Electronica 2016 - The geeks come out to play!
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I’ve just pressed send on my copy to the magazine carrying my company’s hopes and dreams for Electronica 2016, Europe’s largest electronic component trade show. Adrenaline is still coasting through my fingers. What will the 8th of November bring? Hosted in the majestic city of Munich, Germany, this biennial component trade show is vital to every electronics company. Right across the globe VP’s of marketing are checking copy, chasing customer meetings, phoning stand builders with last minute changes. Posters are printing and engineers are frantically working to get demonstration kit working to show off their latest gizmo and capture the imaginations of the thousands of engineers, purchasers and technology seekers that will haunt the Messe Munich in search of solutions.
As an Engineer I am happiest thumbing the pages of Horowitz and Hill’s, ‘The Art of Electronics.’ Instead on Monday 7th November I will stand in a freezing Messe surrounded by carpenters and tradesmen hammering and painting in a crazy flurry of activity to erect the glamorous stalls where the leaders of the electronic industry will attempt to seduce and dazzle their customers. My exhibitor pass claims, ‘the future begins here’ and the tag line is, ‘inside tomorrow’. The future will have frost bitten toes and be praying that they get the shutters closed so that, ‘inside’ can warm up.
In many ways it is just the 21st century version of a coming out ball with the competition for the coolest booth equal in fervour to competition for the most stunning dress. In the cold light of an autumn morning in Germany, will I curse the stupidity of it all? Yes of course! However, on Tuesday morning as I join the grey army of suited technology professionals like a black river flowing into the halls, I too will be swept away at the glamour of it all. The lighting, the larger screens, the crazy demo’s. It is Christmas morning for lovers of technology.
The US have CES and of course the infamous Apple announcement’s. However, the hardware, the nuts and bolts or more correctly the IC’s, pcb’s and connectors that make up all our electronic gadgets, from fridges to cars to the internal workings of wind generators. All those thousands of electronic components are represented here at Munich’s premier trade show. Across the tables of the local beer halls over knuckles of pork washed down with tankards of Helles (no Pilz please we are in the South now), the inner electronic workings of every device we use are selected and horse traded. In many ways it seems like a great irony that the very technology professionals who push us all to an online existence, they still need to gather and horse trade. To me it is a glorious reflection of our fundamental humanity. The face to face meeting, the bartering is as fundamental to 21st century trade as it was to 19th century trade.
My grandfather argued with brewers to supply his bar, he bought and sold horses for his farm. My uncle still tells tails of an old nag receiving a chilli in its posterior to give it pep on the way to mart. Two generations later and his grandson adorned with a string of letters from university declaring his expertise in technology, will step into a German technology mart and trade his heart out. He won’t have any chilli’s just his Irish charm and some great technology. Let’s hope he can bring hope some bacon.