As day 3, the final day of SEMICON West and InterSolar NA 2009 started, there were a few questions as to how the day would go. Typically, day 3 of the show is busy in the morning and after lunch, slower but not that bad. Here are a few observations from day 3.
In the North hall, it seemed as if the foot traffic and attendees never made it over there. I spoke with one exhibitor who said they had a great show. They typically have a pop up booth, 10′ x 10′ stand and they continued with that. One reason why they had a successful show, was that they did pre-show reach out and let customers know where they were going to be. At 2pm today, they still had people in their booth engaged in conversations. Many others in the hall were sitting reading the newspaper, looking at their laptop, or on their mobile. As I walked the aisles, not one person made the effort to jump into my path or try to stop me and get me to speak to them. Not a single person tried to bring me into their booth to even ask me what I was doing at the show or how I was doing. It was that bad today in there. But at the same time, this seemed like the mood in this hall all week. If it were not for the SEMI TechXPOT section in this hall, it would have been a ghost town.
In the breezeway between North and South were a few people taking breaks and relaxing, but not many meetings going on. Sometimes, people have impromtu gatherings at the tables and either talk business or catch up. Not the case this afternoon.
The South hall was not as bad as it could have been. The morning had good foot traffic but once lunch hit, it got quiet. Typically, on the second or third day of the show, many companies in the Bay Area allow their employees who might work in the factory, or in the office, or is an engineer, or someone that typically is not on the tradeshow floor come up for the afternoon. These people usually are noticed by their jeans, t-shirts, company badge still on, and sometimes a backpack or something. But, the sure fire way to tell if someone is up for the day to walk the show; is the free bag from XYZ company, filled with free pens, giveaways, collateral, any free thing that they can get their hands on. But you know what? There were not many of these people around. You usually walk the aisle and run into a person with a large bag filled with these items, taking their time, very slow and looking at everything but you trying to get past them. To my surprise, I saw more analysts still on the floor than these attendees.
The West hall was booming all day. Non stop movement in there, booths are packed still, people are still going up and down the escalators, meetings are still ocurring, it was great. I am really interested to see how the show turns out for next year and how much growth it will take on. There seemed to be a buzz going on in this hall all week and I must say, I was impressed. One person I spoke with today did note something to me though that was a great point. The booths in the InterSolar show seemed to be large and colorful in some places, but they seemed less polished and elegant compared to the SEMICON side. She felt that the Solar booths were not as refined, but that could change. I do believe that the Solar industry itself is very young and still evolving; trying to find it’s identity. That will all change in time, just as the SEMICON world did too. (More on that later)
At 3pm, people started packing. Booths were being torn down, equipment was being packed up, people were getting ready for the loudspeaker announcement that the show was over. Empties started coming back qickly and aisle carpet was going up fast as well. But, at 8pm, not many empties were back yet. There were still exhibitors, waiting for crates and boxes for equipment and it did not look like they were getting them anytime soon. With all the onsite space, why did Freeman store the empties in trailers and offsite? Is that a cost, logistical, or space issue? It makes you wonder though, with so much empty space, why waste the OT hours to bring crates off a truck?
I have had numerous discussions this week about what I think is going to happen to SEMICON West, how Taiwan is going to be, and where this show is headed. Along with, how large Solar can get, and who is coming back next year. I do not want to speculate just yet on next year’s show, or how this will effect the Taiwan show or just how large InterSolar will be. But, we have to look at when the semiconductor world started exhibiting. SEMICON was a small show once, at a small fairgrounds (San Mateo to be exact) and part of it outdoors. The show then moved into two sites; San Jose and San Francisco and grew to something bigger. It even spanned 5 whole days in two cities then. But when everything came together and was held in San Francisco in all 3 halls, it was at it’s max. The point is, it grew over time and now, due to all circumstances, it has gotten to a low point. The show will never go away, it will just change and adapt to the times. SEMICON is like an institution, once great, but now, simple. Solar could possibly eclipse it (no pun intended) but only time will tell. The show is now over, and it will be discussed, analyzed, disected, and criticized, but it is still a show.
More tomorrow from site on the dismantle and activities there. Follow us on Twitter (@inlineonline) as well for live updates and observations.