Quick thoughts from three recent T&M shows
Between Oct. 16 and Oct. 31, I attended three different multi-day industry events—both as a means of representing Evaluation Engineering to the electronic test & measurement industry, and to find out what’s currently moving the needle across different verticals in this space.
Trade shows/conventions/expos are a great way to take in educational sessions, and to make many new networking connections and enhance ones that are already established. I was happy to do both over the second half of October. My travels included attending:
- EDI CON USA—Oct. 17-18 in Santa Clara, CA
- Automotive Testing Expo—Oct. 23-25 in Novi, MI
- International Test Conference—Oct. 29-31 in Phoenix, AZ
Though there was an immense amount of information to take in, those shows were a great experience for me to meet many leading vendors in T&M and learn how they are going about providing solutions and preparing for the future. I was shown more than a handful of booth demonstrations that gave me the ins and outs of new products now on the market. And I was able to attend many informative seminars, workshops and keynote presentations that gave me insight as to what is currently trending in T&M across different markets, and what to expect in the near future.
Here’s a brief recap of some of what I saw and took in during those three events, as well as some photos I snapped:
EDI CON USA
Just a short walk from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the Electronic Design Innovation Conference & Exhibition (EDI CON USA) was tagged as “Where High Frequency Meets High Speed!,” bringing together RF, microwave, EMC/EMI, and high-speed digital design engineers and system integrators and suppliers involved. The EDI CON Website showed 86 exhibitors registered as of the start of the event.
The most interesting EDI CON event I attended was one of its plenary sessions, with Vayyar Imaging director of business development Ovi Jacob delivering a keynote titled, “Looking Deeper: Using Radar to Save Lives and Improve the World.” Jacob’s 30-minute presentation discussed the different applications where radar is currently being used to positively impact things like breast cancer screening, ground saturation measurement, automotive real-time monitoring from inside and outside a vehicle, daily home life, retail operations, and more.
Jacob shared how Vayyar has created radar solutions for those aforementioned applications and advocated for makers to create their own apps using those solutions.
Automotive Testing Expo
Held at the Suburban Collection Showplace a little northwest of Detroit, MI, the 17th annual Automotive Testing Expo (ATE) was actually three shows in one. The expo facilities and presentation rooms were co-located with the Autonomous Vehicle TECHNOLOGY EXPO 2018 and Autonomous Vehicle TEST & DEVELOPMENT Symposium, delivering attendees a comprehensive offering of the latest products, trends, and education in full vehicle and component-level testing and development.
The ATE website states that more than 330 exhibitors were on-hand, while more than 5,500 visitors attended.
Most of all, ATE gave me great insight as to where the autonomous vehicle industry currently is in terms of a timeline towards mass deployment and its hand-in-hand status with 5G. I attended a presentation by Roger Jollis, director of product management-telematics for Harman (a Samsung Company, USA) titled, “5G Capacity will enable the car of the future,” that was very informative. Jollis covered the challenge of combating a ‘virtual traffic jam’ currently developing and that will only become worse, pointing out that the number of Internet of Things devices connected worldwide is estimated at 23.14 billion in 2018; will be 30.73 billion by 2020; 42.62 billion in 2020; 62.12 billion in 2024; and 75.44 billion in 2025. Likewise, the number of electric wire cars on the road in 2016 was approximately 2 million, and that figure will surge to 65 million by 2025. Just as the devices using your home Wi-Fi will drag on its speed, the immense increase in vehicles relying on real-time car-to-car communication and environmental scanning will create an enormous demand for data, making the role of efficient 5G incalculably critical.
I made plenty of booth visits at ATE, and one of them included getting an in-depth tour of Keysight’s autonomous driving, connected car, and e-mobility solutions. It informed me how Keysight aims to be a complete solutions provider in the realm of autonomous vehicle test & measurement, rather than simply providing products. This is certainly true for many leading vendors besides Keysight, but as I’m only a little more than two months into my tenure here at EE, this booth tour was perhaps the first immersive showing of how that’s being done.
Automotive Testing Expo returns to Novi, MI for 2019, to be held next Oct. 22-24.
International Test Conference
Held in downtown Phoenix, AZ, the 49th annual International Test Conference (ITC) was co-located with the 44th annual International Symposium for Testing and Failure Analysis (ISTFA)—a natural partnership that I thought worked very well to give attendees essentially double the expo and allow them to not have to choose between one or the other if they were held separately.
I was given a handful of informative booth tours, including a very in-depth demonstration from Mentor, which showed me their brand new offering of ATE-Connect technology used in its Tessent SiliconInsight product for IC debug and bring-up. Produced through a partnership with Teradyne, the ATE-Connect technology creates an industry-standard interface to eliminate communication barriers between proprietary, tester-specific software and design-for-test platforms. By doing so, the technology accelerates debug of IJTAG devices—for which Mentor said the demand has spiked in 2018 and will continue to grow rapidly—helps speed up product ramps, and reduces time-to-market for products in 5G wireless communications, autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence. A Mentor rep mentioned how designers and test engineers are often separated by different nationalities and languages, which results in significant communication delays—sometimes months. The new ATE-Connect technology aims to reduce that communication gap to a week or less.
On Oct. 29, I had lunch with Li-C Wang, the general chair of ITC, as well as professor and director of computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Wang said there had always been some overlap between ITC and ISFTA in their conference content and exhibitors, so this year’s co-location provided synergistic benefits for those exhibitors and attendees, giving each a chance to see some exhibitors and attendees they might typically not.
I asked Wang what he’s seeing in the T&M industry as far as recruiting challenges—particularly about how to sway new graduates into T&M when they seem to be far more drawn toward jobs in design engineering. Wang instead said that more graduates are now drawn into software than design or T&M, and that any full-scale effort to get grads to pick T&M over software would be like battling a tsunami wave.
Wang touched on the major growth in the markets for hardware security and artificial intelligence (AI), which is why ITC devoted conference tracks to each topic. Wang said he would like to see ITC ultimately become AI-centric, with the way technology is trending in that direction. Next year, ITC will go back to a solo show as it goes all out for its 50th anniversary event, and it’ll be returning to its home city of Washington D.C. Wang said the 2019 show will have an overall security theme.
The ITC show—which Wang said was about an 80% volunteer effort this year—will be a solo show in 2019 as it celebrates its 50th year, with the event to be held in its home city of Washington D.C.
While generally enjoy traveling and these three shows, which were very beneficial, I’m happy to have a few months off before my next show for EE. We had booths at EDI CON and ITC, and next for us, we’ll have a booth at DesignCon 2019, held Jan. 29-31 in Santa Clara.