In past years the BCS IT Awards have recognised some of today's most widely used technology in its early stages, from packet switching - later a foundation of the Internet - to e-commerce, taking in some of the most innovative user applications and supplier developments on the way.
The awards are made based on an in-depth assessment, site visits and an intensive judging day for between 10 and 12 selected finalists. The process culminates in a gala dinner at which the award winners are announced.
The awards are open to any UK project coming to fruition in the 12 months to the 31 May closing date or, for long-term projects, demonstrating measurable achievement. Entry starts with a simple nomination form. Multinational projects may be eligible providing most of the development has been done in the UK.
Judging criteria include some degree of originality and innovation, but issues such as development speed, significant cost savings, success among users or customers, and social benefit could also be taken into consideration.
Last year's winners were Railtrack, with engineering group Bechtel and software company Intrasoft Solutions, for a system that models railway track and equipment to cut repair and design time; and Greenwich University with a system that simulates the movement of people around buildings, aircraft and ships to help design emergency escape routes.
"We were very proud to receive such a high accolade," says Intrasoft's managing director Ted Stephens. "Even just getting to the final was brilliant."
Jim Austin, managing director of Cybula, a spin-off from York University that reached the finals with its pattern recognition system for searching using vague queries, agrees. "The attention we gained in just getting to the final brought us a large number of extra enquiries," he says.
In this, the 30th year of the industry's longest-running awards scheme, the BCS is offering new sponsorship opportunities.
The awards and the sponsors get full coverage in several issues of the BCS membership magazine, The Computer Bulletin, and in the society's fortnightly e-Bulletin. Last year the awards received coverage in more than 100 articles in the IT and business press - 75% included the sponsors' names. Articles also appeared in the trade press of the finalists' industries, and in broadcast and online media.
Recent sponsors include Barclaycard, British Telecom, Consignia, the Department of Trade & Industry, IBM, ICL, KnowledgePool, Logica, Nortel Networks, Shopcreator and public relations company Text 100.
Information on entering the awards is at www.bcs.org awards/.
Information on sponsorship is available from Anna Duckworth at firstname.lastname@example.org and on 01793-417433
This was first published in March 2002