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One of the most difficult parts of covering electronics industry trade shows is finding anything visually interesting to photograph or videotape. Marketing budgets are always tight, and with the economy still in a slow mode no-one wants to be perceived as “throwing away money” on flashy expensive booths – unless they’re a startup at CES.
So it was no surprise to find that the exhibit hall at DesignCon 2011 was essentially row after row of small, unadorned booths with minimalist displays and small booth staff.
One exception to this rule is LeCroy Corporation of Chestnut Ridge New York, a leading supplier of oscilloscopes and serial data test solutions, which pulled out all the stops this year in an effort to overcome the “me-too” tag that often accompanies a tightly-contested, technically driven market. LeCroy has developed two remarkable new products this year, mostly in anticipation of the push to analyze and test Gigabit network technologies.
LeCroy product marketing manager Bill Driver (that’s him smiling at the camera) told me the company went all out to showcase two key products, the 45 GHz WaveMaster 845 Zi-A oscilloscope, a high-bandwidth, real-time oscilloscope, and the SPARQ Signal Integrity Network Analyzer, which can be racked and multiplexed to simultaneously analyze 16 channels at once.
Driver said the company had a meeting to update its salespeople on the technology over the weekend, so the booth heavily staffed with personnel from around the world (easily identified by their orange shirts). Just as important to the visual effect, the company had added large, landscape screens to its product lineup, largely because test engineers need the larger view to be able to see complex wave effects in high-speed systems.
Driver said LeCroy vice president of marketing Joe Mondolia stepped it up a level further when he suggested adding an Internet-enabled white board to the booth. The board allows engineers to demonstrate how each of 16 channels channels can be manipulated and analyzed in real time using the SPARQ system, which is seen in the rack to the right of the board. (By the way, that system was probably the single most expensive item on the show floor.)
While waveforms are a common motif in the electronics industry, the power of attraction generated by the large, colorful displays made this the most appealing spot on the DesignCon 2011 show floor.