This year's Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo was reinvigorated by a new venue. Attendees and other conference-goers got to enjoy balmy weather, the beautiful San Diego bay, and access to some of the industry's biggest movers and shakers. This year's conference also witnessed the launch of the Design Wars competition. Open to all attendees, this event gave participants the opportunity to test their engineering creativity and hands-on skills.
Because this was the first year of this event, the Design Wars project was kept simple. Most participants had to build a crystal radio from a kit. After proving the radio's operation, they then had to find clues on the show floor that related to the design. A few brave attendees even attempted to improve upon the basic design of the radio.
Nearly 40 technical professionals attended the Design Wars event, which took place during the second day of the conference. Prizes were awarded for fastest design times and for the most creative designs. These prizes were generously donated by Texas Instruments, IOGear, Elsevier Science and Technology books, Pacific Wireless, and Penton Media.
This year's conference also featured well-known industry dignitary, Dr. Henry Samueli, Chairman, CTO, and Co-Founder of Broadcom. Dr. Samueli delivered his keynote speech to an audience of nearly 200 conference-goers. His topic, "Wireless in Everything: Life in a Fully Connected World," was a timely theme that resounded repeatedly throughout the show's other offerings.
The second keynote address spotlighted Ronald Reedy, Founder, VP, CTO, and Director of Peregrine Semiconductor. In his talk, Mr. Reedy shared his thoughts on managing military, space, and commercial business applications for RFICs.
Aside from the keynote speeches, two panel sessions drew a large attendance at the show. The first one explored the growing market of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) equipment. Wind River Systems' Marco Thompson moderated this discussion. Here, the panelists discussed different parts of the IEEE 802.3af PoE standard. They focused on how Internet-based products, ranging from wireless access points (APs) and voice-over-IP (VoIP) phones, could be designed to conform to the standard.
The second panel was moderated by John Blyler, Wireless Systems Design's Senior Technology Editor. This panel examined the general direction of the wireless industry. Participants covered the industry playing field, as they ranged from analysts to manufacturers and R&D specialists. Given the economics of the past few years, global market issues and revenue-generating user applications were certainly recurrent themes. Yet almost everyone agreed that wireless is expanding into every aspect of our lives.
Another highlight of the Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo was the annual awards dinner. A variety of industry leaders were invited to this year's dinner, which was sponsored by Micron Technology. The staffs of both Wireless Systems Design and Microwaves & RF used this dinner as an opportunity to present their annual awards.
Although wireless had been caught by the semiconductor industry's slump, this year's conference and the show floor were bursting with innovation and excitement. Many guests and attendees agreed that wireless had "turned a corner." Next year, as the show returns to this beautiful San Diego location, there will hopefully be even more to celebrate.