Welcome to Display Week 2007


I happened upon the Society for Information Display (SID) and all its various activities when I started my first industry job out of college. A close friend and mentor invited me to a couple of meetings and then, that May, Display Week came to Boston. I attended along with many of my colleagues, and, for the first time, I saw the full breadth of the technology that would shape my career for the next 20-odd years. It is likely I would not have discovered the Society without my mentor, and it was through his encouragement that I became involved first in my local chapter of SID, then at the national level, to the point where today I have the honor of managing Information Display magazine. Along the way, I have made countless friends through SID, as well as brought many new people into the fold. Having "the network" of SID colleagues available to call upon has been an invaluable resource and allowed me to forge many successful business relationships through the years. Most of the time, I was asking the questions, with generous people giving their time to help me. But now, I find myself in the position of being able to give advice and feeling like I can give back some of my experience to others. So, this leads me to my advice for this month, which is simply to take full advantage of Display Week 2007. The best way to do this is by first concentrating on forging friendships – if you can do this, learning about display technology and making deals becomes so much easier. And this is important because today's display business is a particularly complicated world to navigate. The markets are diverse, sophisticated, and, often times, frustrating. The applications are varied and challenging, and the problems to be solved are endless. The political and economic interests involved are as complicated as any other industry. The technology may seem unique to our industry, but it draws on literally all other technical disciplines including physics, material sciences, organic and inorganic chemistry, electronics of all forms, mechanics, quantum mechanics, industrial design and architecture and, these days, even civil engineering. To find your way through the forest of disciplines that comprise the display world, it helps to have friends to aide you along the way – both those who have been through here before and those willing to take the journey with you for the first time. Display Week is the perfect place to find these compatriots.

If you are new to the world of SID, it is likely you are here to see the Exhibition, which is certainly one of the highlights of the week. But don't miss the chance to take advantage of the almost endless array of additional activities that make up Display Week, including the Sunday Short Courses, Display Technology Seminars, Applications Tutorials, Business and Investors Conferences, and the Symposium itself. In fact, it's such a daunting schedule that no one person can do it all in one week. So, here are my picks: Start with the short courses on Sunday. Any of the four being offered this year are particularly valuable for both newbies and experienced display people, and the instructors are among the most qualified in the world. On Monday, attend the Business Conference – you can't know too much about the markets and supply chains, and here you will learn about the problems confronting the industry and how they are being addressed. You may even find the idea for your next startup company there. On Tuesday, you should start out at the Keynote Addresses, which are always thought-provoking and start off this year with a talk entitled "Technologies in the Cinema Industry and Their Impact on the Display Industry," which will be delivered by Jerry Pierce, former Senior Vice President of Technology, Universal Pictures. Motion Pictures are a very real application of display technology, and the two areas are growing closer everyday with the proliferation of digital cinema.

Then, be one of the first to hit the exhibits when they open at 10:30 am, and plan the rest of your day around the papers and talks scheduled at the Symposium. On Wednesday, plan on being awake by 7:30 am to take advantage of the Applications Tutorials, then alternate between the exhibits and the Symposium papers. The Wednesday Luncheon and presentation is a "can't miss" event and always one of the highlights of the week. This year, Charles M. Falco, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, will deliver the Luncheon Address, entitled "The Science of Optics, The History of Art." Another highlight of the Luncheon is the awarding of the annual Display of the Year Awards – the winners are profiled in this issue. After lunch, it is back to the exhibit floor and surfing the Symposium papers for the rest of the day.

On Thursday, catch the Applications Tutorials at 7:30 am, then make sure to visit those remaining exhibits you missed earlier in the week before they close at 2:00 pm. Finish the afternoon with Symposium papers, but be sure to leave some time to relax and reflect on everything you have seen thus far. If you have not already done so, this is a good opportunity to catch a few of the sights in Long Beach, but do not stay out all night because on Friday, just as last year, the Symposium has a full morning featuring some of the best papers of the week; there is also the final round of Applications Tutorials starting at 7:30 am.

Do you feel overwhelmed yet? As you are sitting in one of the rooms in the Long Beach Convention Center, look to your right, then to your left. Chances are the people next to you are feeling the same way. But keep in mind that every single one of the 8000 people attending Display Week is a potential collaborator, client, vendor, and/or confidant, and the opportunity to trade knowledge, insights, and opinions with them is what makes this the most important annual event on the display-industry calendar. I personally can't wait to get to Long Beach so I can not only see the latest developments in display technology, but also reunite with old friends, and make new ones. I hope you get as much out of the week as I do each and every year. I look forward to seeing you in Long Beach!

Stephen P. Atwood