SID DisplayWeek, the world's premier display industry event will take place this year in San Jose, California on May 12-17. We discussed the event and the display industry at large with Sri Peruvemba - a dear personal friend and a Vice President at the SID organization.

Q: Hello Sri - thanks for your time! SID DisplayWeek has always been our favorite display industry event. Can you tell us what to expect from the 2019 edition? Any new planned event features?

Thank you, its my favorite event as well. In 2019, we can expect over 200 exhibitors showing all the latest display tech and applications in AR/VR, automotive, OLED, AMOLED, micro-LED, LCDs, quantum dots – and more.

Display Week 2019 also offers tremendous learning and professional growth opportunities. From the Technical Symposium – where world-renowned scientists, inventors, academics and researchers will present burgeoning insights and thoughtful forecasts through hundreds of poster and oral presentations - to our exclusive Sunday Short Courses, Monday Seminars and special keynote presentations, global thought leaders will unpack today’s hottest technologies and applications. New this year is an exciting addition to our annual Business Track - the display industry’s largest conference devoted to the display market. For the first time, this important conference series will present the Foldable Display Market Conference, designed to address the unique challenges of this growing sector. Co-organized by Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) for the third consecutive year, the world’s largest display industry focused Business Track also includes the Business Conference, the Investors Conference and the Automotive Display Market Focus Conference.

And you can count on returning favorites, such as the I-Zone – now in its 7th year – where start-ups, universities, researchers and others from around the world will show next-gen technological advances, demos and pre-market prototypes that are destined to disrupt the industry. We’ll also announce the winners of the Display Industry (DIA) Awards, the display industry’s most prestigious honor, recognizing the best display products or applications introduced to the market during the previous calendar year.

New to DisplayWeek, we will have Job Fair to assist employers and employees find each other. Rounding out the week are our signature special events, like Women in Tech and the CEO Forum, dynamic panel discussions featuring technology executives and thought leaders who will give you the insider’s view of this ever-changing market.

SID Displayweek 2018 conference photo

Q: What are your favorite technologies that you expect to see at this year's event?

In mobile phones I expect more demos, papers and discussions on foldable phones which have been shown in public by more than one company. In TV, I expect to see the OLED vs QDLCD battle continue with MicroLED emerging as a real contender. In ePaper we should see sunlight readable, low power displays that are color and video capable. In touch screens we should see flexible and highly conductive sensors. We should also see some AI inspired designs.

Q: It seems that 2019 will bring us some new OLED technologies - including rollable displays and foldables ones. How do you see the market reacting to these new technologies? Will there be demand for premium devices that use these new displays?

The early adopters of new technology are already prepped and ready for these devices, if there is pre-ordering available, they will queue up. These devices will be premium for various reasons, they will allow the device makers to trial them, iron out any potential issues, get the display yields up, develop peripheral devices from touch to lighting to ambient sensors and driver chipsets. I also expect that several more manufacturers will announce new devices with flexible and foldable displays.

Q: Your own schedule is always super-busy at SID... how do you plan to manage in 2019?

Its a once-a-year opportunity to meet friends in the industry so I pack my schedule with speaking engagements, customer and investor meetings, panel discussions, press and media activities, walking the show floor, being present at events to encourage various initiatives, and I usually end up with 4 dinners a night. In the past 3 years I have tried to cut the volume of activities in favor of higher quality meetings and a more relaxed schedule. I always make time for friends, I will always have time for Roni and yourself.

Q: The I-Zone has always been of interest, can you tell us of any exciting demonstrations that you are already aware of?

We just issued the call for applications to the I-Zone so it might take a few weeks before we see the entries, I have already seen some entries come in as soon as we opened. The intent with the I-zone is to encourage universities, startup companies, initiatives without a budget for regular booth to exhibit novel products and technologies without having to worry about the costs to exhibit. SID is convinced that this will help our young entrepreneurs, cash strapped businesses, universities with thin budgets to successfully build robust businesses with this small encouragement.

Q: In 2018 it seemed that Chinese display makers took center stage - Visionox, Tianma had large and impressive booths, competing with LG Display and Samsung. Will that trend continue in 2019?

Indeed. I just glanced at the show floor map, the Chinese display makers have grown their footprint, perhaps in line with their growing marketshare, their growing portfolio of new product introductions. DSCC reported that over 90% of the display industry investments in the recent past have all been in China so that trend of having more Chinese presence will continue as it should. We do also see many emerging companies in N America, Europe, Japan, Korea and Taiwan also begin to purchase booth space, sponsorships, meeting rooms and suites to grow their own presence. Our industry has been seeing this type of geographical transformation over the past several decades where lower cost, access to capital drove technologies from one country to another and now I believe that this geographical transformation will occur due to availability of technology, talent and capital of course. With significant automation in most of our display fabs and global supply chains, the traditional benefits of relocating from one place to another is also changing and changing fast.

There is no reason why a large display fab cannot exist in the most expensive neighborhood of silicon valley or Tel Aviv, all one needs is capital and local government support, the talent is already there and labor is not a differentiator like it was before.

Q: It seems that Micro-LED technologies are gaining traction - even though many analysts are skeptical that this technology will be able to mature soon beyond niche applications such as near-eye displays or large signage ones. What are your own thoughts on Micro-LEDs?

LEDs basically own the outdoor signage market with their intense emission that tries to overcome bright sunlight, they did not have as much success indoors due to resolution which is why MicroLEDs make sense, the initial samples from Sony, Samsung, X-Celeprint and others look quite promising. I don’t think large area signage is niche, its a massive market by itself since each of those large signs is equal to a thousand tablets or few thousand phone displays. MicroLEDs offer advantages over other display technologies particularly in color gamut, potential cost saving, reliability, contrast etc and judging by the number of patents being filed by pretty much everyone in the display industry, this is a hot field. To begin with, TV’s and indoor large area signs make sense but this technology is bound to compete with OLEDs in small format displays as

Q: Another interesting display technology is e-paper. Any interesting new companies or companies expected at this year's event?

This topic is near and dear to my heart, I have spent over a decade talking about this technology and its impact on applications underserved by other technologies. Clearly there isn’t a better display than ePaper when it comes to reading. But ePaper 1.0 – by this I refer to reflective LCD, Electrowetting, MEMS, Electrophoretic etc – has been around for a few years and has had success in eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle, smartwatches and electronic shelf labels. There are lots of activities in this space to launch a color and video ready ePaper 2.0 which will benefit those applications that require low power, sunlight readable displays yet have internet browsing capability or be able to show video advertisements.

Q: Finally, there's a lot of talk about automotive displays, especially as flexible and transparent OLEDs are expected to enter this market soon. What are your own thoughts on this display segment? What can we expect from this year's event in that regard?

We will have several automotive centric activities – On Monday we will have an Automotive seminar, we will have an Auto focused business conference by DSCC, a luncheon, potentially an Auto pavilion showcasing display developments in this space. I think flexible and transparent displays are a natural fit into this market but they aren’t going to happen anytime soon, the demands of the auto market and the long design cycles means it is on the roadmap.

But auto even without transparent or flexible displays is a hot sector, I have a 17” display in my car, I love it most of the time, its not sunlight readable which means all that real estate is lost when the sun is glaring, also its a large rectangular display, not the most aesthetically pleasing. Display makers are working on elegantly shaped displays, low power and high ambient readable displays as well as displays that are rugged and can pass the tough auto specs. It would be worth Elon Musk’s time to walk the DisplayWeek show floor.

Q: What are some interesting papers this year?

Specific paper topics include: Narrow Spectrum Deep Red Emitters for OLED Lighting and Display (UDC, Inc.); Novel Liquid Crystal Display Mode “UV2AII” with Photo Alignment Technology for a Large-Screen 8K Display (Merck KGaA); Stretchable, Flexible and Adherable Polarization Volume Grating Film for Waveguide-Based AR Displays (University of Central Florida); and Transverse Chromatic Aberrations in Virtual Reality Devices (OSEL/CDRH/FDA).

Thank you for time Sri! I hope 2019 will bring us another excellent and exciting DisplayWeek!

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