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With IMS 2015 finally upon us, one thing you can look forward to seeing (besides IEEE ribbons, plastic badge holders, and fishbowls full of wrapped candy) is a great representation of the key technology trends for industry: The Internet of Things, the Drive to 5G, and the Acceleration of Wireless.

As the world gets ready for the expansion of The Internet of Things (IoT), you can expect to see IMS members driving solutions to handle the great increases in demand for wireless and microwave capable devices. Not only is the demand for the array and volume of these devices increasing, but the pressures to reduce time to market and cost for devices are increasing as well. We'll look to the solutions and discussions at IMS 2015 to see how designers, testers, and manufacturers alike are handling these pressures through improved software, components, and platforms.

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At Murrietta Circuits, we have exhibited in our share of trade shows over the last few years, so when our friend Judy Warner, of Zentech Manufacturing, recommended we check out IMS we were very open-minded. Once we reviewed the website, we quickly agreed with Judy that this would be the perfect venue to showcase Murrietta Circuits and the eSurface technology that we offer.  http://www.murrietta.com/licensed-esurface-manufacturing.html

We are “newcomers” to IMS and with that comes new opportunities.  We have been in business for about 35 years and during that time we’ve been involved in programs for the military; drones and wireless communications, aerospace; satellites and radar, medical; implantable devices and controllers for devices.  These are all very interesting and exciting programs and we take great pride in the quality of service we provide our customers.  

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As of the date of this post, IMS2015 has 48 new companies contracted to exhibit. There is quite a mix of international and domestic companies. The types of companies include local service companies, innovative start-ups, and some well known multinational corporations.

Let’s make these first timers feel welcome and help them experience everything that makes IMS the premier event of our industry! To help introduce them to our community, I reached out to a few of the new exhibitors and asked them a few questions. See below for my interview with Neal Mellen at ON Semiconductor – if you consider Q&A over email, an interview.

b2ap3_thumbnail_semiconductor.jpgFirst Time Exhibitor Spotlight – ON Semiconductor, Booth 410, Neal Mellen

We will be promoting our discrete and integrated passive RF devices for low cost, high performance RF components and fixed matching networks, as well as tunable matching solutions for handheld devices. In addition our low cost, low power SoC products for ZigBee 802.15.4 and IoT will be on display.

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(…You Were Going to be an Engineer?)

When the IMS steering committee met for the first time last November in Phoenix, to begin putting the wheels-in-motion for IMS 2015, those of us on the publicity committee thought it would be fun to get a glimpse of the history and humanity behind some of the talented RF/Microwave engineers that attend IMS each year. Additionally, we thought that these stories would inspire and resonate with the STEM students that will be involved in this year’s conference. No doubt, these stories will be full of surprises and a bit of humor, too.

So, when did you know you were going to be an engineer? Was it your obsession with Legos? Was it because you wanted to know how everything worked? Was it because you were a whiz at Math and Science? Was it because you kept deconstructing and reconstructing things? Was it that chemistry set you got for Christmas—or that Science fair you won? No doubt, every story is unique, and that “aha” moment came in different ways, at different ages for every one of you that chose an engineering profession.

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At IMS2014 in Tampa, the IMS executive committee chose to start a new tradition, the “Kick-off Celebration!” Registered attendees enjoyed food, live music, beer tents, and cocktail stations sponsored by companies that exhibit at IMS. And who can forget the water skiing show!

The IMS2015 executive committee and sponsors have a wonderful plan to provide you with an amazing experience in Phoenix! This year’s event will take place at the Arizona Science Center. The Arizona Science Center’s areas of focus include: Health & Medicine, Energy & Environment, Technology & Innovation, and Early Childhood Education. There are 300 exhibits in seven themed galleries, including the “My Digital World” exhibit on communications technologies.

The “My Digital World” exhibit has a permanent installation called the Ham Shack for you ham radio enthusiasts. Those that want to know more about ham radios, can connect to Hamfests.

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Hello all you female IEEE MTT-S readers out there...

It's time to lean in. If you don't know what I'm referring to, read on.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a book written by Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, and Nell Scovell, TV and magazine writer. Sandberg is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Lean In examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

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I am excited by all of the activity in the microwave industry this year, with many new developments in areas such as mmWaves, 5G communications, Internet of Things/wearable technologies, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, UAVs and modular test, to name a few. There is a continuing trend of industry consolidation that was strong last year and has continued this year with mergers such as the acquisition of Mesuro and Auriga by Focus Microwaves, Miteq by L-3 Narda, TE Connectivity businesses by CommScope, Exelis by Harris, Freescale by NXP, Vitesse Semiconductor by Microsemi and more — all before the end of the first quarter of 2015.

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A couple of weeks ago, two former colleagues and dear friends, who I had not seen in several years, blew through San Diego for a short conference visit: Dr. Kenji Itoh, formerly of Mitsubishi and now of Kanazawa Institute of Technology, and Dr. Larry Larson, formerly of IBM and now inaugural Dean of the new School of Engineering at my alma mater, Brown University. They were both so busy, I managed to only have a quick bite with them separately and on the fly. We three pledged to get together again at IMS in Phoenix where we would finally have a chance to catch up over the course of the conference. I have not been to IMS for a couple of years. Time, money, circumstance… life has a way of intervening in the best laid plans of mice and men. But the occasion of seeing my two dear colleagues again resurrected all the reasons I need to get myself together to attend the conference once again. There are soooo many good reasons to do this and so few reasons not to, that even the irony of Jimmy Fallon’s Pros and Cons cannot dissuade me from doing so this year.

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Finally I can have warm toes.

Have you heard of wearable Wednesday? If you have not yet, you’ll hear about it now. This year at IMS (on Wednesday funnily enough), we are promoting the use of wearable electronics for anything and everything from Fitbits for counting steps on the show floor to iPhone apps for ‘Sleep Cycle’ tracking and reminding us of all of the sleep we are not getting.

But let me share with you what has me excited about wearables—finally that I can have warm toes all year long! On a flight back from Texas recently, I grabbed a copy of United Hemisphere Magazine to read on the descent into LAX. One article (and its image) caught my attention…“Bluetooth is the new Black.”

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Being at one of the early 2015 IMS committee meetings I heard about some event called “having a beer with Steve Cripps”. I must have missed the meeting prior where the concept was discussed. I did not take it seriously and thought it was just another IMS idea that had beer in it. Seems like we have a lot of those!

I know of Dr. Steve Cripps – by name - from his book and work in the use of load line contours for matching PA’s. In fact, the philosophical subject comes up periodically at work. To load-pull or not to load-pull and use the “Cripps Method”…now that is the question.  

I also know Steve is a regular attendee at IMS and personally I like the idea of grabbing a beer with him to get to know him.  Meeting new people and seeing old friends in the industry is one of the facets of IMS I really enjoy.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… a time for joy, hope and the anticipation of getting together with friends and longtime acquaintances. Think I’m talking about the holidays? Wrong. I’m actually referring to IMS. OK, I may be stretching it and next year’s event in Phoenix may seem a long way off as winter settles upon us, but nonetheless I encourage everyone to think of the warm spirit of IMS and Phoenix in May (oh Yeah!) and consider how we can extend the spirit of staying connected throughout the year.

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You might think it's a long time until IMS 2015 in Phoenix, but I just realized that it's only seven, yes, seven weeks until the technical paper submission deadline!  We'd better get our skates on and get writing. Well, of course, you need to have something to write about, so I am assuming that you have already done the hard work – the design, modeling, build, characterization and measurements, and also come up with an explanation of what you have seen.  Writing the paper should be breeze from here. 

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Some critics say that attending IMS is a waste of time for engineers and designers. The popular complaint is that conferences, in general, tend to be long on marketing sparkle and short on technical rigor. Among engineers, I often hear the comment that visiting booths is pointless because booth staff is more intent on tagging your conference badge to get your digits (i.e. email contact) than actually answering your technical questions. Questions about technical performance or pricing are shoved into the inquiry-list abyss, and might be addressed within the next decade.

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So I know a couple in San Antonio. I know what you’re thinking – I’ve heard all those Texas jokes already. But I really do know a couple in San Antonio. Shortly after meeting this couple the three of us discovered that we were all electrical engineers and so we immediately began to analyze (as good engineers will do) how our various paths in engineering were interconnected. Not only did we have difficulty finding connections, but it also took us quite some time to really understand our various responsibilities and sectors (relational software, aerospace parts tolerance assurance, and RF/microwave design and test). The most interesting of these sectors, I’m sure you’ll agree, is the rapidly expanding RF and microwave sector.

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Bring yourself, your love of the outdoors and no ties to this premier event… the IMS2014 Kickoff Celebration. Why wait until the end of the week when we are all exhausted to celebrate? Let’s get started early. Monday night. Don’t miss it.

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IMS was my first conference when I joined this industry way back in 19xx cough, cough. I was young and optimistic, and I stepped into a conference that was marked by an industry that was frightened and wondering what the future held. Most of the companies were what many now refer to as “the old microwave guys” who really only had military customers. And the military orders were drying up. There were whispers on the show floor of this new “wireless” technology. Many scoffed at the term. Heck, wireless was the word used to describe Marconi’s invention. But what if… what if there really was a commercial market for this fantastic technology that we all loved so much. Could there be a brighter future?

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The IEEE IMS show is a terrific place to further one’s education on emerging technologies, state of the art testing procedures and all things related to the microwave industry. In addition to an exhibit hall featuring over 550 microwave industry-related companies, IMS2014 offers technical sessions, interactive forums, plenary and panel sessions, workshops, short courses, industrial exhibits, application seminars, historical exhibits, and a wide variety of other technical and social activities, including both student and guest programs.”

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear MTT-IMS? Geeking out on microwave technology? Jetlag and late-night socializing? Microapp sessions? Free microwave swag? The IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is the premier annual international conference for technologists involved in all aspects of microwave theory and practice. The conference is held in a different location each year, and attendees look forward to spending the week with peers and microwave gurus who enjoy discussing the latest advancements in anything from MMICs to polyharmonic distortion models. While some engineers reluctantly admit they are not terribly social in the conventional sense, part of the appeal of IMS is the chance to socialize over the aforementioned topics.

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To be a better engineer, get Linked-in to the IMS Community.

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I watched the Teen Choice Awards with my daughter the other week…  She was tracking who won and whom she voted for via her iPhone.  I was “zoning” out all the noise and wondering what this could possibly teach her. Having moved to LA from the East Coast a few years back now, the influence of “Hollywood” is hard to escape, so trying to instill the message that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is smart and sexy is a real challenge. Referring to myself as a cool geek mom, I am often saying to my kids that science is cool, math is cool, and being a geek is cool!

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