Display Week: Planning Pays Off


by Stephen Atwood

Hello and welcome to Los Angeles. I hope you are reading this while enjoying a short rest at Display Week 2011. 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 ofInformation Display because it is one of the best of the year.

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, including over 500 paper presentations, as well as the short courses, seminars, and applications tutorials. In addition, there are the business, investors, and market focus conferences, the keynote speeches, the awards dinner and luncheon, and also the special event – a baseball game at Dodger Stadium.

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 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. You will find this issue of ID particularly useful for your planning if you review our Products on Display feature which is assembled each year by our staff to help you get the most out of the exhibition.

A new feature of this year's exhibition will be the selection of the "Best in Show" awards, highlighting the most significant new products and technologies shown on the exhibit floor during Display Week. These new awards are an addition to the prestigious Display of the Year awards covered extensively in this issue and recognized during the Wednesday luncheon awards ceremony. For Best in Show, our independent panel of display experts will review those products, prototypes, and processes nominated for the awards on the show floor on the opening day (Tuesday for the exhibits). Winners will be selected for their ability to excite not only our panel, but the general public and press as well. We will also have complete coverage of the award winners in the August issue ofInformation Display.

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, so 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. I hope it will be the same for you.

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 e-mail us at press@sid.org and we'll get your question to the right reporter to see what we can find out.

This month, we have a great lineup, starting with our cover story on the Display of the Year Awards, in which SID recognizes the most innovative display products and technology from all of 2010. The list of choices for these awards was overflowing with worthy recipients and I can honestly tell you as a member of the DYA committee that the final selections were really the best of the best. You can read all the details in the article, but one thing I want to point out is that every recipient this year was a direct participant in the handheld display marketplace, either as a device manufacturer or as the supplier of a critical component. Despite the many exciting nominations from the large-panel marketplace, the pinnacle of innovation was really on the mobile side this year.

Along with this insight about the scale of commercial innovation in the mobile space came a rather stunning discovery when I reviewed the final draft of author Baoping Wang's feature entitled, "The Chinese Display Industry and SID's Beijing Chapter Grow Together." In this article, Dr. Wang provides a very interesting review of the scope of display product manufacturing growth in China over the last few years. Despite the recent economic downturn there was rather amazing growth in the production volumes of many display products and especially surprising was the total volume of cell phones manufactured – over 700 million handsets in 2010 alone. Yes, that's the real number. In 1 year, Chinese manufacturers alone made enough cell phones to equip about 10% of the entire world's population. Actually, that is not the real point of Dr. Wang's article; rather it is how the growth of manufacturing in China has occurred and how the SID Beijing chapter is working hard to increase R&D activities in China to keep pace. I really applaud these great efforts and encourage all of you to lend whatever time and support you can to help the Beijing chapter.

Looking at the Display Marketplace this month is well-known industry analyst Mark Fihn, who really puts himself out on a limb by making numerous insightful observations and predictions for the coming years. Mark takes on a number of current topics, including flexible substrates, 3-D, touch panels, standards, and that familiar controversial subject of resolution – how much do we really need? I appreciate Mark's approach and I think you will find it thought provoking as well.

And, last but not least, this month's offering of Making Displays Work for You brings a comprehensive review of the nuts and bolts of optical bonding technology. We worked together with authors Larry Mozdzyn from Ocular LCD, Inc., and Michael Rudolph from DuPont Display Enhancements to provide a full picture of the process, materials, and design considerations involved in achieving a highly successful optically bonded display product. Does this stuff work? I can tell you firsthand that optically bonded displays have raised the bar for sunlight readability and high-contrast performance in a variety of applications, including public kiosks, retail displays, industrial instruments, and numerous military display products.

So, with that, it's a wrap for May 2011. Next year, we will all gather in Boston, my home city, for Display Week 2012. I can't wait to bring everyone to my neck of the woods, where there is also a lot of great display work going on, but for right now, let's all enjoy LA!