NAOPA 2012 Show Review

This year's North American Office Products Awards got interactive!


Often described as the ‘Oscars of the office products industry’, this year’s North American Office Products Awards (NAOPA) were celebrated in style in Washington DC during SP Richards’ Advantage Business Conference (ABC).

Adding to the celebrations, the night saw the launch of the People’s Choice Award. Online voting had been live for a month before the awards dinner, and ABC delegates had been voting all day during the expo. After last minute voting during the dinner the winner was announced – turn to page 55 to find out who won.  

After an excellent meal and an Olympic-themed opening, attendees were in the mood to celebrate. The Capitol Steps provided hilarious and fitting entertainment, amusing the audience with their political sketches and acts. 

OPI’s Steve Hilleard, who hosted the night, said: “Thank you to the winners of this year’s NAOPA, and to everyone who made the night a success. As always, the evening was an excellent celebration of some of the brands that are making a difference in the current market. It’s been a tough year, and those vendors that have been recognised at the NAOPA – including those whose products made it onto the shortlist – should be extremely proud of the teams that got them there. 

“I would also like to thank those who voted for the inaugural People’s Choice Award. This was an excellent chance to get involved, and it’s really great to see dealers supporting value-added vendor brands.”

Best Product: Core Office Products

And the winner is: 3M – 3M Privacy Screen Protector

While products of this nature have traditionally been viewed as peripheral in this category, the judges believe that they will be core to future OP offerings. The potential for the 3M Privacy Screen Protector for smartphones and tablets is huge, as iPad sales have soared, providing a big market to tap into. Given the impact of tablets on sales of paper and toner, the OP industry needs to select new items that it can sell and this is a perfect example. The product is well designed and appeals to the lucrative business traveller market.

Best Product: Furniture

And the winner is: Iceberg – Clarity TOO Glass Dry Erase Boards

This winning product stands out for looking less like a utility than other items in its category. It is aesthetically attractive at the same time as providing a useful function, such as reducing “ghosting”, which is one of the main challenges for these types of products. 

Though sitting in the upper price range, the judges believe it is fairly priced due to its attractive design.

Best Product: Cleaning and Breakroom 

And the winner is: Rubbermaid Commercial Products – Rubbermaid HYGEN Clean Water System Filter Bucket

This product stood out for having something new to offer in a category that is fast growing. Its new and innovative water filtering system is easily communicated to end-users and has wide appeal. The judges predict that it will continue to be popular due to its unrivalled array of benefits: it improves productivity, reduces water and chemical usage and has an affordable price point. The Rubbermaid HYGEN Clean Water System Filter Bucket is well deserving of the title Overall Product of the Year. 

Product Innovation of the Year 

And the winner is: Plantronics – Savi W740

One judge described this product as a “universal remote for the home” – and everyone finds one of those useful! It allows users to stream all telephone devices such as mobile phones, landline handsets and VOIP calls into one headset, switching from one to another. It has a better performance than many similar products, allowing the user to roam far from the base. The judges believe the product has huge potential in many types of offices and home workspaces. 

Best Product: Technology Products

And the winner is: Logitech – Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 

In the words of the judges, any product that reduces the need for power is a good thing, as consumers and businesses focus more and more on their impact on the environment. Wireless keyboards are very popular these days, and this solar-powered product is one of the best in its category as it stays charged for three months in total darkness. It connects to a computer using a tiny USB device, which is very discreet and adds to its appeal.

Environmentally-friendly Product of the Year

And the winner is: Safco – Cava Urth

This product has an excellent story in terms of its environmental credentials. Its core components are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material and it is 99% recyclable; there are few products in the furniture category that can make these claims – even fewer that are at its approachable price point. The judges felt that the Cava Urth range has broad appeal, and at the same time opens doors for selling to government customers and other businesses that have strong environmental criteria.


And the winner is: Imprint Plus – The Mighty Badge

And the winners couldn’t have been more pleased! A huge congratulations to Imprint Plus, which won the award by only one vote for its excellent product, The Mighty Badge. 

“We have a great product; it’s a core office product that brings people together,” said Ellen Flanders from Imprint Plus. “Name badges create relationships!”