning how Synnex is positioned to help them tackle emerging markets and technologies.


The Dealer Portal You Want To Keep Going Back To (Best Website Dealer Portal)

AVAD
AVAD added to their convenient online ordering system in 2014 by launching Quote Builder, the industry’s first customizable dealer sales tool. The value-added website resource quickly generates professional estimates in real time and helps dealers organize sales efforts, track invoices and place orders easily. AVAD customers can save, email, search or print quotes directly from their dealer account with 24/7 access.

C.E.D. Inc.
C.E.D. offers an easy-to-navigate website with a complementary online store available to authorized dealer customers for fast, convenient online ordering. With a personalized account login, C.E.D. delivers a clean, streamlined platform in which dealers can view their completed order entry, browse all product offerings, access accurate pricing details and inventory as well as view in-depth product spec sheets and manuals, empowering dealers with a one-stop shop and resource for all of their consumer electronics needs.

Crestron
The Crestron website is a vast portal of invaluable resources for installers, integrators, and end users. Even non-Crestron dealers consider it their best source for industry and product information. For residential and commercial projects, end-user clients can get detailed product and design information on thousands of leading products and solutions. You can access the materials you need in downloadable/viewable formats, too, such as mp3, streaming, YouTube, and Vimeo.

Draper, Inc.
The Draper Pro Portal provides access to all of Draper’s online tools for AV professionals—from its projection planner to electronic price lists, status updates, and more—in one convenient place. This is open to all AV professionals, not only Draper dealers, but also architects, consultants, contractors, designers, installers, retailers, and end users. The Pro Portal also includes a projector lift selector tool, configuration tools for StageScreen and FocalPoint screens, and Draper’s library of documents, images and brochures.

Extron Electronics
Extron Insider provides customers with access to Extron software downloads, certification programs, system builders that allow users to quickly and easily build a system and order online, product configuration tools, informational product and training videos, and access to valuable technical articles, white papers, and design guides. Extron has taken care to provide each Extron Insider with access to the exact information he or she needs for his or her specific job.

Middle Atlantic Products
Middle Atlantic’s website makes it easy for dealers to find the right products they need, along with helpful videos, product drawings, white papers, and A&E specifications. In addition to accessing dealer information, including recent orders, stock availability, and account-specific pricing, the site includes the new web-based configurator that enables customers to easily select, configure, quote and purchase the precise infrastructure system to fit their project needs.


Sales Support You Can Believe In (Best Sales Operation)

AVAD
AVAD sales and marketing efforts are customer-focused to raise dealer awareness of our continuum of promotions and incentives, which are designed to make it easier to manage and grow your business. Full-scale partnerships enable us to best help major dealers hone a sales program or custom product portfolios backed by our distribution network. AVAD maintains active social media accounts and AVAD Mobile apps to keep dealers connected to sales initiatives that help their business thrive.

BTX Technologies, Inc.
BTX is a unique and valuable support partner throughout all phases of a project. Its experienced team of CTS-certified professionals can recommend and support solutions from a carefully handpicked pool of high-value, high-tech products that were selected for how well they work and how well they work together. BTX reaches into all diverse corners of the AV industry, and after nearly 50 years of sharing solutions, it has accumulated an arsenal of creative designs that give its customers a true competitive advantage.

Crestron
Crestron is committed to helping its dealers expand their business and close more deals. We offer use of our state-of-the-art Crestron Experience Centers and Design Showrooms, personalized executive briefings and tours, case studies, co-op advertising, and live online system design assistance. Our market development managers provide our dealers with expert support when selling into key vertical markets including corporate, hospitality, government, military, and education, even teaming up to deliver presentations and live demos to prospective clients.

Draper, Inc.
Draper offers comprehensive screen selection tools and provides continuous training to keep dealers up to date. It works through social media to keep in touch with dealers, distributors, and end users, and provides content for dealers to use on their own social media outreach platforms. It offers literature both in printed form and as a PDF on the Draper website for quick and easy access.

Extron Electronics
Extron was founded on the core value of professional integrity with the ultimate goal of complete customer satisfaction. This commitment is reflected in its three ongoing guiding principles: service, support, and solutions. Extron employees are prepared to do whatever it takes to make certain that the entire process of doing business with them is a positive and professionally rewarding experience for you.

Stampede
Stampede’s Big Book of AV (BBOAV) offers more than 1,000 pages of AV solutions, providing industry-leading marketing assistance to resellers nationwide. The BBOAV can be custom printed with any company’s logo and information on the cover, so resellers can showcase more than 5,000 SKUs to their own customers without mentioning Stampede. Coupled with the free BBOAV website, Stampede is dedicated to helping resellers look, feel, and act like pros.

Synnex Corporation
Synnex’s sales team not only helps integrators secure core pro AV deals, but also expands their products and services portfolio with connected solutions that overlay into wireless infrastructure, video conferencing, and mobility. Integrators don’t have to say “no” to IT-type projects because Synnex is there to back them up. Even better, Synnex provides a proprietary SPIFF report customized for each customer to capture available funds and not leave any money on the table.

ViewSonic
ViewSonic’s extensive and experienced sales organization is dedicated to helping resellers expand into new markets and emerging technologies through its industry-leading support. With reliable, 24/7 customer assistance and in-house VIP service, its sales team provides top-to-bottom support to benefit its partners’ goals. ViewSonic provides the tools for partner success through custom-tailored programs, professional marketing content, special pricing, 24-hour turnaround bid desk, technical assistance, training, and lead management.

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. has 24/7 technical and service support at no charge for their customers. When asked, most customers agree that Yamaha Commercial Audio is extremely loyal to their customer base and always available for after-sales support. The Company's friendly and knowledgeable Customer Service Sales Department rates second to none. Product reliability, field and on site training of products through Yamaha Commercial Audio Training Seminars (YCATS) has raised the bar for the commercial audio industry.


The Rep You Would Hire If You Could (Best Manufacturer’s Rep)

NEC Display Solutions
The attention that NEC Display Solutions’ outside sales representatives give to their resellers and customers is above and beyond. You can count on a high-quality, experienced account manager to offer you the one-on-one business relationship that you deserve. The account managers are focused on meeting each and every need of their accounts. Many of NEC Displays’ sales representatives have a long tenure with the company, offering continuity of working relationships and support.


The Number You Have On Autodial (Best Tech Support)

Alcorn McBride Inc.
Alcorn McBride's support philosophy is to resolve all of its customers needs quickly. No paperwork, no "tickets" or associated costs; we empower our employees to just take care of it. Our customers usually contact us with an install question that can't wait, so we staff our support team with the engineers who designed our products and can solve problems efficiently. In the case of a product issue, its standard five-year warranty covers an advanced replacement.

Atlona
Atlona’s commitment to ensuring its dealers and distribution partners’ success and support goes beyond simple product support. The company offers pre-sale system design assistance, as well as post-sale technical support and advanced training. Atlona’s global team of AV system designers, engineers, and technicians are available seven days a week to answer questions, help with a system design, or troubleshoot a field issue. And its success is proven by the company’s customer satisfaction rating that exceeds 90 percent.

AVAD
AVAD Tech Support offers integrators unparalleled product knowledge from an in-house team of experts, aimed at helping dealers hone their competitive edge and troubleshoot system integration. First-class support is available at each of our branches in addition to dedicated phone and email support access. AVAD’s valuable support includes assistance from the AVAD System Design Group, a team of technology experts who provide residential and commercial design services including needs analysis, AutoCAD presentations and product selection.

Biamp

Biamp Systems’ application engineering team is famous within the AV industry for its never-say-die troubleshooting determination and commitment, immeasurable product and manufacturer knowledge, and ability to break down solutions in a way that any buyer, installer, or end user can easily understand. Available around the world, virtually 24/7, Biamp’s all-star team of professionals will stay with the customer until the problem is solved, making above-and-beyond service just another day at the office.

Crestron
With more than 90 offices around the world, fully staffed with certified technicians, Crestron provides expert local support wherever you are. Our award-winning True Blue Support Team is always on-call to quickly respond to and resolve any issue. When you call, our advanced tracking software ensures every customer gets taken care of promptly, even after hours. We can also dispatch our Advanced Technical Support Group (ATSG) to your job site at a moment’s notice – free.

Da-Lite
The Da-Lite technical support team of four has the combined experience of 43 years. They are always a phone call away, and are experts at visualizing whatever problem the person on the other end of the phone is describing. They have to be, when they get calls ranging in topics from new installs to screens from 1962. The Da-Lite tech team prides itself in taking care of the customer as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.

ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls)
Emergency situation in the middle of the night? ETC has you covered. How? ETC offers 24/7 international phone support with a 15-minute call-back promise for technical emergencies. ETC technicians troubleshoot and solve problems using a lab space stocked with lighting systems and ETC equipment. Its technicians have even been known to solve problems with competitors’ equipment. And ETC has over 300 authorized service partners around the globe, ensuring support wherever you are.

Extron Electronics
Extron tech support is second to none in the industry. Customers will always hear a live voice on the telephone and have access to 24-hour hotline support. It provides after-hours technical support including weekends and holidays. Whether you need help commissioning or designing small to large systems, or have a last-minute troubleshooting question in the middle of the night, a trained and knowledgeable engineer will be there to help.

Metra Home Theater Group
Metra Home Theater Group believes in taking the opportunity to understand integrators’ needs, so its customer support includes professional troubleshooting and brainstorming installation questions right alongside its customers. The dedicated technical support team picks up the phone from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, to help integrators comprehend installations inside and out by flowcharting systems and working out contingencies, so it can look great in front of its clients. Its technical support team covers all product lines and has a great deal of commercial AV experience. The team’s members are very passionate about having dialogue with integrators and not outsourcing calls like so many others.

Middle Atlantic Products
Middle Atlantic’s Customer Service team performs tasks that span everything from providing varying levels of technical support, designing services and custom product design, to walking a customer through the installation of a rack over the phone. When weather has severely affected the company headquarters, its team has kept its service levels intact by working remotely. The support team makes itself available through the phone, email, and even a live chat support function on the website.

NEC Display Solutions
The level of tech support that NEC Display Solutions provides to its customers is a rare feat in today’s world. Its call center, based right here in the U.S., consists of expert technical staff members that are focused on solving a customer’s problem during his or her first call. Its customers receive the expert knowledge that is essential when help is needed with commercial-grade products.

Revolabs
Open communication is the key to any successful installation. That’s why Revolabs made customer support the core of its commitment to class-A service. A team of expert technicians is available around the world to answer questions via email or telephone, while the company’s technical knowledge base and online resources, such as software and firmware downloads, technical documentation, FAQs, and warranty information allow clients to quickly get the most out of any Revolabs’ audio solution.

RGB Spectrum
RGB Spectrum’s technical services team provides amazing phone and on-site technical support. During the commissioning of complex installations, it works with integrators to ensure optimal system performance. Through its new design services program for partners, technical services personnel design custom solutions for specific project requirements. With years of industry experience and technical expertise, our technical services team delivers top-notch service, from pre-sale engineering to post-sale technical support. Customer feedback is consistently “excellent.”

Shure Incorporated
When talking to customers, one main reason for selecting Shure is its dependable tech support. End users need a support team on autodial that’s friendly, intelligent, professional and always ready to listen and troubleshoot. Shure’s technical support team, with a combined 190+ years of experience and serious passion for audio technology, is all that and more. From helping NFL stadiums to mega churches and corporate facilities, Shure’s support team is widely considered the best in the business.

Stampede
Stampede connects representatives throughout the United States with a powerful, seamless IT infrastructure and responsive customer care team. Through this, integrators can leverage Stampede’s national strength while dealing with contacts that understand their local business. In addition, Stampede’s consistent marketing communications set the standard for market-based industry news and announcements. Field sales offices expand reach, increasing knowledge and intimacy. Stampede hears regularly that their people are the “best in AV.”

Symetrix
Symetrix offers industry-leading technical support worldwide. From local Singapore-based contacts in Asia-Pacific, and their counterparts in the EMEA and CALA regions, to the US HQ team in Seattle, WA, Symetrix offers a friendly voice wherever in the world you're located. The company has a live chat function on its website, giving integrators who are querying product features and system designs the opportunity to connect quickly, while also offering regular multilingual phone support during office hours around the world. The company offers system design proofing, product selection assistance, site file programming and a whole host of other solutions. It also has a technical team widely praised in a range of installation case studies submitted by installers.

Tripp Lite
Tripp Lite’s Technical Support, for both pre- and post-sales, is based in its Chicago headquarters. This means that when an integrator or a customer calls Tripp Lite, they’re getting access to all the brains behind its products. Its support team talks directly to the product managers, product engineers and application specialists to get an answer, all while the caller is on the line.

Vistacom
Vistacom’s help desk and live support offers 24/7, 365-days-a-year assistance via telephone and instant messaging with guaranteed one-hour response time. Live VTC and AV testing, instruction, and troubleshooting is always available. Vistacom’s remote access and support provides real-time remote monitoring and scheduled testing. With error detection and notification, Vistacom can react to issues and provide remote diagnostics and repair. Vistacom’s on-site service and support offers repair or replacement of equipment by certified technicians.

ZeeVee
ZeeVee’s commitment to highly personalized technical support offers commercial dealers a dedicated in-house team that responds to everything from tier one support to complex configurations from veteran installers. Additionally, ZeeVee tech support meets regularly with the product engineering team to help troubleshoot and guide higher level questions. Over and above tech-savvy qualifications, support staff all have strong, service-oriented backgrounds and average 15 years of experience providing guidance and perspective to custom installers.


The Ultimate Reputation Saver (Best Warranty Program)

Atlona
Atlona supports its partners and end users with the industry’s most comprehensive protection package, enabling them to specify, purchase and install Atlona products with complete confidence. It begins with Atlona’s 30-day customer satisfaction warranty and next-day advance replacement service, which is backed up with 24/7 tech support and the industry’s only 10-year limited warranty. It all adds up to Atlona’s unsurpassed commitment to product reliability and performance being the ultimate reputation saver.

ZeeVee
ZeeVee offers an industry-leading, five-year warranty on all ZvPro and HDbridge products. The quality standards of their US manufacturing facility are focused on providing long-term value, and backing up the materials and workmanship elevates both dealers and end-users, allowing them to confidently specify ZeeVee products and rely on superior performance. ZeeVee is also committed to making warranty registration simple via their Maestro browser software, QR code mobile scanning, website, email or traditional mail.


The Closest Thing To Teleportation (Best Shipping/Freight Policy)

AVAD
AVAD's National Freight Program enables integrators to conveniently pick up or ship orders to streamline their operations and timelines. AVAD's infrastructure, including a network of 23 branches throughout North America, meets the needs and project demands of many different business models. Unique to our industry, AVAD’s vendor relationships allow more flexibility to control a dealer’s inventory and allow AVAD to offer a 30 day hassle-free exchange policy and a 90-day “good as new” return program.

Crestron
The Express 48 repair program provides a 48-hour expedited repair service option to Crestron dealers. For a pre-determined fixed rate, Express 48 provides an added layer of support, ensuring rapid turnaround on repairs during time-sensitive projects. Express 48 applies to both warranty and non-warranty Crestron repairs. The procedure is simple. Crestron support representatives ask the customer up front whether they would like to expedite repair services or use the standard repair service option.

Stampede
Stampede is flexible, and it’s that flexibility that encourages loyalty from its customers. With customized shipping and logistics solutions designed to meet unique needs, Stampede delivers wherever and whenever. In addition, investments in new distribution centers and leading-edge delivery options make Stampede a reliable source of supply. Integrators trust Stampede to provide the back-end operations that they require for success.

Synnex Corporation
With 10 US distribution centers strategically located, Synnex is able to deliver to 95 percent of locations in one day, while offering regionally based customers same-day pickup or delivery. In addition to its reach, SYNNEX has negotiated rates with the top parcel and LTL carriers, providing customers with options that fit their business. Synnex has the product where and when you need it, with the most competitive rates in the industry.


Frequent Buyer Smiles (Best Dealer Rewards: Spiff, Co-Op Dollars, Dealer Trips, etc.)

Crestron
The Crestron Partner Rewards Program (PRP) rewards dealers with more cash awards than ever before. The more you grow the more cash you’ll get back. You can earn awards in two ways, Purchase Rebate and annual Growth Rebate, making the Crestron PRP the industry’s most generous incentive program. In addition to cash rewards, dealers can earn credits to be used for paid advertising and other direct marketing initiatives of their choice, with no out-of-pocket costs.


The Most Shareable Online Sales Collateral (Best Online Product Demos/Sales Collateral)

Crestron
Online courses from Crestron offer a convenient alternative for busy AV professionals that want to begin their learning experience or increase their knowledge of Crestron products. First, there are full-length, introductory self-paced courses that are prerequisite to attending specified classroom training. These courses provide a great way to get essential information that will benefit any system designer, installer, or programmer, whether they attend classroom training or not. Also available are Crestron Quick Courses, individual short movies that cover a variety of specific topics and tips.

Da-Lite
Da-Lite provides a plethora of product collateral and images, as well as video content and install videos on da-lite.com, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for customers to use in training, promotion, and sales. Videos demoing products receive thousands of hits, as do promotional videos such as the Truth About Sizing, which helps customers right size a screen to the size of the room.

Draper, Inc.
Draper’s complete offering of catalogs, white papers, case studies, flyers, technical documents, and even shade view simulations—literally thousands of items—can be found at www.draperinc.com, and all where it makes the most sense. Its informational and instructional videos have tens of thousands of views, and it actively shares and promotes its online resources via social media. With #DraperSocial, the company also provides links for dealers to share this content. Plus, who wouldn’t find this shareable: http://youtu.be/MT-qQHNUD14?

Extron Electronics
For most products, Extron provides several forms of collateral to communicate essential information in an easy-to-understand format, including pricing, specs, diagrams, and informative product videos, which highlight essential features. For select products, Extron has created the Out of the Box video series, which illustrates just how easy Extron products are to set up and integrated into any AV system. In addition, Extron offers a mobile version of the web site.