Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Obsession with Size

How Big was this year's IMS? That seems to be the metric that everyone measures the show by. For me, this annual event is almost more than I can handle. Really. Fortunately our staff editors were able to stay on top of all the press releases and keep the online show coverage up to date. As for me, by the last day my head was spinning from all the input and brainstorming and information overload and piling up action items. Not that I'm complaining. I just don't see how bigger could possibly be any better. I already have regrets for the many people I was unable to see or spend quality time with. If you're on that list, please accept my apologies.

Of the meetings I did have and the press conferences I did attend, I was very impressed by Bob Van Buskirk and the entire team at RFMD as they rolled out their new GaN foundry. Bob gave a great talk about what he believed RFMD could bring to the market and specific benefits to future customers. I was also impressed by the quality of questions asked by attendees. And then... I missed my one-on-one meeting with Bob at the RFMD booth due to other meetings running late. See what I mean - it can be over whelming. There is never enough time at IMS.

Responding to the RFMD GaN foundry news, I did hear from the folks at TriQuint who sent a friendly reminder that they have been in the GaN foundry business for a few years and are therefore in a very strong position to offer many benefits to GaN designers. While I did get to exchange personal hellos with the Triquint foundry VP, Glen Riley. My colleague, Pat Hindle took the longer meeting and will be filing the report on their specific activity. I know they had a productive year, so I'm sure there will be lots of news there. The competition between foundries can only mean good things for driving innovation forward.

The RFMD conference presented me with a scheduling conflict. As I was with RFMD, our editors P. Hindle and R. Mumford and publisher C. Sheffres attended a special VIP session with Agilent. While I missed their CTO - Darlene Solomon discuss the many technologies Agilent was pursuing, I was able to later catch up with one of our past Expert Advice columnist , Agilent senior technologist - Joel Dunsmore. Joel did walk me through the latest developments with their nonlinear network vector analyzer (NVNA), the PNA-X and what has been happening with the industry adoption of X-parameters. This is a developing story that the Journal will be paying close attention to.

Nonlinear characterization was also being featured at the Tektronix/Mesuro booth with their active load-pull system and design by "waveform engineering". Rohde & Schwarz also has some activity in this arena as well. stay tuned.

We had a number of meetings with exhibitors who talked about the entire microwave supply chain, what these companies were doing to improve the supply chain and how the industry itself is evolving. Without giving too much away, this is a topic that will be giving special editorial coverage in the not too distant future. Also on this topic - Cobham is thinking outside the box and is evolving the way they do business with prime contractors that could actually transform the industry. Think efficiency on a global scale.

All my friends in the software market have been busy and were on hand to show their latest and greatest. Ansoft was showing off the beta version of HFSS12 (almost a teenager, imagine that!!), Agilent had demos of the latest features in ADS and a very impressive EMPro demo. Sonnet, AWR, CST, Remcom and others were also "in the house" with their latest releases. We ended up shooting a few videos with the folks at AWR as well as Agilent and Ansoft. Please check them out on our online show daily.

The high power transistor guys were in full effect, with Freescale pushing their LDMOS technology higher in frequency, Integra manning a very busy booth, Eudyna with a large central presence, HVVi and Microsemi all making noteworthy news.

My final thoughts on the show? The BCEC is a wonderful convention center and all exhibitors did a great job showing off their stuff; the weather was lousy (bad news for all those chartered harbor cruises) , but could have been worse; the parties were a blast and I enjoyed catching up with so many people while meeting new friends. With that, my hat's off to Fred Schindler and everyone on the steering commitee. I had a front row seat to what goes into organizing such an event. It is time consuming and it ain't easy. You folks did a great job. Thank you.

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