Strategies in Light Kicks Off 2008 Conference

When it comes to USA-based conferences serving the global LED industry, Strategies in Light defines the space. The consensus here is that by attending the US-based "Strategies" and the Taiwan-based Blue 2008 conference ( you'll have captured the business heart of the global solid state lighting, LED-lighting and LED industries. There are several good market, business, and technical conferences in the various LED producing countries and regions, including Korea, Japan, China and Europe, and any conference will draw primarily from the country where it is held, but Strategies and Blue do something different, making those two unique.

Strategies in Light
Now in its 9th year, Strategies is by far the largest LED conference, and successfully covers the breadth of the market. Established by Strategies Unlimited, which along with LEDs Magazine is part of PennWell publishing, the conference has kept pace with the growing market, both in its content and attendance. This year is projected to be another record-breaker, with up to 800 attendees and a still larger exhibition compared to last year. Strategies has grown so well and consistently primarily because it has made a quality agenda that matches the needs of today's market the priority. It's easy to throw out the buzz words and fill slots with "somebody", but there is truly an art to creating a neatly segmented, logically flowing 2-day conference that presents the most qualified speakers on the topics at hand. Strategies Unlimited's Dr. Robert Steele, a long time friend of our team, has been the guiding force in defining that agenda each year.

Bob is probably the most unassuming industry expert you will ever meet. He has a passion for the industry, and wants it to succeed for all the right reasons. Far from simply being a cheerleader, he brings an intimate knowledge of the overall LED marketplace and is willing to share what he knows, both in the form of his keynote talks, as well as any time you're fortunate enough to be able to engage him in a one-on-one conversation. His experience has been driven as a long-time analyst for the opto-electronic industry, which brought him to the compound semi materials, and subsequently into the application areas they serve. In the late 1990s, as the opto-communications technology was becoming ubiquitous, the LED technologies began to separate themselves as a market in their own right, with the timing of their potential for adoption in general purpose lighting starting to become evident to those that were participating. That opportunity wasn't lost on the team at Strategies Unlimited, and they began to add some additional focus into the LED arena. Interestingly, Jo Ann McDonald, our founding editor at CompoundSemi Online (which later added its Solid State Lighting Net/LIGHTimes arm), was enlisted for her conference and marketing expertise to help implement that new event, suggesting the name "Strategies in Light" in the process. Jo Ann and Bob's collaboration worked, and Strategies set off towards the success that you see today.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Strategies is that it has evolved in lock-step with the interests and opportunities of the industry as a whole. Always a west-coast US event, it is located almost exactly mid-way between Asia and Europe, much as the US LED-related market is. Asia has been the historic epi-center in chips, and strong in packaged LED lamps and the earliest mainstream applications, including keypads, handhelds, and display backlighting. Europe has been an hotbed of forward thinking lighting design, laid a lot of the groundwork for automotive applications and was the early champion of OLED technologies. In between are the US and Canada, where you find major chip, lamp and lighting companies, as well as a lot of the IP that makes up today's light engines and control systems. From an original focus on the materials and chips, Strategies has moved up the chain to a focus today on the breadth of applications and industry issues as a whole, with only a few talks on underlying componentry or technology. This is about "the markets" in which high brightness LEDs have and will find their homes.

Keynoters this year include Bas van de Kieft, Executive VP of Phillips lighting, who will share his thoughts on some scenarios regarding the penetration of the general lighting market by solid state lighting, and of course, Bob Steele who will be sharing the latest global market report and forecast. Featured speakers from luminaire manufacturers include Bob Smith, Director of Innovation and Advanced Engineering at Cooper Lighting (whose enthusiasm for SSL is extremely contagious) and Liam Kelly, who is managing director at Nualight. At the technology level, we'll be hearing from Bernhard Stapp, VP and GM of SSL at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors on the target markets and status of OLEDs. It's simple... don't miss Strategies.

Blue 2008

The next "can't miss" on the industry calendar is the Blue 2008 event, returning this year to the attractive Ambassador Hotel in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on May 7-8. Work is underway now to finalize the agenda and speakers, so expect to hear more of those details here in 1-2 weeks. Blue was launched back in 2003, as a celebration of the commercial emergence of the nitride-based blue-spectrum devices, including blue and white LEDs, as well as the blue laser diodes that were to become the heart of the "high def" DVD revolution. When blue and white were added to the existing red and green LEDs, it marked the effective beginning of the LED lighting revolution. In 2004, Blue moved to Taiwan, establishing itself as a leading industry event, with its main focus on the chip and packaged "lamp" level of the LED supply chain. In 2006 and 2007, there was an agenda emphasis on "understanding and meeting the needs of the lighting industry" with the intention to better connect the chip and packaged device producers with the rapidly emerging general lighting markets. For the 2008, it's time for Blue to bring the spotlight back onto the core level of LED innovation at the materials, chip and packaged lamp level. We're pleased to be able to bring Bob Steele and his mid-year global market update to the Asian audience. He'll be joined by Asif Anwar of Strategy Analytics, who will be covering the GaN and materials market developments, along with some related updates including a bit on blue lasers. New with us this year will be Enboa Wu of Hong Kong's research lab, ASTRI for updates on mainland China's programs and progress, and we'll be rejoined by the good folks at Taiwan's Photonic Industry Development Association (PIDA) who will provide local market insights that you don't find anywhere else. Make your plans now.

When it comes to conferences, its all about who you'll meet and what nuggets you will carry away that make a difference in your business. Who you'll meet is almost entirely dependent on the quality of the agenda, which, in turn, is driven by the organizer's market knowledge and their integration with the industry (we call it having "skin in the game"). We'll be there, and we look forward to seeing you as well at Strategies and at Blue.

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