Most of the equipment used to deliver presentations — notebooks, document cameras, interactive whiteboards, remote controls, etc. — has been around for a while. People have grown accustomed to having such equipment available to them whenever they present, and familiarity with the technology is no longer the impediment it once was. But this familiarity hasn't allowed manufacturers to grow complacent. On the contrary, now that people rely more often on various delivery tools to get their message across, the pressure is on to manufacture products that are easier to use, more reliable, and suitably well-designed to make the most of the latest technological advances — advances like faster computer-chip speeds, cheaper and better storage, higher-resolution imaging chips, more extensive broadband networks, more sophisticated software, and any number of other incremental improvements in our global technical infrastructure.
Ugly doesn't sell anymore
One area of improvement that rarely gets mentioned, however, is design. Thanks in large part to the success of Apple's design-conscious development philosophy, more manufacturers than ever now feel pressure to create products that not only work well, but also look good. Nowadays, you would be hard-pressed to find a computer in a plain beige box; almost every computer sold now has an interesting design element or two. It has to; otherwise, it won't sell.
This nod to taste and style can easily be seen in this year's Standing Ovation Award winners, particularly in the Delivery tools category. No matter how advanced the technology is, housing all of that 21st-century circuitry in an ugly container is no longer an option. Clean, stylish lines are now a prerequisite for a top-notch product. If you can include brushed aluminum or titanium, so much the better.
More than meets the eye
Of course, the product has to work as advertised, too. Better yet, it should work better than advertised. That is, it should contain features and capabilities the customer doesn't necessarily expect — but, once aware of, can't live without.
In addition to their basic functionality, most of the products in our Delivery category have at least one or two features that exist solely to surprise and delight their users. All perform their intended function extremely well, but all also seed their success with thoughtful extras that might seem small on the surface, but can make a big difference in front of a crowd.