Monday, June 15, 2009

Hoffnung in München

Munich is a lovely and vibrant city, perhaps one of my favorite places to visit in the world, and I am here as you read this. Munich is a lovely and vibrant city, perhaps one of my favorite places to visit in the world and I am here as you read this. Before you comment on the time of year and the beneficial weather we are experiencing as the cause for my euphoria, be advised that I have also been here in the dead of winter or when the infamous Föhn wind causes high temperatures that melt Alpine snow and produces conditions that depresses Munichers. The spirit and bonhomie of the locals always makes the city an inviting place to go. And the great beer isn’t a bad reason either.

Yesterday I was relaxing in the sun, nursing one of those great beers, observing the crowds filling the Marienplatz, gathering to see the famous Glockenspiel show atop the city hall. ILS has a heavy schedule of meetings at the World of Photonics show which is the reason I and my fellow PennWell editors are here.

A lot is riding on the outcome of this show and the attitude of the exhibiting companies. This is the big one, held every two years, so impetus developed here will carry through for the next 24 months. If activity is high, and we have no idea what the total attendance will look like, and the buying mood of the attendees is up, then we will all agree this was a great show. If otherwise, we will reassess our view of the next six months. I’m posting dispatches on the ILS website so check them out if you want my perspective on the show.

The first thing we will look for will be the crowds in the aisles of the exhibit halls. Traditionally German show attendees travel to shows on the first day so the big attendance day is usually the second. We already know that the concurrent Congress will be well attended as the hundreds of papers being presented always draw well. Unfortunately, a concurrent Congress makes it difficult for ILS to cover both events. I’d like to cover some of the sessions but I will have to spend most of my time on the exhibit floor as my trusted associate will not be with me this year due to travel budget restrictions. And a chunk of my time will be spent participating in the 9th International Laser Marketplace where I will present updated numbers on the world market for industrial lasers.

This year the show organizers have made an extra effort to attract users of industrial lasers by focusing on processing systems and expanding to an additional hall to accommodate these exhibits. The current economic situation however stifled larger participation and only a portion of this hall will be set aside for production laser systems.

Many of the throng in the Marienplatz were here for the World of Photonics, and it’s always good to see so many familiar faces. We all agreed that the success of this show will color our thinking for months to come. We hope (hoffnung) to leave Munich euphoric; if not, at least the beer was great as usual.

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