Chapter F4 University Booths (UBooths)

IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium

Guidelines and Procedures Manual

 

Prepared by Luciano Boglione (2009)

 

Table of Contents

o       IMS2010

Purpose and Duties

IMS conferences have been offering Universities and eligible non-profit institutions the opportunity to display their research work in booths made available free of charge on the exhibit floor. This offer is in line with the MTT-S goal of fostering microwave engineering education and new accomplishments in the microwave area. A UBooth Chair (UBC) manages all the aspects related to the University Booths program as described below. Guidelines for the UBC are set out by the General Chair (GC) who has the ultimate decision power on all aspects of this program - e.g. to decide whether an institution is eligible or not.

The UBooth task is comprised of 3 major components which involve a number of different IMS chairs:

Further information on each of the above is provided in the Timeline of Events. Also, keep in mind that the exhibit chair in this document is assumed to be a representative of the exhibit management company under contract with the IMS/MTT-S.

Suggested Membership

The UBooth task can be managed successfully by the one person (the UBC) and it is suggested that only one person be assigned to the UBooth task, with the ability of recruiting one or more volunteers should the need exists.

Timeline and Description of Events

Based on the IMS 2009 experience, the following series of events related to the UBooth task is suggested. This timeline expands and explains the 3 components described in the previous section Purpose and Duties.

 

Final UB attendance
Figure 1: Location of the 11 participants of the 2009 IMS UBooth program.

 

Months to IMS
(Approx)

Task

Description


~12

Guideline Definition

GC and UBC define the conditions under which an institution is eligible for a free UBooth. The main constraints are:

  • the institution must be either a University or a non-profit research center. A simple guideline which was used in 2009 has been to make sure that potential participants had a .edu (or equivalent) email address. Based on anecdotal recollection of past IMS UBooth attendance, the average institution is an EE department from a US University. The 2009 UBC attempted to contact some research laboratories in the far East in line with MTT-S recent effort of expanding its membership base. It is suggested to continue this recruitment effort in the future. The locations of the confirmed 2009 participants are shown in figure 1.
  • institutions are responsible for any cost related to their participation to the IMS exhibit. The institutions will not pay for the UBooth space and the standard setup issued by IMS; however, they are responsible for any other costs - e.g. to ship out to, and retrieve from the IMS exhibit, any additional item1. It is important for the UBC to understand the GC's overall exhibit vision - what is the exhibit offering to attendees, what events are taking place in the exhibit, etc. - and fit the UBooths within his/her vision. For instance, the 2009 IMS GC proposed in coordination with the exhibit chair, to setup an University Pavilion (figure 2), i.e. a defined area within the exhibit where the UBooths would be setup. This arrangement was different compared to previous IMS exhibits, where UBooths were simply minimum size booths assigned to accepted institutions. The goal of the 2009 IMS arrangement was to provide a consistent environment where an exhibit attendee could focus on the latest research achievements, rather than being surrounded by the latest microwave products2.

 

University pavilion

Figure 2: The University pavilion as envisioned and presented to potential attendees.

 

  • a standard UBooth setup should be defined. An initial idea of what the standard UBooth consists of should be defined prior to contacting institutions. This is important for the institutions to understand what they should expect as part of the free offering and avoid misunderstandings later. For instance, in 2009, the standard setup was comprised of one small table, two chairs, a board and a 110V socket. The UBC is then responsible to coordinate the budget implication of the free offering with the treasurer/finance chair and the exhibit chair.

~4

Recruitment

  • The UBC defines a list of potential and past UBooth attendees with contact names/email addresses. The UBC should contact the immediate past IMS UB chair to receive any existing contact list.
  • The UBC emails3 the institutions contacts (figure 3) to invite them to take advantage of the UBooth opportunity. Clear deadlines4 are defined with the exhibit chair in order to meet any exhibit-related constraints.
  • The UBC coordinates advertisement efforts on the IMS website to allow new institutions to apply for the UB program even if not part of the UBC contact list5.

 

UBooth stats

Figure 3: Final stats related to the UBooth email campaign as presented during a 2009 IMS steering committee meeting.

 


~2

On-Site Contact Information

  • The UBC collects the responses from the invited institutions
  • The UBC emails the UBooth participants an Attendance Form which
    • confirms contact information at the institution and on-site during the IMS;
    • contains any special requirements for the Institution's UBooth setup
    • provides updated shipping deadlines

This task is strongly dependent on the IMS location and deadlines and should rely on the input of both the exhibit chair and exhibit management company.


~0

On-Site Final Arrangements

It is strongly suggested to visit the exhibit with a representative of the exhibit management company to confirm (figure 4) and finalize the details of the University Pavilion/UBooths setup. Last minute minor changes may be beneficial once experienced on-site and can be approved by the UBC.

 

Final setup prior to IMS

Figure 4: Confirmed university pavilion prior to the IMS event. The setup was proposed by the exhibit chair in coordination with their own vendor(s) and approved by the UBC. A visit to the pavilion the day before the exhibit opening was carried out by the UBC with a representative of the exhibit management company to make sure that the final setup would meet IMS expectations.

 


Notes

  1. With regards to the UBooth setup and associated costs, the UBC is responsible to determine a standard setup for the UBooth. This task is carried out in conjunction with the exhibit chair. Figure 1 shows the standard setup offered for free as part of the UBooth program. During the preparation of the IMS 2009 UBooth exhibit, it became clear that some Universities are geared up with their own standard setup that has been shipped out to the exhibit in an almost routine fashion. The decision of creating a university pavilion clashed with some institutions' expectations. GC and UBC decided that institutions could elect to have a standard booth as they had in the previous years. However, the benefits of enjoying the expected traffic that the UBooth area would draw (figure 5) could not be guaranteed since the assignment of a standard booth would not be under the UBC's control. In the end, all the participating institutions decided to join in at the university pavilion.

 

IMS exhibit website

Figure 5: The university pavilion was part of the exhibit website: the on-line map showed the location of the pavilion within the exhibit and took advantage of the new on-line tools made available by the exhibit management company to all 2009 IMS attendees interested in the exhibit.

 

  1. It should be noted that Institutions and Research Centers may decide to attend the exhibit as paying exhibitors as was the case at the 2009 IMS exhibit.The UBC should make the contact persons interested in the UBooths aware of this option even if no such case had taken place at that time: the main reason is not to offer an institution the opportunity of buying a booth, rather to set their expectations correctly, by explaining that other institutions may opt to buy a larger exhibit area.
  2. The email that was sent out in 2009 is available as example (the fields to be updated with contact information are shown in red). The 2009 UBC took advantage of the IT infrastructure offered by the exhibit management company which integrated the UBooth email blast within the far more complex advertisement campaign with minimal effort.
  3. Deadlines are a strong function of the exhibit requirements. Future IMS locations may have very different requirements compared to IMS 2009 in Boston. The exhibit chair and the exhibit management company will be able to explain any issue the UBC should keep in mind when scheduling UBooth deadlines.
  4. IMS 2009 was contacted by a US university to partecipate in the UB program; the university department was accepted to the program and their booth was part of the university pavilion in Boston.

Problems Encountered

The process is reasonably clear and well established through prior IMS. For instance, some Universities plan their participation at the IMS exhibit on a regular basis and their point of contact is the same year after year. The pace increases only around -4 month to event as email invitations are sent out. Overall, a reasonably well self-organized UBC is sufficient to manage the process to a successful completion.

Some of the issues the 2009 UBC faced were recurrent and some were new.

The notes in the previous section may provide some further insights on the details related to challenges faced by the UBC.

Suggestions and Recommendations

It is suggested that changes to the UBooth program are clearly delineated and explained to the participants. As mentioned above, some institution plan their regular participation to the IMS UBooth program and they have geared up for the event with an expectation that the UBooth requirements would not change. While change is certainly sought out by each new IMS organization to keep the event fresh and attractive, it is beneficial to try to accommodate every institution request if possible. For instance, it is easy to assign a standard booth if this is the institution's ultimate request - as long as it is clear that they may not enjoy the full benefits stemming from being part of the IMS UBooth program on the exhibit floor.

As in any other IMS activities based on the volunteers' dedication, it is important to pass the information acquired in the field to the next IMS volunteer. The next UBC should contact the current UBC soon after the end of the current IMS event in order to have an idea of the tasks involved; and to receive detailed information regarding potential and current participants.

Conclusion

The UBooth program is an important task within the IMS event that allows educational and research institutions to be part of the largest microwave exhibit. This is in line with the broad goal of the MTT-S society that fosters new achievements in the area of microwave engineering. How to implement this vision within the IMS event is the General Chair's responsibility in the first place, supported by the UBooth chair's who has the opportunity of shaping it in the daily operations. The UBC's task can be greatly facilitated and enhanced by an engaged exhibit chair who gives the UBC the required freedom to coordinate the solicitation and the participation of eligible institutions. In this context, minimal effort is required of the UBC to deliver a successful UBooth program within the IMS exhibit. This was the experience in 2009, and this is my wish to future UBooth chairs.

Luciano Boglione
IMS UBooth Chair
Boston 2009

 

IMS Recent Reports

IMS2010

IMS2010_Reports\UNIVERSITY EXHIBITION BOOTHS Final Report.doc