The RF/microwave industry is always catching up, sometimes with bills and often with technology, such as millimeter-wave solutions for 5G wireless networks and Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) motor vehicles. But most often, the industry is catching up with people—who is where and what are they up to and, as we all get older, even who is still around. Traditionally, there has been no better place to catch up with people than at the annual IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS). This year, because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the IMS exhibition and symposium are scheduled in two versions: as a face-to-face gathering from June 7-10, 2021 in Atlanta, GA, and as online meetings from June 20-25, 2021. Both versions are worthwhile because of the people and the chance to meet or see again. Ironically, in the second version, all the catching-up will be done on the Internet, via computers and mobile devices that this industry helped launch decades ago.
Prior to the pandemic, the IMS was always one of the social highlights of the year, scheduled for the middle of the year in a site that moved each year back and cross the country. Atlanta has proven to be a popular site, with thousands of company representatives and industry members gathering in years past to describe new technologies and show off new products. The exhibition floor was always the place to see something new. Although this is an industry where secrets are hard to keep, it was always those unknown new products that would make the biggest “splash” on the show floor, from the smallest mixer to the most expensive vector network analyzer (VNA). Those old enough will remember the IMS shows in which designers from Wiltron (now Anritsu) and HP (once Agilent Technologies and now Keysight Technologies) would “battle” on the show floor with new instruments, much to the benefit of RF/microwave component and system designers looking for better measurement solutions. And it was the people at these booths and many other companies who made these technology competitions like sporting events, always fair and with honor, and to be enjoyed on the show floor.
The annual IEEE IMS is a tremendous tradition, whether one participates face to face in Atlanta or later in the month online. It is a way to share thoughts, wild ideas, and mainly to let others know you are still part of this industry and not going away anytime soon. Stay safe on the way and we at Leger Communications look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, whether in Atlanta or online in June. I’ll be the one with the bright green mask.