SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 28 - By any measure, SPIE's Photonics West 2002 was a success. A record number of 6000 walk-ins pushed total attendance to more than 13,700, and the 700 exhibiting companies topped last year's total by 50. Despite having use of the entire San Jose Convention center, including Parkside Hall across the street, the sponsor had to turn away many potential exhibitors.
Although attendance fell just short of last year's, that came as no surprise to conference organizers. According to Scott Walker, director of corporate services for SPIE, attendance in 2001 represented an unexpected spike in the steady upward growth for the conference. Attendance this year more closely followed the trend of yearly upward growth, he said.
The show offered exhibitors a steady supply of potential customers, judging solely by floor traffic. Conferences, courses, and other activities also played to full houses.
The attendance and enthusiasm seen throughout the week reflected a view of continued growth for the industry. As one industry observer told Photonics.com, "The semiconductor industry has taken a hit over the past year, as has the telecommunications industry. However, the photonics industry has remained optimistic, healthy and ready for the next upturn."