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General Information and FAQ's

Got a question about the awards? Then check this frequently asked questions section for answers.

General FAQS

// What are Light Reading’s Leading Light Awards?

The Leading Lights are Light Reading's annual awards program to recognize innovation and achievement in the global communications industry. The Leading Lights began in 2004 as a way to honor the companies and people carrying the industry forward. From the beginning, Light Reading’s own editorial independence makes the Leading Lights a credible, authoritative awards program; finalists and winners can use that hard-won recognition to evangelize their expertise and success. The entry process, judging and final decisions are completely independent of any other program or process run by or associated with Light Reading and every entry is judged on its own merits.


//  When and where are the Leading Lights announced?

The Leading Lights Shortlist will be announced at The Big 5G Event in Denver during the week of August 30, 2021. The Leading Lights Winners will be announced via an online video on October 1, 2021. A Leading Lights after-party, to celebrate the contest's finalists and winners, will be held during the week of October 26, 2021, to coincide with our editorial staff's tradition of attending and covering Mobile World Congress Los Angeles.


//   What do I need to submit in my entry?

All entries must be written in English and submitted via our online form.

  • Please read the entire entry form before you start answering questions. The information requirements and word counts can vary depending on the category.

  • You may provide up to 3 links with additional information to support your entry. One of those links can be to a Dropbox or Google Drive folder that contains additional articles, charts, data and research supporting your entry. Please do not send us any attachments related to your entry. Please do make sure that you provide open access permissions for any cloud-based storage folders you link to.     


// Where do I submit my entry?

The Leading Lights Submission Link will be available shortly.


//   What is the cost to enter the Leading Lights Awards?

Early-bird Entries May 3 - June 1, 2021: $299 per entry

Regular entry submissions June 2 - July 1, 2021: $399 per entry

*NEW in 2021* Enter your product, service or strategy in more than one category and receive $100 off per additional category.

Credit card payments can be made online when entering. 


//  Who judges the awards entries?

Light Reading’s editors are the main judges, and each editor oversees a panel of independent contributors and analyst colleagues to help them judge categories where specific expertise is needed. The decision of the judges is final.


//  Who won in 2020?

You can see which companies and individuals prevailed in 2020 by checking out the following features:

Leading Lights 2020: Winners

Leading Lights 2020: Finalists


//  What advice would you give to anyone entering the awards?

Keep your awards entries clear, concise, accurate and interesting. Focus on why you think your company should win, be specific and, when you make a claim to greatness, back it up with evidence.


Category FAQs

//   What are the awards categories?

Leading Lights 2021 will feature 26 categories.

CLICK HERE to view the categories


//   What submissions qualify for the Best New Product/Service and Most Innovative categories?

Your product, service and strategic directive must have been announced on or after April 1, 2020, to qualify for the 2021 Leading Lights Awards. We're looking for the very best from the industry from the past year.


//   For use cases and other awards, are those meant to be joint submissions for a joint award? Or do vendors submit on behalf of customers? Who gets the award?

We give one award per category, but we've been flexible about how we credit and recognize the companies involved. 

In our 2020 winners, we had an example of one winner who cited a customer as critical to their submission (Plume, with Armstrong) and a set of vendors that shared credit equally (Rakuten, Intel and Altiostar Networks). The submitting company was the named winner in each case, but credit was shared.


//  Could you clarify which type of organization should enter the following use-case categories, e.g., service providers only, joint submission with a service provider, vendors on their own, etc.

In general, we're keeping these categories wide open – any kind of company, or any combination of companies, may submit any kind of use case or trial. But use cases that feature commercial deployments with participating communications service providers will be scored higher. 


//  Can we enter a use case and not name our customers or partners? It might be easier if we don't bother to ask and go through their red tape. 

Yes, you can. Use case entries that keep partners or customers anonymous will be considered, but not scored as highly as those that point to real-world examples with verifiable details.


//What does “Hybrid network strategy” mean? What should be hybrid?

For hybrid (WAN) networking, we’re looking to hear about strategies where service providers are delivering networking and security services delivered across different networks and connection types for enterprise customers. How are they providing the reliability and resiliency their customers require? What innovative SD-WAN or DIA services are you using in the process?


//   What is the Light Reading Hall of Fame?

It’s a program where we single out those executives whose actions, reputations and personalities have made them famous – and infamous – in the communications industry.


//   So is the Hall of Fame a positive award?

It’s a Light Reading Award. Some inductees will be saints. Others, not so much. The famous and infamous will get equal weighting here.


Additional Questions

//   What information from my awards entry will be released to the public?

We will not publish the awards entries. But we do reserve the right to use any of the information disclosed, especially product claims and verifiable market share and sales statistics, in our reporting. Rest assured we will be respectful of your company and responsible to our readers. We will contact you to verify anything we aim to report. Any financial details provided by private companies will remain confidential and not published/released to the public domain unless explicitly approved by the submitting company.

//   What if I work for a private company and we can’t disclose some of the information you’re requesting?

We’re asking you to take a risk and aim for greatness. Assume that every field of every entry form is mandatory and fill them in, to the best of your ability. If you leave stuff out it only makes it that much easier for an overworked editor, sifting through a big pile of competing companies, to set your nomination aside or to use it as a drink coaster.

//   I work for a PR agency, I’m not sure exactly what it is my clients do and I have never bothered to look at your publication. Is there an email address I can write to in order to request answers for all the same questions you’ve already answered above?

Of course. Please use your client's billable hours to send a long, meandering email to marketing@lightreading.com and we’ll get back to you. Please DO NOT email Light Reading's editors.

//   Does my company have to be a Light Reading sponsor to win a Leading Light award?

No, these awards are editorially independent. If we could only pick from a pool of our advertisers and sponsors, some of our most remarkable and controversial picks would never have seen the light of day. 

That said, contact sales@lightreading.com if you’d like to learn about all the various ways you can make the most of your Leading Lights experience, both online and at our upcoming in-person get-togethers. 


//   Wait! You haven’t answered my question!

Ach, we knew we missed something! Please send an email with the subject line “Leading Lights Question” to  marketing@lightreading.com and we’ll respond as soon as we can think of an answer. Please DO NOT email Light Reading's editors.