SAN JOSE, Jan. 30 -- Photonics West 2003 sponsors and exhibitors are encouraged by this year's attendance, which by the end of the exhibition today is expected to reach 13,500 to 14,000, according to Janice Walker, SPIE director of events and Roberta Hart, manager of exhibitions. Just over 13,000 attended Photonics West 2002.
"We're very pleased, and exhibitors are very happy -- they're reporting that they're receiving more qualified leads than before," Walker said. "Last year, exhibitors reported more 'tire kickers'; this year, they say people are buying."
Exhibit-only attendance at Photonics West was just over 6,000, about the same as last year, Walker said, and there were 770 total exhibitors, up 11 percent.
"It's becoming an exhibition that attracts international walk-ins, as opposed to people from just this region," she added.
"It sold out," Hart added. "We can't fit more exhibitors until we find more space."
One-fifth, or 140, of the exhibits were in Parkside Hall, in the civic center building across the street from the main exhibition in the convention center. "That kind of volume made it quite successful," Walker said.
The biomedical exhibit BiOS 2003, which kicked off Photonics West 2003 last weekend, sold out with 50 companies, a 25 percent increase in square footage from last year, Walker said. The largest growth was in biomedical technical conferences, for which registration was up by about 10 percent.
Micromachining and microfabrication symposia replaced the IS&T/SPIE-sponsored Electronic Imaging symposium, which this year was held separately in Santa Clara, slightly decreasing Photonics West technical attendance. "But we expect to grow as attendance at the new symposia increases," she added. "The biomedical area is really growing, obviously partly because security issues are becoming more talked about."