3D InCites Podcast

A Conversation about Microelectronics Events of the Future

September 09, 2021 Françoise von Trapp, Dave Anderson, Rich Rice Season 2 Episode 6
3D InCites Podcast
A Conversation about Microelectronics Events of the Future
Chapters
3D InCites Podcast
A Conversation about Microelectronics Events of the Future
Sep 09, 2021 Season 2 Episode 6
Françoise von Trapp, Dave Anderson, Rich Rice

In a global industry that relies heavily on collaboration, COVID 19 created a big pause and pivot in one of the key business development tools of the microelectronics industry: technology conferences and trade shows. In this podcast, we’re talking to several industry event organizers to get their take on the past year of what worked, what didn’t, and thoughts about the future of industry events as we transition back to in-person meetings. 

 Rich Rice, head of marketing for North America at ASE, represented IMAPS as he completes his year as society president. He talked about the challenge of providing the type of content expected by its members in a new and interesting way. Dave Anderson, President of the Americas for SEMI, offers some insight on the advantages of virtual events with regard to tracking and metrics, and how SEMI has worked to improve the experience for its members throughout the pandemic. 

 We talk about how everyone is craving a return to face-to-face activities, how that may roll out with local events first, hopefully, followed by international events, and how to implement a hybrid model going forward. We also talk about how the combination of COVID and an increased concern for a sustainable future is impacting how our industry conducts business, and what that may mean for business travel going forward. 

Find more information on IMAPS global events at IMAPS.org

Find more information on SEMI global events at SEMI.org


Kiterocket
A global strategic marketing agency serving the semiconductor and sustainability industries.

Show Notes Transcript

In a global industry that relies heavily on collaboration, COVID 19 created a big pause and pivot in one of the key business development tools of the microelectronics industry: technology conferences and trade shows. In this podcast, we’re talking to several industry event organizers to get their take on the past year of what worked, what didn’t, and thoughts about the future of industry events as we transition back to in-person meetings. 

 Rich Rice, head of marketing for North America at ASE, represented IMAPS as he completes his year as society president. He talked about the challenge of providing the type of content expected by its members in a new and interesting way. Dave Anderson, President of the Americas for SEMI, offers some insight on the advantages of virtual events with regard to tracking and metrics, and how SEMI has worked to improve the experience for its members throughout the pandemic. 

 We talk about how everyone is craving a return to face-to-face activities, how that may roll out with local events first, hopefully, followed by international events, and how to implement a hybrid model going forward. We also talk about how the combination of COVID and an increased concern for a sustainable future is impacting how our industry conducts business, and what that may mean for business travel going forward. 

Find more information on IMAPS global events at IMAPS.org

Find more information on SEMI global events at SEMI.org


Kiterocket
A global strategic marketing agency serving the semiconductor and sustainability industries.

Kiterocket Ad:

Today's podcast is brought to you by Kiterocket, a global full service, strategic marketing branding, and public relations agency, serving the semiconductor and microelectronics industries. To learn more about Kiterocket. Visit the website at kiterocket.com.

Francoise von Trapp:

Hi there, I'm Francoise von Trapp, and this is the 3D InCites podcast. In a global industry that relies heavily on collaboration. COVID-19 created a big pause and a pivot i n m icroelectronics technology conferences and trade shows. In this episode, we reach out to industry event organizers to get their take on the past year of what worked, what didn't and thoughts about the future of industry events as we transitioned back to in-person meetings. So here joining me today are Rich Rice of ASE Global and IMAPs. And SEMI's Dave Anderson, president of SEMI A mericas. Thanks for joining me today, guys. Now before we dive in, can you tell a little bit about yourselves and the roles that you play? Rich, why don't you start,

Rich Rice:

Thank you for inviting me. My name is Rich Rice. I'm Head of Marketing at ASE in the U. S. I would say that I'm two thirds through my presidential commitment at IMAPS. My president term will finish up here in October and then I have a past president role, which I'll perform for another two years.

Francoise von Trapp:

and Dave?

Dave Anderson:

I'm Dave Anderson, president of SEMI Americas and I have responsibility for all the conferences and events and products that SEMI provides , including SEMICON West, which is one of the seven SEMICON shows around the world. I've been at semi about four years now and we've continued to add and change our direction according to the member interests. This year has been no different.

Francoise von Trapp:

Okay. So Rich, two-thirds of the way through your presidency, and a lot of that was during COVID, how unfortunate! The last time we saw each other was at IMAPS Device Packaging, and that was pretty much the last in-person show I attended before the shutdown. Did you ever think it would last this long?

Rich Rice:

No, I didn't think so. I thought we'd be all meeting again at least if not at the end of 2020, perhaps in 2021. And I was surprised that it's just lingered on and spiked up at various different times, as far as the COVID pandemic. So it has been a long time. It's been 18 months since we've seen each other in person, Francoise. And it's really been a lot of effort to keep the society delivering the content that's expected by our membership, yet doing it in a completely different way.

Francoise von Trapp:

Yeah. And Dave, last year you had to go virtual in a really rapid way. You guys were pretty successful , but this year you've made that tough decision to move SEMICON West, and basically cancel it in July and make it a hybrid event in December. What's that been like?

Dave Anderson:

Well, last year it was quite a surprise that we had the shift; make the pivot from a live event to virtual in a very short period of time. And I would say did that quite successfully, There's a lot of work, but it seemed like an easy decision to shift the event this year at the time, because, like RIch, we thought we'd be on the back end of the pandemic by December. But with the Varients popping up and that sort of thing, it's become a little more tenuous, but we continue to monitor all the restrictions and requirements and infection rates and you name it, a s we get closer to the event. But we're co located this year with Design Automation Conference back after a false start where we wanted to be co-located last year. And we collectively got together and made the decision that - our attendees and exhibitors are really eager for face-to-face events. And so we thought that by December we'd be out of the woods and we'd be able to do that. And we're still driving towards that direction as the vac cination ra tes increase and things start to ease. So it seemed like an easier decision than now. It ma y be a tougher one.

Francoise von Trapp:

I think it was the right one to make. I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little, well, as evidenced by my lack of presence at a lot of virtual events lately, I ha d a hard time fitting virtual events into the regular workflow. You know, when you go to a physical event, you are carving out time from your regular schedule. You can tell your co workers t hat you're not going to be available. You don't have to be in meetings for different things that are on, for other things other than the meeting, and everything is so focused on those events, and everybody is.. You know, the content is all focused. The conversation is focused in the trade shows. I know a lot of people have been fine with virtual events, but I personally really struggled with fitting those in, and I'm very much looking forward getting back to in-person. I think that the content delivery was great. I think, where things wer e di fficult, was people finding the time to visit the exhibitors. What feedback have you had from your exhibitors and sponsors about the virtual events and what worked and what didn't?

Rich Rice:

Well, I'll start off with that. The virtual exhibitor experience has not been very good and we got a lot of feedback on that from our exhibitors. At IMAPS we've tried to do different things to improve that. Um, what we found was effective and brought more value to our exhibitors was not necessarily trying to replicate the live experience in a virtual booth because it just wasn't used and chats started to happen, but really didn't happen much. So what our exhibitors thought were valuable were special slots, whether it be a video, whether it be just a logo presentation, or whether it be even a small company presentation in the context of the overall program, where they could promote their company and those promotional spots are valuable to our exhibitors. And I think we have worked out better over time. That's one of the lessons learned.

Francoise von Trapp:

What about you, Dave?

Dave Anderson:

Yeah, I would agree with Rich that the promotional spots have been valuable and offering those types of sponsorships. We actually had mixed reviews on the exhibition's virtual exhibits. We had some companies that say that they had far more qualified leads from the virtual environment than they would get in the live event. And we had just the opposite from some other companies that got nowhere near their expectation. Some of it was , relative to how they display their information, but more of it was relative. If somebody wanted to find a company, they would go find those companies. If they didn't know the company particulars, then the serendipitousness of walking through the show, isn't there. They don't get the attendance that the booth that they typically would get on the show floor. So it really was a mixed environment.

Francoise von Trapp:

If you were going to exhibit, then you really needed to show up and make a presence and promote the fact that you were going to be there in advance. I think we get a little complacent, we rely on the foot traffic and we didn't have the foot traffic, you know? so having compelling content in your booth, but even then it was still a little bit reliant on people having the time. I know that a lot of people logged in , um, and, you know, having the on demand aspect where, well, I can't, I can't fit it into my schedule this week, but I'm going to view the on-demand where you get all the content that way, but you don't necessarily get the face-to-face time and on the booth time. And I think I think that everybody's going to really love getting back in person.

Rich Rice:

We get that , we get a lot of feedback with that too. They want to get back to in-person. Being a technical society. Our events are around technical presentations. Exhibitors usually have members of their company that submitted a paper and they were giving that presentation. So then people , if they can't do the Q and A in the live session, They historically have gone back to the booth and found that speaker and had a chat and asked a lot of questions. And that's part of the entire collaboration experience as I think I'd call it , within a live conference and especially for a technical conference. So that's one of the things that we're missing. And I think the , the exhibitors want to get back to that.

Francoise von Trapp:

Yeah. Yeah.We had a booth at some of these events and some were better than others as far as the engagement goes. I find that a lot of people in this industry are very shy, introverted. If you reach out to them, they're like, well, I just w ant to look, I didn't want to come in a nd talk to anybody. And the virtual space gives you that. Right. They can go and look at all of your content and not necessarily engage. But I think some of i t, like you mentioned, Dave, you know, some of the, t he feedback is that there were better metrics and leads.

Dave Anderson:

We had much better metrics in the virtual environment. We have data on, on everything, including the competitors, visiting each other's booths, which there was quite a bit of as well. So that was an interesting aspect of collecting the data.

Francoise von Trapp:

Do you think that going forward, even as we go back to in-person events that we'll be keeping, I mean, we've always had, you know, the content has always been available. Copy of the proceedings is available so on and so forth, but the level that we brought that up this year with on-demand recordings, is this something you think you'll go as we go back to in-person events, we will follow a hybrid model.

Dave Anderson:

We think so , uh, from a semi perspective, you know, we're, we have several , uh, face-to-face events coming up in fourth quarter and beyond, and each of those will have some hybrid , uh, virtual component to it. So we do think that the , the virtual assets we've learned how to use , uh, you know, that virtual connectivity and people become comfortable with it. And we do think that there will be a , you know, an ongoing need for the virtual aspects of that, and the platforms are changing and evolving. And so, you know, we continue to explore new options for online networking, matchmaking capabilities, and things like that, which will improve the experience for the exhibitors as well.

Francoise von Trapp:

Virtual conferences have been around for a while, right. But people were hesitant to use them. I remember trying to convince companies to have a virtual element and they were concerned that it would dilute the in-person value that it would reduce the number of people that actually attended if they had the option to go online and attend a virtual conference. So if you did a hybrid version, this is before COVID, if you did a hybrid version, there was skepticism as to whether it would take away from the in-person event. And I think that having been through this 18 months of virtual, we all know that those who really value the in-person are going to show up and participate in the in-person. But what do you think sustainability will bring to it, like reducing the amount of necessary travel? Do do you think, especially for SEMI , that there's going to be more localized attendance? And is there going to be reduced International attendance at some of the shows?

Dave Anderson:

Well , we think at least in the short term that the events will be a little bit more domestic focus and even the events that we've had been able to have live throughout COVID and there's been very few, but there were a few in Asia they've been pretty region specific. The virtual aspect does give us the reach for global attendees, even to those more domestic events. And so having the hybrid model does improve that. But I think as we go forward, you know, we've still got the geopolitical issues. We've got the easily recognizable, reduced costs of not traveling , uh, that, that certainly weighs into it. But I do think people really need and want the face-to-face and the business opportunities that presents and the connectivity and networking across the industry. So I think we'll have the attendance and , and over time I think the international attendance will grow, of course, as the world gets vaccinated and we get back to more normal business operations. But certainly the reduced travel I think, is here to stay. And even the travel industry says that business travel won't be back until 20, 25 or beyond to where it was pre COVID. And so we're continuing to look at those types of statistics and evaluating how we implement a hybrid model.

Francoise von Trapp:

And now Rich, IMAPS International Symposium happens in mid-October. So that's pretty one of the first in-person events, Is that still planned on being an in-person event?

Rich Rice:

Yes, it is. We were the last event, I think, before things shut down and hopefully we're the first one as it opens up, obviously like Dave said, we're monitoring all the things we can, as far as the ability to hold an event, a live event in a safe and compliant way, obviously with all the regulations that are out there. We have to do a little more work to spin on a dime in case we do, but , there is overwhelming sentiment right now from our exhibitors that , uh, and we've had a very good exhibitor response, frankly, better than we expected with this event so far. S , we're hopeful that we can have at least a small celebration to get everyone back together again.

Francoise von Trapp:

Yeah, that would be great. And this is going to be at the Town and Country in San Diego, right?

Rich Rice:

That's correct.

Francoise von Trapp:

Are there, are there any special complaints issues with like, well , people have to be vaccinated or show proof of vaccination or proof of negative?

Rich Rice:

Well, we're going to comply with any requirement that the local government and the city puts on it, but thus far they haven't.

Francoise von Trapp:

Okay. And so we still have travel restrictions for coming into the United States. Right? I mean, we can go pretty much anywhere and come back as long as we have a negative test... well, I think a negative test coming back in from Europe, even if you're vaccinated, I believe we have to come back in with a negative test, but are you anticipating also more of a domestic audience versus international travelers because of that?

Rich Rice:

Absolutely. I think it's just natural that these things are going to be somewhat more regional just because of government restrictions because of corporate travel policies and what they allow their employees to do and whatnot. So that's what we have to, we're planning for that. I think we're going to have to do some unique things like a hybrid event where maybe we have a research firm from Europe that is hosting a special session, but all of a sudden, they have difficulty traveling. We'll figure out a way to accommodate that and we'll have a hybrid and semi virtual or all virtual session. It's not easy for all the volunteers that are involved with putting the event together, as well as the staff of IMAPs, It puts a lot of stress on them. And just huge, thanks to everyone who is still willing work on this stuff to, in my view. And that's why I just do this job as a volunteer, to volunteer their time to provide that collaboration experience. It's really important for our industry, I think, to learn more, move faster, be more efficient going forward.

Francoise von Trapp:

SEMI has its first physical event, actually an advanced packaging , seminar in Berg , Germany on the 28th and 29th of September. It's limited to 120 people. I spoke yesterday with , Steffen Kröhnert about that.

Dave Anderson:

Then we actually have our strategic materials conference, those same dates, September 27th, 28th, 29th. And it is an in-person event in San Jose. And so, but we also, it's a hybrid event and we're having some virtual content too, for those that can't travel. And we're complying with all the local restrictions - , having to either be vaccinated or show negative tests and wearing masks.

Francoise von Trapp:

One of the other things with the virtual events is that they still tend to be in time zones of the origin of the event, and that made it a little bit challenging to attend live.

Rich Rice:

We're definitely seeing a trend where , although registrations and attendance to these events are kind of along -even sometimes above - historical norms, the actual attendance in the live portion of it is oftentimes lower. And then so a lot of people are, are , uh , bringing it up online later on to review it later. So it's an interesting trend that we're seeing.

Francoise von Trapp:

I think that aligns with trying to fit it into your regular work schedule instead of being something that you look forward to, it becomes this intrusion you have to deal with, unfortunately, because you want to be there, but you're trying to do everything you're trying to do your regular daily work and your regular daily meetings, and then await the conferences happening this week. I personally am not a fan of the virtual platforms. I can't wait to be back in touch with people and having face-to-face. So what recommendations do you have for conference participants as we head into this new season?

Dave Anderson:

I think the primary thing is t o stay open-minded. We're constantly monitoring and evaluating developments regarding COVID restrictions. We're implementing best practices for safety of all our attendees and exhibitors and staff, but these are changing rapidly and we have to remain agile and flexible because things c ould change i t at any moment. We encouraged exhibitors and sponsors to really embrace the hybrid and virtual components of t he event because they're evolving as well. And I think to some degree, they're here to stay, but we certainly are looking forward to getting back face to face

Francoise von Trapp:

Rich aside from -- and I'd like you to answer that question too -- but aside from IMAPs International and Device Packaging, is there anything happening in between?

Rich Rice:

There'll be a medical event in February, down in San Diego. So that's one of them. And then after that, it's really in the summer where , we're hopeful to reinstitute, the SiP Event that was just held virtually last week. There's also a power event that was this year. It was held virtually with high-tech and CIC EMT , which are a combined power and aceramic substrate technology conference. That's currently scheduled for late April, but no, there's nothing really planned between the symposium and Device Packaging in March. But , uh, on the other question, I just want to echo what Dave said, he said it very succinctly.

Francoise von Trapp:

Dave, On the other hand, We've got SEMICON Europa in November, SEMICON West in early December. We've got SEMICON Taiwan and SEMICON Japan also in December...

Dave Anderson:

That's correct. From a live perspective, we have SEMICON, Europe in November. We have West , on seventh to ninth. The following week we have SEMICON Japan. And as you just mentioned, SEMICON Taiwan has just set their date for the last week in December. And then following that we get back into our normal schedule with Korea coming up and beyond. But in the midst of all that, we have major conferences as well. And so as Rich said, they've got numerous events, we've got a Strategic Materials Conference in late September, we've got , MEMS and Sensors Executive Congress in the middle of October. We've got our International Trade Partners first week in November, and then Industry Strategy, Symposium (ISS) in early January. And all of those are being planned as live events. Now, most of them will the complexity of the added hybrid virtual component, but we are planning for them to be live events at this point in time.

Francoise von Trapp:

So , if you have exhibitors that are planning to participate, especially in the big four that we talked about, Europa West, Japan and Taiwan, what should they expect if they are exhibiting live at these shows? And what's the best way for them to navigate participation?

Dave Anderson:

Well, you know, some of the multinational exhibitors that use the same booths and multiple events are selecting, their region of preference for being there, but primarily, the exhibitors are very anxious to get back together, face to face. Uh, you know, I think there's a lot of energy around all of the shows that are being planned. And so, you know, I think that there's an excitement that it'll be a celebration, as Rich said , when we do get back together.

Francoise von Trapp:

Okay. Well, I'm going to advise them to pace themselves. And if you need any help with booth design graphics, content, contact, Kiterocket. Well, I think that, I think we about covered it guys. Thanks for joining me today. Really appreciate your time and hope to see you soon. Really see you soon.

Rich Rice:

Absolutely transformed my sentiment. Exactly.

Dave Anderson:

Yeah. Thank you, Francoise pleasure to be here with you and absolutely hope to see you all very soon.

Francoise von Trapp:

There's lots more to come. So tune in next time on the 3d insights podcast.