Did I miss something?

I must have missed a release at some point. I got a release telling me that "National Electronics Week delivers ‘best value’ for UK electronics professionals" and despite the uninspiring title I began to read. Now I'm really hoping that National Electronics Week is a success - and definitely believe that the partnership with Electronics Weekly to launch EW Live! is a great move to try to attract semiconductor companies to the event. But you have to be realistic that attracting visitors is tough in the UK. Then, however, I saw that Richard Noble will be at the event. How had I missed that he would be there?

If you're not an engineer, you might not know who I'm talking about. But if you are you'll know. And he will be at the show! Richard "my car did 763mph" Noble. Richard "my JCB diesel car did 350mph, and that was because the tyres weren't rated to go any faster" Noble! Richard "I'm now working on a project to design a car that does 0-1000mph in 40 seconds" Noble!!!!

What other reasons do you need to attend?

Pro-Talk asks how much they can charge

I wasn't convinced that charging for images was a good idea, when Electronics Talk and the other Pro-Talk sites redesigned. Agencies have now been asked to complete a survey from Pro-Talk to fine a fair price for publishing images, videos and slide shows. Although I'd be the first to say that media owners have to make a profit, I am really not sure that Pro-Talk is taking the right approach. The undoubted success of sites like Electronics Talk has primarily been driven by two factors: SEO and email [newsletters]. Unless paying the fixed monthly charge includes a package to drive additional traffic, I'm not convinced that companies will see a significant benefit in posting images and videos. This doesn't mean I can see no value in paying for online videos or slide shows. If videos were charged on a pay-per-view basis, incentivising the website to drive relevant traffic, the situation would be very different. Sadly I suspect this isn't going to happen in the near future.

Call for Papers DSNOC'09 at DATE

The organisers of DATE 09, which will be held in Nice, France, on 24th April 2009, have issued a call for papers for DSNOC'09, the Friday workshop on Diagnostic Services in Network-on-Chips Test, Debug, and On-Line Monitoring. Papers must be submitted by 10th February to Axel Jantsch, the Program Chair ([email protected])

Google drops print advertising programme

Google has given up trying to act as an advertising agency for certain print publications: maybe online really is a good idea! What initially appeared as a logical idea - Google could sell an print advert by splitting it up and selling to several advertisers - didn't work. Personally I'm glad that they've stopped: I felt it was creating a page of classified adverts, rather than a completely new model for print advertising. An approach that works online doesn't necessarily work in print, a fact that Google and its advertising customers have recognised.

New industrial title launches in Ireland

“Industrial Plant & Equipment Ireland”, a new magazine covering both the Republic and Northern Ireland (and the sister title to the IP&E) will launch with a Feb/Mar 09 issue, and will publish three further print issues in 2009 (Apr/May, Jun/Jul and Oct/Nov), and will be edited by Tim McManan-Smith. It's always great to see new launches, and I'd like to wish this new title the very best of luck.

Print is still important for online businesses

Without doubt one of the dsitributors that has made best use of online sales to European customers is Digikey. Yet they still mail out lots of copies of their printed catalogue (I got five last time!) - an expensive project. I was therefore interested to read Mick Eliott talking about the increased size of the catalogue: it's another reason to not try to find the "best" marketing channel, but to create integrated campaigns that make use of each marketing discipline and media to its best advantage.

CeBIT tries to coin "Webciety"

I cringed when I saw that the organisers of CeBIT were using "Webciety" as a "trend topic" for 2009. Maybe I'm not young and trendy enough to understand, but the term just sounds horrible. I can understand that there is a benefit of creating a word, as Google should (and today it does) return the CeBIT site as the first result for "webciety", although you need people to want to search for the term. I was also amused to see in the email I received today from the organisers that even after explaining that the word is based on "web" and "society" (if you feel you need to explain it, then perhaps it isn't a great term) they preferred to use "web society" than "webciety" later in the email!

IEE appoints new editor-in-chief

The new editor-in-chief of IEE Automatisierung + Datentechnik is Harald Wollstadt. Harald comes to IEE with an extremely strong CV, having previously held editor-in-chief roles for Drives & Motion and T2M.

Reed launches e-NEPCON

Although NEPCON UK is consigned to the past, European engineers can still get part of the NEPCON experience by logging on to the new e-NEPCON site launched by Reed Exhibitions. Interestingly although the site is branded e-NEPCON, Reed has decided to register www.enepcon.com - without the hyphen. It will be interesting to see if any enterprising domain squatter gets www.e-nepcon.com before Reed realises! (and yes it really was still available when I wrote this post).

Domotechnica Istanbul

Turkey has quietly become a the key European countries for consumer electronics, and you'll be able to find out more and reach Turkish engineers at Domotechnica Istanbul - a sister show the the Cologne event. The show is being organised by Koelnmesse and Forum Fair, a local Turkish organizer, and will be held from April 16th to 19th 2009.

LEM nominated for another award

LEM has been nominated for another award. WiLEM, the company's wireless energy meter that helps people reduce their electricity consumption has been shortlisted for the ElektroData product of the year 2008. Congratulations and good luck to all at LEM!

Luke Collins returns to the IET

Luke Collins, who edited the features section of the IEE Review a few years ago has returned to the Institute (which is now the IET) to edit the communications section of E & T. Luke has an amazing background, having been editor of Electronics Times as well as viewing the industry from a different point of view as a principal analyst at Dataquest. Luke is interested in interesting stories from freelancers and is easy to contact via the [email protected] email address.

Literature management problems….solved!

Having held both client-side and agency-side roles, I know that sometimes it's the simple things that make marketing difficult, and that literature management is a particularly challenging problem. Even though the Internet has simplified the problem significantly, getting the right literature - both electronic and printed - to the sales channel quickly and efficiently is still a challenge. I have been lucky enough to be involved in a project to deliver a system to manage literature requests for one of our clients, helping specify some of the functionality, and was really impressed at the system created by the software company. Sales people and distributors can request printed brochures, flyers, seminar invites and other literature online, as well as downloading digital versions. The system automates the shipping process and tracks costs. The client used a company called the Dopla Group, who can deliver similar bespoke systems tailored to the needs of our industry. For more information, contact me and I'd be happy to put you in contact with the clever programmers at the Dopla Group.

Heat maps show what people see

I found a fun online tool called Feng-GUI, which claims to produce heatmaps that show where people look when presented with a screen to view. The product claims to be based on results from real eye tracking services and whilst it is not the same as an eye-tracking study, given that you can try it free on the web the price is very attractive. You simply upload a graphic file, so it can be used for ads, websites and any other marketing graphics.

I ran a couple of websites through the system. Here's the eye tracking for Napier's website:

And here's the results for Elektroniknet.de:


Of course one of the big drawbacks is that the system works of static images, so can't take account of any video or animation on the site. I'd be interested to hear what you think of the tool, and whether you have a project where you use it.

Call for papers - Batteries 2009

After the success of the Batteries show in 2008, the organisers have issued a call for papers. An abstract, which should be sent as a pdf file to [email protected] & [email protected], is due by 30th January 2009.

What's new in mobile?

Laurence Marchini, former Editor of Electronics Express and Electronicstalk and proof that editors can work remotely (he edited UK-based Electronicstalk from Australia!) has teamed with Stuart Willett and Ian Channing to launch What's New In Mobile. The site isn't yet up and running - it will be launched in February 2009 to coincide with 3GSM - but I'd expect a similar approach to Electronicstalk, with wide coverage releases about mobile communications.

In addition to display ads, the site will offer advertorials that include longer stories, and multimedia content, such as additional photography, slide shows and even video.

Interestingly the site promises to cover topics “from chipsets to handsets – and beyond”, with product coverage including components and Antennae.

As always it is great to see launches of new media that cover our industry. Having just written a post about the launch of Medtronic Journal, I'm more than ever convinced that vertical titles offer the best opportunities for publishers over the next year or so. Hopefully this site will make money, and I'll be interested to see how What's New in Mobile manages to differentiate the free editorial and paid-for advertorial. This approach of offering photos in editorial, with payment for longer articles and multimedia seems like a great model for today, although it may be a challenge to position video as "premium content" in a 2 to 3 years time.

New medical technology journal

Beam Verlag, publishers of a number of electronics titles including HF Praxis and RF & Wireless Europe, launched >Meditronic Journal in October. The magazine focuses on the development of medical electronic equipment, providing an ideal vehicle for promoting to one of the few end markets that is still growing. Published in German, the title has a reletively modest distribution of 4000, but if it is managed as well as the other Beam titles, the circulation is likely to be well targeted. It's always good to see new titles being launched, and I suspect that like Meditronic Journal, most new launches over the next couple of years will address specific vertical niches.

Napier News policy on comments

I thought it might be a good idea to publish my policy on approving and removing comments to ensure everyone understands my approach. You can view the policy here.

SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2008 breaks records

Despite the poor economy, the SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2008 show attracted 48,105 visitors, more than any previous year. I'm amazed that the organisers can deliver an increased number of visitors, and really pleased to see the show continue to grow. The even attracted 1,386 exhibitors, as well as running the comprehensive conference programme of presentations and tutorials.

The event will be held next year from 24th to 26th November 2009 at the Nuremberg exhibition centre.

SupplyFrame signs Nick Walker

Nick Walker has been signed as the SupplyFrame sales representative for Europe. SupplyFrame claims to be "the largest and fastest growing content and advertising network dedicated to the information needs of design engineers and procurement professionals in the electronics industry." Their traffic figures are certainly impressive, but the most shocking thing is how they have "got" the importance of promoting traffic figures whereas the large publishers seem to be way behind (I hate to point this out, but EDN.com seems to want to hide their figures, and if you go to EETimes.com, the figures for the US site are somewhat unhelpfully from April 2007!).

Opencores.org partners with Elektroniktidningen

It was good to see the guys at opencores.org choose Elektroniktidningen's sales force to sell advertising on the site. It's a perfect vehicle for promoting EDA tools, FPGAs and ASICs, and I'm sure that the partnership will boost funding to expand this innovative site.

Online translation service detects language automatically

I've always been quick to point out the problems with machine translation, but still use services such as Babelfish for "gisting" (getting the gist of something written in another language). I'm now moving to use Frengly, simply because it will cleverly detect the source language.

Like all of these services, it can be very useful, but won't be worrying our team of more than 30 translators - a quick test translation revealed that at the start of the year IDT "announced that the first PCIe ® switch in the industry family samples that are tailored to the requirements connection the data and control plane of sophisticated communications applications tailored".

In a way the poor quality of automatic translations is a good thing - it makes me feel much better about my somewhat limited abilities to speak French and German!

The future according to Chris Edwards

I really liked this presentation about the future of our industry that Chris has recently posted to slideshare. It's a great overview of the technological challenges facing the industry that is presented in a way that non-engineers can understand.

IET editor wins award

I often feel that the technical B2B magazines are under-rated by people outside of the industry. But here's some good news: Dickon Ross, editor of the IET magazine E&T, has been named Editor of the Year at the prestigious British Society of Magazine Editors Awards. Dickon has done a great job at the IET, and he launched and still edits Flipside, a magazine that aims to excite children (including my young son that loves the title) about engineering.

It's great to see a editor in our industry recognised with an award, and I'm particularly pleased to see Dickon win as he is an editor with a great record of radical innovations as well as driving continuous improvement.

Quick guide to Google Adwords

I saw this neat little article covering the "Ten Mistakes You Can't Afford To Make With Google Adwords" and although it's not technically about the European electronics media, I thought it would be great information for any Napier News readers considering starting a Google PPC campaign.

Another nice article on the site discusses the accuracy of email open rates - something I have spent a lot of time looking at with clients as although it's nice to get precise numbers, often the open rate doesn't reflect the number of people reading the email.