Make the Most of Display Week


Stephen Atwood

Hello and welcome to Seattle. I hope you are reading this while enjoying a short rest at Display Week 2010. Needless to say, with all the parallel conference tracks and events, there is not much free time, but you really need to hang on to this copy of Information Display because it is one of the best of the year. I am glad to be back in Seattle. Not only is it a great city to visit, but it seems to bring the most diverse group of attendees to Display Week. Every time we have come here it has been a spectacular event. Besides the great scenery, the food in Seattle is outstanding – and no matter how busy we are, we all need to eat, right? It would be disloyal to my home state if I did not mention how great Boston will be also when we get there in 2012. But for right now, Seattle is my favorite city. Like most of you, I'll be busy running from session to session, but if you do see me please stop me and say hello. I would really like to know how you like the new format of ID and get your thoughts on how we can do even better in future issues.

If you are new to SID, welcome! As a veteran of Display Week, I strongly encourage you to look beyond the world-class exhibition and consider all the other things going on during the week as well, including over 500 paper presentations, as well as short courses, seminars, the business and investors conferences, the market focus conferences, keynotes, application tutorials, awards luncheon and dinner, 3-D cinema event, and special event. Getting the most out of Display Week involves some serious planning. I gather the maps and schedules; I mark off the things that are most important to me; I plan my days to try to minimize down time; and I coordinate with colleagues to make sure the stuff I miss is covered by someone else. Usually, there are a number of events I know I want to attend, but there are also many surprises that I can only discover if I explore as much as possible.

Maybe one of the biggest benefits of Display Week is simply the chance to meet so many other colleagues from around the world. My memories of previous events are rich with chance meetings with people from Europe and Asia who have become friends and trusted advisors. Meeting people face-to-face establishes a relationship that e-mail and phone calls cannot do, and, therefore, Display Week is important for this as well as its many other features. Often it is in those personal interactions and candid conversations that I get my inspiration.

Now, if you are one of the unfortunate ones who cannot make it to Display Week, don't despair because our crack team of freelance journalists will be hard at work covering everything they can. We'll have daily blog updates on the ID Web site and a full issue of post-show coverage in August. If you have a question about anything on the exhibit floor just email us at and we'll get your question to the right reporter to see what we can find out.

Now, let us take a look at the lineup for this month. We start with a double-feature revealing both the SID Honors and Awards winners for 2010 as well as the Display of the Year award winners from the best of 2009. What could be better reading than a profile of the most distinguished alumni of our industry, followed by the most innovative display products and technology? The list of choices for both sets of awards was overflowing with worthy recipients – these really are the best of the best being recognized. As I have said many times, it's the people who have given so much to the industry for so many years that make it such an honor to be part of it all.

We begin this month with what I hope will be a long-lasting marketing relationship with the well-known electronics distributor Avnet. At Information Display, we're looking for ways to help product engineers do more with display technology every day, and Avnet is one of the leading suppliers of display components and solutions in North America. We plan to bring ID to a larger segment of the applications community through Avnet and in turn we hope you will give Avnet's product lines a look when you need to find solutions. We believe this relationship will help all our advertisers with a larger target audience and more prospects for future business. At the end of the day, that would be a win-win for everyone in the industry.

One of the things I like to do at least once a year is open the history books and chronicle the story of a leading company, person, or technology innovation from our past, like the story of Plasmaco from last year's Display Week issue. I'm really pleased to bring you this story of Actuality Systems and its founder Gregg Favalora. I can personally attest to the humility and genuine inventiveness of Gregg, having met him many years ago at his dorm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Right away and without fanfare, he took me to the basement where, yes indeed, he had a 3-D volumetric display prototype running right next to the dusty furnace and the old discarded furniture. It was a brilliant demonstration even then, and I knew it would grow into an amazing product that would find much acclaim and recognition in the years ahead. You probably know the ending by now, that Gregg's company has closed its doors, and the assets have been acquired, but I think this is just a small speed-bump in the future of his unique 3-D projection technology and that we will see much to come from his innovative work. Please read this inspiring story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

As I said earlier, this is a very full issue. After all the above, we still have two great features to introduce. The first is this month's article on Making Displays Work for You, which discusses the state of the art in "Optical Enhancements and EMI Filters for Touch Screens" by Brian E. Herr, Jeff Blake, and Richard D. Paynton from Dontech, Inc. A lot of progress has been made in this subject area and I can personally attest to the performance improvements in EMI shielding achieved in recent years.

Our other monthly feature looks at the display marketplace. Author and analyst Paul Semenza provides a cautiously optimistic view of the future as the industry emerges from the recession. I really like his article, "A New Chapter for the Display Market," because it not only covers the high-level view across all the technologies and applications, but also drills down into enough detail to let you appreciate why the author thinks things will play out the way he is forecasting. Of course, for more details you can always sign up for the SID Business Conference co-sponsored by Paul's company, DisplaySearch. We expect this to be the premier event for strategic planning and marketing executives involved in the display industry. Presentations from leading market analysts and key display-industry participants will provide a comprehensive view of the technology and market challenges and opportunities facing all of us.

With that, and some news thrown in, I think this issue is a wrap. It's great seeing you all in Seattle, and while you are here, please take the time to thank our outstanding Information Display staff, including Jay Morreale, Jenny Donelan, Michele Klein, and all the members of the Palisades Convention Management team who work relentlessly to bring Display Week to you every year and likely do not get any sleep between March and May.

Last, but definitely not least, I urge you again to take the time to look around and see what's new at Display Week 2010. You just might discover some cutting-edge technology – the equivalent of a new volumetric 3-D display – or learn something that will make the pivotal difference in your company's research. None of us ever really knows how or when the next hot technology will show up. But one thing I do know is that if it has to do with displays, it usually shows up here first. •