The theme for SEMICON West 2016 was “definitely not business as usual,” as SEMI set out on a four-year journey to retool itself to adapt to a major industry shake-up marked by consolidation and the emergence of a connected world. Meanwhile, in the next hall over, Intersolar North America 2016 has come into its own as an important trade show, as solar becomes a serious contender as a renewable energy source. For 10 years, the Impress Labs team has witnessed the evolution of these events, as the semiconductor industry matures, and the solar sector is still in its infancy.

As a modern PR agency, our job is to facilitate connections between our clients and their customers or potential customers using all the platforms available to us. Traditionally, SEMICON West and Intersolar have provided our clients with a captive audience with which they can connect face-to-face. However, as these shows have evolved over the years from traditional trade shows to events with expanded programming, how we represent our clients has changed dramatically.

Ten years ago, before the Internet of Things, before apps and social media platforms, even before smartphones, the focus of SEMICON West was the trade show floor, where real manufacturing equipment hummed in demo mode, and deals were made with a handshake. There was less emphasis on conference programming. As a PR agency, our job revolved around securing speaking engagements and publishing opportunities, preparing press kits and facilitating press briefings with media and analysts, and entertaining those same individuals over breakfast, lunch and dinner. The highlight in those days was our four-hour press and analyst reception, held at a local club.

The digitalization of our world between 2006 and 2016 has changed everything. Live equipment demos on the trade show floor have been replaced with video presentations. Supporting our clients now includes producing those videos, as well as the booth graphics. Managing social media campaigns and supporting company blogs is slowly but surely replacing conventional press release writing and distribution.



But one thing that hasn’t changed is that despite all the digital ways we can now connect, the face-to-face, human connection is still the most important. That is why we created the Impress Lounge, our client-sponsored full-service hospitality suite located atop Moscone North, occupying Samovar and B restaurants, as well as the Yerba Buena loggia. Twenty-eight members of our team gathered from all corners of the globe and put all-hands-on-deck to provide our clients and their customers with a place to network, connect, and exchanges ideas the old-fashioned way. This year, our 10th anniversary at SEMICON West, we featured a low-tech coloring wall, and invited guests to “leave their mark” in honor of the human-to-human connection that is still, and will always be, the cornerstone of the trade show experience.