SID, an International Society

by Brian Berkeley
President, Society for Information Display

Greetings and a warm welcome to all to Display Week 2013!  As of this writing, final preparations are under way in earnest as SID heads to Vancouver, British Columbia, for its annual Display Week event.  This year will mark the 50th meeting of Display Week, and it is the first time that it has been held outside of the United States.  Considering that SID is very much an international society, it is fitting that Display Week be held at an international location.  In fact, well over half of SID’s membership is based outside of the U.S.

Vancouver was selected as the venue for Display Week 2013 for many reasons.  It is a beautiful city that is well known for its diversity and international demographic.  Less than half of its residents are native English speakers.  Vancouver is accessible, with many daily non-stop flights from major cities throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S.  The most recent Winter Olympics, certainly an international event, were held in Vancouver.  The conference center (or using local vernacular, “centre”) where Display Week 2013 will be held has frequently received the #1 rating among all worldwide conference venues.

As is the case every year, Display Week 2013 promises to reveal many exciting technical developments in the field of information display.  There are reports that very large 4K × 2K displays will be shown, and some as large as 110 inches will be reported in the technical sessions.  Full high definition (FHD, or 192 × 1080) resolution, which not too many years ago became available on TV-sized displays, can now fit in the palm of one’s hand – driving pixel densities to well over the 400 ppi level in mainstream mobile devices that will ship this year.  These and many other significant developments will be reported and shown at Display Week 2013.  The Innovation Zone, or I-Zone for short, made its first appearance on the exhibit floor last year, and more emerging prototypes will be shown in this second year for the I-Zone.   Display Week 2013 will certainly be ground-breaking and informative.

SID became an international society in 1976, when the Japan Chapter was officially instated.  As of now, 17 of SID’s 28 chapters are based outside of the U.S., and a majority of SID’s student branches are also located outside of North America.  Over time, as SID has broadened its reach to become a truly worldwide society, it has embraced a wide swath of cultural and style differences.  It is probably not surprising that only two of SID’s eight Executive Committee members are native English speakers.  As one of the “two,” I can relate to international immersion from personal experience, having lived in Korea for 8 out of the last 10 years.  It was challenging and humbling to communicate in a very different language, to work in unfamiliar ways, and to accept many other differences.  But it was also a rewarding life experience.  Many times, I had to say, which roughly means, “please say it again slowly.”  The experience taught me, when using English, to be just a little more patient and tolerant when communicating with non-native English speakers, and to try to explain things using the simplest possible terms and to stick to the essential points.

SID certainly is no stranger to international events.  Although this year is the first for Display Week to be held outside of the U.S., in 2013 alone, SID is also sponsoring or co-sponsoring major events in Shanghai, Belgium, Korea, Taipei, London, Brazil, and Japan (in order).  To increase worldwide access to the conference proceedings, within the last year, SID began partnering with international publishing company Wiley to make as many of these proceedings as possible electronically available, free of charge, to SID members.  Current and past papers are now easier to find using SID’s search engine or external tools such as Google Scholar.  It helps that electronic documents can be machine translated, which may increase accessibility and understanding.  At the same time, SID has started and is rapidly expanding its webinar series, also free to SID members, on a broad variety of topics.  Of course, these webinars can be accessed from anywhere in the world.  SID’s webinar events are scheduled at hours that will reach the largest percentage of SID’s members; however, they can also be streamed after the live event for viewing in any time zone.  Naturally, SID webinars and conference recordings can always be paused or replayed as needed to increase comprehension.  If only I could have hit “pause” or “replay” for everything I had to comprehend in Korean…

We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver.  Welcome!  •