Last week, I visited the SPIE Defense + Security (DSS) show in Baltimore. It has been a couple of years since I have been to this conference because of other scheduling conflicts, and it is clear that the show has regressed from its peak a few years ago.
The timing was somewhat unfortunate, too, as there were demonstrations going on right outside my hotel, although admittedly last week was nothing like what is happening this week. I am writing this blog from the airport on my way to Costa Rica to give a laser seminar to about 30 engineers at a big medical device manufacturer.
The DSS conference focuses on many market areas involving lasers—for instance, night vision, rangefinding, targeting, and light detection and ranging (LIDAR). These are all very robust market areas, but attendance at the show was certainly down from the high of a few years ago. This conference was originally held in Orlando, but it was moved permanently to Baltimore a few years ago in order to make it easier for government people to attend. If you sell to the vendors, it is a great place to see a lot of people all in one place, as most shows are.
My personal experience is that there is still defense money if there is an urgent need for a particular technology and/or an ongoing program. However, not a lot of new projects are being started.
A few years ago, I did my first blog on this exhibition. Here is what I wrote:
This is my first blog and in the future I will be adding many more. Now, off to Munich for the Laser World of Photonics followed by CLEO and MDM East in June and Semicon in July.
I personally have not been traveling since SPIE Photonics West, but basically the above statement still holds true (although the order of the conferences is a bit different) and I will be attending all of the mentioned conferences this year, so more blog reports will be forthcoming. If you are attending any of these events and want to chat about lasers, let me know.
I am always interested in hearing your thoughts concerning laser micromachining, the laser industry, comments on entrepreneurial endeavors, etc. AND … we are always looking for fresh, publishable material. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.