Networld Media Group honors the 2021 Innovation of the Year (B2B), Innovation of the Year (B2C), Reader’s Choice Innovator of the Year (Company), Reader’s Choice Innovator of the Year (Person) and Best COVID-19 Solution.

The 2021 Self-Service Innovation Awards honored the products and individuals for the important roles they play in improving the self-service experience worldwide. Networld Media Group, host of the event, honored five winners during a ceremony Wednesday during the Self-Service Innovation Summit in Hollywood, Florida.

Elliot Maras, editor of Kiosk Marketplace and Vending Times, and Brian Shimmerlik, co-founder and CEO of Vengo, which sponsored the ceremony, announced the winners.

Readers of Kiosk Marketplace and Vending Times submitted nominations from August through October. A panel of judges then narrowed the nominees to two finalists in each of the five categories, which were announced in November.

Following are the winners:

Innovation of the Year (B2B)

The Neo2 by OptConnect, a provider of managed wireless services for the self-service industry, won the Innovation of the Year (B2B).

The device, a multi-carrier cellular router, secures connectivity for all types of self-service and IoT equipment as network carriers sunset 2G and 3G networks in favor of 4G and 5G.

In the same form factor as its predecessor, the neo2 includes a second Ethernet port to connect two devices to a single router, providing greater flexibility and twice the connectivity power.

Every neo2 comes with the full bundle of OptConnect’s managed solutions and services as well as a lifetime license to Summit, its cloud-based monitoring platform.

Wayne Vandekraak, chief sales officer at OptConnect, accepted the award.

Innovation of the Year (B2C)

The SEND Self-Service Shipping Kiosk from The Perfect Shipping LLC won the Innovation of the Year (B2C).

The shipping kiosk can enable any business or organization to offer customers an on-site shipping service.

Henry Gratzer, CEO and product manager for The Perfect Shipping LLC, accepted the award.

Best COVID-19 Solution

The happyhover solution from Happymeter, which is powered by Neonode Inc., won the Best COVID-19 Solution.

The solution uses mid-air technology that detects fingers before they touch the screen, eliminating the need to touch surfaces, and can accommodate gloves, wet hands, greasy hands and longer fingernails.

Anthony Uhrick, vice president of sales for the Americas for Neonode, accepted the award.

Reader’s Choice Innovator of the Year (Company)

365 Retail Markets won the Reader’s Choice Innovator of the Year (Company) for continuously offering more self-service solutions as a one-stop-shop technology provider.

365 Retail Markets offers micro markets hardware and software, along with vending software, dining solutions, smart store technology, warehouse management technology and more.

Joe Hessling, founder and CEO of 365 Retail Markets, accepted the award.

Reader’s Choice Innovator of the Year (Person)

Fanie Hendriksz, managing director of Right ePharmacy, won Reader’s Choice Innovator of the Year (Person) for breaking new ground in the healthcare industry, having led a team to improve the availability of healthcare in South Africa.

Hendriksz was unable to attend the Summit, but thanked Networld Media Group for the award via a video.

Vending Times Lifetime Achievement Award

Following the Innovation Awards, Maras presented the Vending Times Lifetime Achievement Award for Allan Z. Gilbert, who passed away this year.

While in college in the 1960s, Gilbert founded New England Vending Corp. He later founded Lemon Tree Systems. In the 1970s, he launched one of the first vending management software companies, Data Intelligence Systems. He later launched Merrimack Financial Services, providing funding to vending operators.

Gilbert also served as an advisor to many vending acquisitions. He also authored management articles for industry publications including Vending Times. He also founded the Massachusetts Vending Association Scholarship Fund, which helps families of vending industry employees.

About Networld Media Group

Founded in 2000, Networld Media Group is a leading business-to-business (B2B) media communications company specializing in digital media, associations and events in the tech, banking, retail and food service industries. Online properties include,,,,,,,, and Annual events include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, the Bank Customer Experience Summit (BCX), the Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX) and the Self-Service Innovation Summit.

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