SID 2006: Who's Coming with Me?

These days, there are a lot of display-related events being organized by myriad groups addressing various technology and business issues. I try to attend as many as I can. Most have interesting content and bring credentialed speakers to the podium, but none give you the perspective and long-range view that the annual SID International Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition does. In fact, this year's edition, SID 2006, which will take place in San Francisco from June 4–9, is not just one conference, but multiple events that combine to form a six-day cornucopia of display information and education. In this issue, you will find previews of many aspects of SID 2006, including in-depth looks at the Symposium, Applications Tutorials, Display Technology Seminars, and Business Conference, as well as a travel guide for our host city, San Francisco.

The center of the action at SID is the Exhibition Hall, which, unlike events such as CES or FPD International, is more a showcase of technology than of products. The 500 booths of exhibits at SID 2006 will point the way to where display technology will be going 3–5 years into the future, not just where it is today. Imagine going to CES 5 years ago and seeing prototype high-definition (HD)TVs and full-color streaming-media cell phones! Those of us attending SID have been looking at HDTV and full-color mobile displays for more than 10 years now. Texas Instruments first demonstrated digital-light-projection (DLP) technology at SID, years before the first commercial projectors were available. Some of us remember seeing the very first color plasma displays when even notebook PCs were a novelty. Having that information and insight has been immeasurably helpful in my career.

The depth and variety of technical research presented exclusively at the SID 2006 Symposium – by the people that actually do the work – is unequaled at any other display event in the world. The record number of papers submitted and accepted this year proves that scientists and engineers worldwide already recognize this. When I first joined SID, I enjoyed hearing researchers discuss how graphical-user interfaces (GUIs) on matrix displays could be used to make many products easier to use. We were just seeing light-emitting-diode (LED) numeric displays in calculators and orange plasma graphic displays in some high-end applications. Now, it is hard to find any electronic product without a matrix display and GUI – most of those in color. This innovation was facilitated by the display-technology innovations reported on year after year at SID.

So, are you coming to SID 2006? Is the event relevant to you? Chances are, if you are reading this editorial, the answer to both questions is already yes. Beyond the many of us that are directly involved in display technology, materials, components, or systems is a vast number involved in incorporating displays into their own products. If this includes you, consider that you are now likely defining key aspects of your product's value by the display you choose. It's a pretty sure bet that when your competitors look for an edge, they will consider a better or more-creative display. The display is a very important differentiator in most consumer devices including PDAs, music players, cell phones, navigation systems, and portable video players, as well as televisions, desktop monitors,etc. To protect your marketplace, or take some away from your competitors, you should better know what's happening in displays!

If you have not yet made plans to attend, ask yourself if you can afford to miss THE display-technology event of the year, and the only place to get a clear picture of the technology and the business of displays. I'll save you a seat!

– Stephen P. Atwood