Recognizing Community Greatness with The Wi-Fi Awards

Millions of people each year tune in to watch award shows. Whether it’s the Academy Awards, the Emmys, or some music award show these are some of the most popular programs on television. The audience at home cheers for their favorite to win but aside from moral support there is rarely an opportunity for them to influence the outcome. What if there was a way for you to be a part of selecting who the best of the best really is?

Introducing The Wi-Fi Awards

The best awards are those that recognize people and companies in the community that are doing outstanding work. Those awards should include the opinions of the community because so many people out there know those industry giantsand want to see the spotlight shown upon them for all they do.  And sometimes, there are companies or individuals who aren’t front and center operatingbehind the scenes who deserve that same recognition.

I had an opportunity to sit down with two of the four (4) co-founders of The Wi-Fi Awards, Sam Clements and Tauni Odia, and talk about their program and the desire for it to be a  touchstone for the community. Sam also serves as a member of The Wi-Fi Awards Committee while Tauni focuses on work behind the scenes pulling everything together to make this happen.

I asked Sam and Tauni where the idea for The Wi-Fi Awards came from. Tauni told me that she had been tasked with promoting a product her company had brought to market. After researching various awards and other avenues, nothing existed to recognize new and innovative products. Most awards seemedtransient,  were designed for one-off situations, or applicable for our industry. There was nothing that persisted year-to-year, or a complete program specifically built for our community. Tauni reached out to her friends and colleagues in the community to start putting together something that could fill the void. Sam, Jonathan Davis, and Keith Parsons were happy to get on board and start the process of making something great.

Categories for The Wi-Fi Awards go above and beyond those that are just simply “the best thing”. The idea is to focus on people as well as companies. The Wi-Fi Awards Committee wants to recognize innovation,leadership, and outstanding contributionin the community. They want to highlight people that stand out and have integrity in all they do. As Sam told me, “People that are innovative and people that are outstanding often have different qualities.” That means having awards that recognize both. The Wi-FiAwards is working hard to recognize those that aren’t always up to win recognition.

It’s also important to note that these award categories are different from many of the other awards that might already be out therebecause it is submissionsfrom the community, voted on by the community.

Sam told me that his favorite award is the Content Contribution of the Year award. He said that he liked this award because it was designed to highlight people that use ideas to create compelling content and not just physical devices or software. Often, we overlook the hard work that people put into things like blog posts and podcasts. There is a lot of effort that can be taken for granted. This award seeks to show that people are providing great things to think about for everyone.

Tauni’s favorite award is Rookie of the Year. She said that one reason she likes this particular award is because it recognizes the effort that people just starting in the industry can put in. It’s easy to lose track of things when you compare yourself to the giants in a particular community. You may feel as though your contribution doesn’t count for very much because you’re just starting out. But the Rookie of the Year award is very much designed to help those that are just getting warmed up to feel the adulation and praise from their fellow community members.

For The Community, By The Community

One thing that comes through when you talk to any of of The Wi-Fi Awards people is the focus on community. Sam reinforced this with his references to the awards being “for the community, by the community.” Tauni also told me that the idea behind the awards is the bring the community closer together and help them recognize who is doing outstanding work and who is making innovation happen.

This all happens because The Wi-Fi awards aren’t voted on in secret. The voting happens from the community. Awards submissions are sent in starting today through October 15th. From October 16th through November 15th, The Wi-Fi Awards committeewill select the top five finalists in each category. Then, starting November 16th, the community will get to vote on those finalists and select the Award Recipients.

It’s about the community recognizing their own and shining a light on the companies making the best products or the people making the outstanding contributions. Because everyone has a voice in the voting,the results are truly representative of the will of the community.

Tauni and Sam both said the goal is to recognize the day-to-day work that people do to make the community greater. By helping the community recognize their own and hold them up as examples of how to interact and engage with everyone else, The Wi-Fi Awards is helping to engage everyone in the process and make a tighter, more inclusive community.

Getting Involved

As mentioned, awards submissions are opentoday. The community should be involved in every part of the process. If you know someone that would be a good candidate for Content Contribution of the Year or Rookie of the Year, encourage them to fill out the form to be included in the selection process. You can also fill out the form for someone you think would be an excellent candidate for one of the awards. Lastly, tell companies that are doing innovative and exciting things in the community to fill out the form as well. You can’t recognize someone that doesn’t apply, so you need to do that before October 15th!

Community-focused awards are a huge way to get people involved in their community as well as understanding how people see those that they interact with on a regular basis. The Wi-Fi Awards is doing their fellow community members a great service by having great categories that are focused on people and making sure they are reaching from the very top of the mountain to those that are just starting their climb. I, for one, can’t wait to see what the committee has in store for us, the community, to vote on later this year.

For more information about The Wi-Fi Awards and their categories, or to nominate yourself or someone else for an award, make sure you check out their site at

About the author

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at

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