May 30, 2023 8:22 am

Last year I had the good fortune to serve as a judge for T-Mobile’s inaugural Unconventional Awards at the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) Las Vegas. The former CTIA event has long suffered an identity crisis, but its move from Los Angeles has finally breathed new life into the event. T-Mobile, in an effort to raise visibility for its business services, rolled the dice (pun intended!) in Las Vegas in 2022 to create an award ceremony to commemorate the innovative use of connectivity solutions across industries and educational institutions.

I liken the event to American Idol meets Shark Tank—but without the snark. This year, I’ll be joining the same panel of judges to celebrate unconventional thinking with a category twist. I would like to share the details, so let’s dive in.

Joining me again this year for the Unconventional Awards are a Who’s Who of thought leaders. Besides me—a globally recognized industry analyst who manages the networking and security practices for Moor Insights & Strategy—the panel includes:

For 2023, the Unconventional Awards encompasses four innovation categories, with winners awarded an amount of money for charitable donation. The nomination process kicked off on May 1st and will extend to the end of July. You can learn more by visiting the official nomination site.

The first category is Customer Experience, which aims to recognize companies that strive to better serve customers and deliver on a brand experience or promise. The second is Employee Enablement, which spotlights trailblazers for finding new and unconventional ways to bring out the best in their internal teams. The third is Industry, which lauds pioneers that facilitate innovation within industries by challenging the status quo. The fourth category, new for this year, is Community, which heralds disruptors in government, education and public safety that enable innovation within their respective organizations.

I really like the addition of the fourth category this year to round out our coverage and, more importantly, recognize the teachers and first responders who are so vital to the fabric of our communities.

I’m looking forward to attending MWC Las Vegas in the fall, and especially to the opportunity to participate again in the T-Mobile for Business Unconventional Awards. The program is an innovative way to recognize leaders across public and private institutions and highlight their innovative use of connectivity.

By my estimation, we are about midway through the 5G era, with many mobile network operators yet to deploy 5G Standalone that promises to unlock the technology’s true potential. T-Mobile has been the first to reach that 5G milestone, and it will be interesting to see what unfolds both at its upcoming award ceremony and for the telecommunications industry at large.

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