PLASA 2004 opened its doors on Sunday 12th September to enthusiastic crowds, with a full show, hundreds of exciting products and a real buzz across the show floor. Both visitors and exhibitors are commenting that the excitement is back and the industry future looks bright.

The Product Excellence Awards at the PLASA show have been a popular feature of the event for many years, highlighting the significance of the show as a focus for new developments for the industry. To reinforce this role, the awards have undergone an important change for 2004 with the focus being much more on genuine innovation and have been relaunched as the PLASA Awards for Innovation.

The previous assessment criteria, which segmented the nominations into sectors, has been removed so that products were not judged within category lines, but on the grounds of their innovation alone. The judges looked for products which advanced the industry, demonstrated a new style of thinking, represented a key step forward in safety terms or improved technical practices.

Despite this tighter judging criteria 66 products were entered, raising over £10,000 for charity and bringing the total amount of monies donated to good causes over the past 7 years to £55,000.

At a champagne reception at PLASA’s Central Bar on Monday September 13th the winners were applauded by the industry and presented with their award by PLASA Chairman Diane Grant.

The eight Awards for Innovation were awarded to:
XLNT Advanced Technologies: Cyberhoist with InMotion 3D software control - a leap in forward chain hoist control with an elegant solution in control and planning aspects of the production process.
Turbosound: Aspect Series - a completely original loudspeaker horn design with elegant rigging equipment.
Enttec Pty Ltd: Datagate - a clever design and flexibility in lighting distribution control coupled with a good approach to remote system configuration.
Hall Stage: DGS Counterweight Drive – with a revolutionary approach to design and a noticeable advancement to stage machinery technology.
Stardraw: Stardraw Control – with its innovative approach to architectural building control and the potential to become a cost-effective control interface for a wide range of applications.
White Light: Digital Festoon System – an innovative return to incandescent lighting with a product that the judges thought safe and foolproof, and which they believe will make inroads into entertainment lighting.
Wireless Solutions: W-DMX Transceiver – taking wireless data to new levels.
Lewden Electrical: T-Line Splitter – a very simple and useful device that made the judges wonder why it had not been done before.

Two products were also commended by the judges: the Architecta Wireless Audio System and the SSE Hire Limited ProSight Inclinometer.

"We are delighted that the new judging criteria for the PLASA Awards for Innovation has been enthusiastically received by our exhibitors," saysNicola Rowland PLASA Show Director. "The standard and level of product entries demonstrates how innovation and new product launches remain key, not only to the industry’s future, but also to the heart of the shows success."

Matthew Griffiths, PLASA Managing Director, says, "The high standard of entries bodes well for the industry as a whole and demonstrates that innovation continues to ensure that new ideas are constantly being developed."