Truly innovative and thoughtful product solutions for the facilities management professional were showcased at NeoCon World's Trade Fair in mid-June during Buildings' annual Product Innovations Awards program. In its 12th year, the competition - exclusively for exhibitors at NeoCon World's Trade Fair - offered suppliers to the commercial buildings industry the opportunity to submit their interiors-oriented products in eight categories; as usual, the response was phenomenal. After poring through this year's submittals, the screening committee selected 24 products - three in each of the eight categories - to receive a Citation of Excellence. Once NeoCon opened its doors on Monday, June 11, the Buildings editorial staff visited each Citation of Excellence recipient's showroom and viewed the selected products on-site. After the on-site judging was complete, a Grand Prize Winner was chosen in each category. Following are the Grand Prize Winners and the Citations of Excellence recipients in the categories of Computer Solutions, Energy Efficiency, Environmental Solutions, Product Performance, Workplace Aesthetics, Workplace Flexibility, Workplace Productivity, and Unique Solutions.
Grand Prize Winner
Switch Mouse by Humanscale
A revolutionary new mousing solution that brings unprecedented ergonomics to computer users, the groundbreaking Switch Mouse teams two new innovations - a patented, V-shaped base and a scrolling navigation dish - with incomparable adjustability to provide the ultimate in ergonomic comfort and safety. Its tilted angle supports the user's arm at a 45-degree angle, while an integrated palm device supports the entire hand. This natural, neutral position helps prevent injury by eliminating contact between the wrist and worksurface, encouraging the use of arm muscles and allowing delicate hand and wrist muscles to relax. The Switch Mouse's buttons - designed for low-stress clicking - may be programmed for user-specified functions, while its symmetric shape accommodates both right- or left-handed use of the device. More information at (800) 400-0625 or (www.humanscale.com).
Grand Prize Winner
ClearShade IGU by Panelite
The Panelite ClearShadeTM IGU (Insulating Glass Unit) combines the transparency and durability of glass with the directionally translucent and customizable properties of a tubular polycarbonate honeycomb system to produce an innovative, energy-efficient solution for glazing and curtainwall applications. ClearShade IGU reduces solar heat gain and subsequent cooling costs by up to 75 percent compared to a typical IGU. The system's integral translucent honeycomb core (which offers an unparalleled Solar Heat Gain Coefficient [SHGC] and corresponding Shading Coefficient [SC] when compared to traditional, non-tinted IGUs) reduces the amount of energy required to cool interior spaces significantly over a building's life-cycle. More information at (212) 947-8292 or (www.panelite.us).
Grand Prize Winner
Second-Look Recycled Wallcovering by LSI Wallcovering
The first recycling program for vinyl wallcoverings, Second-Look Recycled Wallcovering reclaims used vinyl wallcovering made by any manufacturer and recycles it into new Second-Look designs. Three new collections - Versa, Cirqa, and Plexus - offer 20-percent recycled content, including 10-percent post-consumer. The result of 2 years of R&D, Second-Look represents a significant investment, but is being offered at the same price as LSI's standard wallcoverings. The eco-forward, low-VOC wallcovering produces fewer emissions than paint, uses water-based inks, incorporates a mildew-inhibiting agent, and can be micro-vented for additional "breathability." More information at (502) 458-1502 or (www.secondlookwc.com).
Grand Prize Winner
Qt Quiet technologyTM by Cambridge Sound Management
Qt Quiet technology soundmasking systems reduce distractions and improve productivity in open areas while ensuring privacy in closed offices. Omni-directional emitters are direct-field, easy to install (ceiling-tile mount is most common), and require no tuning. The system's flexible design adapts to all workspaces; a paging/music module eliminates the need for a separate system. An airflow-like sound is generated by a control module that, at maximum capacity, uses less than 13 watts of power. For optimal privacy, the sound matches human speech frequencies; one controller covers up to 30,000 square feet. More information at (800) 219-8199 or (www.cambridgesoundmanagement.com).
Grand Prize Winner
Buenos Aires Mood by Crossville Inc.
Crossville's Buenos Aires Mood is a Porcelain Stone® tile series that employs Multistrato, a proprietary technology, to create an elegant alternative to slate as well as polished and unpolished marble. Designed for floors, walls, and countertops, these tiles offer a subtle shading and fluidity of movement with little discernable color difference among the polished, unpolished, and textured finishes, allowing them to be blended in an installation without changing the visual image of the tile. For maximum design versatility, each texture and color has rectified edges and is available in multiple sizes - from large format to mosaics - and trims. More information at (931) 484-2110 or (www.crossvilleinc.com).
Grand Prize Winner
CopyCamTM Image Capturing System by PolyVision, a Steelcase Co.
PolyVision's CopyCam image-capturing system transforms an ordinary whiteboard into a copyboard, allowing users to instantly capture any notes or drawings from a meeting. The new CopyCam product design allows users to print and save notes to the Web or a USB drive. CopyCam is ideal for highly collaborative workers who want to instantly capture ideas during brainstorming without a designated note taker. More information at (800) 620-POLY or (www.polyvision.com).
Grand Prize Winner
Convia Programmable Infrastructure by Convia Inc., a Herman Miller Co.
Convia is a modular, programmable electrical infrastructure for buildings that eliminates the hardwiring between devices and switches, and allows for the virtual electrical rewiring of space with just a two-button wand. The ease of installation and reconfiguration through plug-and-play connections allows owners or tenants to readily change the lighting and other devices in their physical space in just moments at little or no cost. More information at (800) 507-1124 or (www.convia.com).
Grand Prize Winner
RoomWizardTM by PolyVision, a Steelcase Co.
RoomWizard from PolyVision is a scheduling system for meeting rooms and other shared spaces. Touchscreen displays are installed outside each room, confirming meeting times and locations, as well as eliminating frustration. The newly designed RoomWizard is also environmentally responsible, meeting rigorous standards of RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances). RoomWizard can be used as a standalone system or with such other applications as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, etc. Detailed reports offer facilities managers information on how meeting rooms are used. More information at (800) 620-POLY or (www.polyvision.com).
Recognized in the category of Computer Solutions, Balt Inc.'s Fold-n-Go is the ultimate in compact and portable workstations. Large enough to accommodate a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and a CPU holder, the workstation easily folds in half for transport and storage. The sleek, black-and-silver finish complements any décor, as well as other ergonomically designed furniture and computer products. More information at (800) 749-2258 or (www.baltinc.com). Fold-n-Go by Balt Inc.
Recognized in the category of Computer Solutions, the CricketTM Laptop Stand from Innovative Office Products Inc. allows a worker to bring an ergonomic computer system wherever he or she sets up to work - inside or outside the office. Cricket provides 6-position height adjustability, allows notebook heat to dissipate, and even collapses to fit in your pocket. Cricket is adjustable for laptops of all sizes and even accommodates tablet PCs. More information at (800) 524-2744 or (www.lcdarms.com). Cricket Laptop Stand by Innovative Office Products Inc.
Recognized in the category of Energy Efficiency, Lightolier's Task Lighting includes adjustable-arm task lights, under-cabinet lighting, and portable ambient lighting fixtures designed to meet the visual needs of today's workplace. Adjustable-arm task lights are spring balanced, feature parallel motion, and are broadly customizable in terms of color, shape, and texture, offering an array of options. Because of its portability, task lighting is categorized as office furniture for tax purposes and qualifies for deductions that may include up to 50 percent of the installed cost in the first year. More information at (508) 679-8131 or (www.lightolier.com). Task Lighting by Lightolier Inc.
Recognized in the category of Energy Efficiency, the Interlocking ITL System by Panelite is a translucent, lightweight wall system suitable for a range of interior applications. All Panelite Interlocking ITL Systems are provided fully prefabricated to each project's specifications; translucent partitions and their use of borrowed light improve worker performance and contribute to LEED points. Building with self-structured panels and the Interlocking ITL System eliminates the need for typical stud wall construction and maximizes installation efficiency. More information at (212) 947-8292 or (www.panelite.us). Interlocking ITL System by Panelite.
Recognized in the category of Environmental Solutions, the XLERATOR® hand dryer from Excel Dryer completely dries hands three-times faster and uses 80-percent less energy than traditional hand dryers. It also delivers a 95-percent cost savings compared to paper towels. XLERATOR is the first hand dryer to achieve GreenSpec® approval, and it qualifies for LEED® credits. Because of its speed and efficacy, the XLERATOR can replace paper towels entirely, while conventional hand dryers are often supplemented by paper towels in an effort to satisfy restroom patrons. More information at (800) 255-9235 or (www.exceldryer.com). XLERATOR by Excel Dryer Inc.
Recognized in the category of Environmental Solutions, EncycleTM by The Mohawk Group is the industry's only carpet tile designed with three thermoplastic layers and zero water-based components, enabling complete recyclability back into itself without separation. The backing system also incorporates a 35-percent pre-consumer recycled content by total product weight, utilizes 28-percent less virgin raw materials, and is PVC free. Utilizing advanced extrusion technology, which melts the plastic into liquid sheets, Encycle products can be "thermally reactivated" or melted into new Encycle backing without ever separating the face fibers from the backing layers. Encycle also weighs less than traditional carpet tile - a difference that not only reduces shipping and fuel costs, but also increases the ergonomic benefits of installation. More information at (800) 554-6637 or (www.mohawkgroup.com). Encycle by The Mohawk Group.
Recognized in the category of Product Performance, Tarkett's commercial homogeneous flooring tile - Milano - replicates the look of terrazzo, with multi-colored chips pressed into the tile to deliver its variegated appearance. The speckled visual and larger tile size help expand the creative options for installation. Engineered to be extremely durable, Milano's high-density construction gives it unmatched flexibility, indentation resistance, and recovery features. In addition, the tile adjusts to sub-flooring irregularities and requires minimal maintenance. More information at (800) 366-2689 or (www.tarkett-commercial.com). Milano by Tarkett Commercial.
Recognized in the category of Product Performance, the ēvō systemTM by Vantage Point is a modular installation solution for securely mounting flat-panel televisions and electronic components to a wall. It also brings a design element to any room, saving floor space, increasing functionality, and allowing for connectivity. The frame-and-track system expands to support unlimited equipment configurations and extends 4 inches from the wall, creating a hollow space for power and wiring distribution so there's no need to cut into the wall. Removable real-wood veneer panels, available in five finishes, hook into the frame and allow easy access to wiring and power while creating a true, furniture-quality appearance. More information at (562) 946-1718 or (www.vanptc.com). the ēvō system by Vantage Point.
Recognized in the category of Workplace Aesthetics, ABET LAMINATI's Commercial Wall System blends beauty, durability, affordability, ease of installation, and a patented fastening system all into one. A full range of decorative laminates in hundreds of colors/patterns (and premium leather with a variety of aluminum profiles) offers flexibility in function and design. The installation method is considered a "progressive installation," which means a builder begins from a single point and adds to the wall progressively. More information at (800) 228-2238 or (www.abetlaminati.com). Commercial Wall System by ABET LAMINATI.
Recognized in the category of Workplace Aesthetics, Dimensions Rubber Tile from Roppe Corp. is offered in three profiles: Random, a unique combination of rectangles that interact with each other in various profiles; Stripe, a twist on the original carpet tiles; and Crackle, a rendition of cracked ceramic tile. While all the patterns are familiar in design, this rubber flooring offers inherent slip resistance, comfort underfoot, sound-deadening qualities, and enhanced ROI when compared to other flooring options and their required maintenance procedures. Profiles channel water away from surfaces, adding increased aesthetic appeal while decreasing the opportunity for slip/fall accidents. More information at (800) 537-9527 or (www.roppe.com). Dimensions Rubber Tile by Roppe Corp.
Recognized in the category of Workplace Flexibility, the connectrac Multi-Node System by connectrac is a floor-mounted electrical raceway system, providing flexible connectivity to power/voice/data cabling along a track of unlimited length. Unlike traditional connectivity, the system can be installed virtually anywhere in a floorplan and attaches to the concrete slab, allowing for easy installation, relocation, and reuse. Any number of modular electrical outlets can be located along the track, connecting to each other and to the building power supply with flexible "jumpers." More information at (877) 480-5637 or (www.connectrac.com). connectrac Multi-Node System by connectrac.
Recognized in the category of Workplace Flexibility, FreeAxez is a patented, all-steel, quick-connect, low-profile access floor from Free Axez USA. Components snap together; the system is designed for the general office environment and intended to be installed under every desk for effective distribution of power, voice, and data cables. More information at (888) 747-8515 or (www.freeaxez.com). FreeAxez by Free Axez USA.
Recognized in the category of Workplace Productivity, the MergeTM Adaptive Table from Allsteel Inc. expands work and collaborative space by docking to any worksurface. Its drop-leaf style and height adjustability permit the table to stow under a worksurface when not in use, conserving space. The Merge Adaptive Table automatically re-centers, distributing the weight load so the table is usable and stable, regardless of the drop-leaf position. More information at (888) 255-7833 or (www.allsteeloffice.com). Merge Adaptive Table by Allsteel Inc.
Recognized in the category of Workplace Productivity, KI's StudioWorksTM collection features an array of systems furniture and architectural elements that can be combined to create an elegantly designed workspace. Its elements - lifted panels, tethered screens, benches, collaborative work islands, storage cubbies, and more - work together to give users maximum flexibility to create their ideal work environments. The result is collaboration without clutter. More information at (800) 424-2432 or (www.ki.com). StudioWorks by KI.
Recognized in the category of Unique Solutions, Armstrong's SoundScapesTM Acoustical Shapes - ranging from squares and rectangles to circles, trapezoids, hexagons, and softly rounded contours - are perfect for use in exposed structures and other areas that require improved acoustics. Canopies can be used individually or grouped together to create unlimited combinations. More information at (877) ARMSTRONG or (www.armstrong.com). SoundScapes Acoustical Shapes by Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Systems.
Recognized in the category of Unique Solutions, Diamond Architectural Renderings from Diamond Computer Graphics Co. Ltd. help end-users and their designers imagine projects before they begin via professional renderings. Send in CAD designs to create high-quality interior design renderings, exterior design renderings, and animations. The company employs more than 120 talented graphic artists and offers 20-plus years of experience. More information at (877) 732-9328 or (www.diamondrendering.com). Diamond Architectural Renderings by Diamond Computer Graphics Co.