The 2023 Pipeline Innovation Awards
Showcasing Industry Innovation

By: Scott St. John, Pipeline

The culmination of the 12th annual Pipeline Innovation Awards program was another incredible showcase of technical innovation occurring across the industry. This year’s awards program featured hundreds of nominations across 30 categories of technical innovation in which contestants have an opportunity to compete by nominating themselves, their partners, suppliers, and customers. A select group is also nominated by Pipeline, based on its unique perspective and familiarity with the technology, industry, and innovators. As nominations are received and reviewed, Pipeline adds, consolidates, and augments categories to ensure ample and adequate competition across the awards program.

Once nominations close and categories have been finalized, Semi-finalists are sent their submission packages. The completed submission packages received by Pipeline from contestants are distilled down to a group of select Finalists through a rigid and objective mathematical scoring process. This proprietary formula is unique to Pipeline’s annual Innovation Awards program and is specifically designed to magnify dozens of various aspects of contestants’ submissions to amplify particular factors related to the company, category, technology, and innovation itself. It also dampens other factors to ensure fair competition regardless of the size of company or market share of the contestant. This process elevates the Semi-finalists’ submissions which truly embody innovation, technical relevance related to each category, and the spirit of the Pipeline Innovation Awards program. The highest-scoring Semi-finalists in each category are then promoted to the Finalist stage of the competition. It’s worth mentioning that the cream always rises to the top, with the top innovators and their innovations often appearing as ts in multiple categories.

The Finalists' submissions from within each category are then sent to an exclusive, external judging panel comprised of decision makers that use, buy, recommend, or invest in innovative technology that advances the way we work, live, and play as a globally connected society. The Esteemed Judging Panel this year was comprised of 30 technology experts and executives who were hand-selected from Pipeline’s Industry Advisory Board from companies such as AT&T, Bell Canada, BT Group, Colt, Comcast, Lumen, Orange, Rogers, Telefonica, Telenor, Telstra, Telus, T-Mobile, and Windstream. This year’s judging panel also featured prominent industry analysts from ACG Research, Analysys Mason, Appledore Research, Dell’Oro Group, IDC, Omdia, The Technology Innovation Council, and others. All of whom have an opportunity to review the contestants’ extensive submissions, questionnaires, and supporting materials – including conducting their own independent research, interviews, and demonstrations. The judges then vote on which of the finalists in each category they find most innovative. The contestant with the most votes becomes the winner, and the contestant with the second most votes becomes the runner-up within each category.

Pipeline’s unique process of mathematical scoring and third-party voting by our Esteemed Judging Panel ensures the annual Pipeline Innovation Awards are the most objective and credible validation of technical innovation in the world. In fact, the Innovation Awards contestants routinely win deals as a result of including their placement in sales proposals, due to the peer-to-peer validation it provides, and the judges occasionally buy the products of the awards contestants – regardless of whether or not they win or place.

It's also important to underscore that the difference between Semi-finalist and Finalist can come down to less than a single point through the mathematical scoring process. And the difference between Winner and Runner-up can sometimes be the difference of a single vote. Finalists, Runner-ups, and Winners all demonstrate tremendous technical innovation and are on near equal footing from a Pipeline perspective.

This year’s contestants were no exception, demonstrating innovation in advanced technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), customer and digital experiences (CX/DX), cybersecurity, digital transformation, ecosystem management, network technologies, operational agility and automation, support systems, and more. The 2023 Pipeline Innovation Awards were once again fiercely contested with notable upsets of incumbent technology providers by emerging technology innovators, hair-splitting votes, and forfeits by companies that couldn’t take the heat. Some of the highlights of the 2023 Innovation Awards follow below.

The Most Innovative Technology Provider

One of the most hotly contested categories each year in the annual innovation awards is The Most Innovative Technology Provider. There is always ample participation in this category as contestants are competing for more than the coveted Pipeline Innovation


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