The Embedded Systems Conference was an exciting place to be this week. It's been a while since I've been to a trade show where there was positive buzz from both the editorial and the vendor side. Technical content was great, there was good activity on the floor, the editors said the interviews were interesting (and I had to agree since I was wearing my New Tech Press hat this week). If you want to see some real innovation in electronics, it's going on in the embedded world.
For full disclosure, I did meet some people at booths who were not happy about ESC. They didn't like their booth placement, they weren't getting any good leads and they didn't like San Jose. But most of those people were also very disagreeable. I watched a couple from a distance and saw them ignore people waiting to talk to them as they fiddled with cell phones, utter single syllable responses to questions and actually heard one of them turn away a prospect because he was "going to lunch."
Conversation, however, was positive where ever I went, even in the media center... until the conversation turned to the state of the media or ... EDA.
Lots of rumors around that woebegon industry, most surrounding the fate of DATE and DAC, the two big conferences in Europe and the US. None of the rumors could be sourced so I won't repeat them. But every time I heard the story is was consistent, so you have to wonder. What is real is that many US editors are not planning on attending DAC this year. The redoubtable Freddy Santamaria won't even be there because there is no European press planning on attending. We already know what TechInsights thinks about the industry so maybe Gabe Moretti will be there for EDA Designline. Reed has cut back its plans to cover by pulling Ann Mutschler from the team (you can expect Ron Wilson to be attending sessions but he doesn;t take meetings) but John Blyler is sure to show up as is Dave Maliniak ... maybe.
Dave sent out a second plea for content for his pre DAC story. One deadline has passed so he's set a drop-dead date of April 25, but he's said the "sense of deadness in EDA is palpable." That aptly describes the sentiments of at least a dozen editors talking about the industry in the ESC press room.
Does that mean nothing is happening in EDA? No, I know of several interesting companies and technologies. the problem is, none of them are investing in the market conversation. The entire industry is so impressed with itself that it thinks the fact that they exist is enough to warrant attention, and it is sulking right now because no one has asked for a date.
To paraphrase Sting, Roxanne, you need to put on that red light.
To end on a positive note, I'm restarting the podcasts with the ever effervescent Alix Paultre coming next week. The guy has ideas. Tune in next week.