The electronic engineering community flocked to the Cape Town International Convention Centre in strong support of the National Electronics Western Cape exhibition on the 8th of May.
[Editor’s note: Subsequent to this article going to print, some of the exhibitors I have spoken to have not been as positive about overall attendance figures as those I spoke to while at the show. It seems my impression of high attendance may have been skewed by the fact that I was at the show during the busiest part of the day, so take what you are about to read with a pinch of salt. It is, however, safe to say that the overall feeling was that attendance was 'better than expected'. You can also read the event organiser’s report here.]
At the time of writing, attendance figures were not yet available from the organisers (NEW Events of the UK, in collaboration with ADEC) but there was certainly a lot more buzz than there was at last year’s Johannesburg event, with a nearly constant stream of feet through the door (other than the usual late-afternoon slump) and representatives of the exhibiting companies kept busy attending to visitors.
It is hard to know whether the strong attendance is an indication of the rude health of the Western Cape electronic engineering scene, whether the region has been starved of such events to attend, or whether it is a sign of a groundswell of optimism in the South African electronic engineering industry at large (fingers crossed!) – hopefully the organisers’ post-show report provides some insight.
Over and above the assortment of products on display, some exhibitors had live technology demonstrations on their stands. These included Microchip’s new BodyCom technology which uses the human body as a communication channel, and its GestIC 3D gesture recognition and tracking tech.
On Avnet Kopp’s stand was a demo of a simulated home automation system running on Digi’s ConnectCore for i.MX53 JumpStart Kit for Android, as well as a demo of a Texas Instruments motor control solution. Most conspicuous of all was a ‘multicopter’ flying around and taking HD photos, which I discovered to be the work of the folks at Cirtech – made using their own PCBs of course! Apologies if I have missed covering anybody’s demo.
Run in conjunction with the expo was a series of generally well attended presentations such as Dennis Walden’s (chairman of ADEC) ‘The state of the art within the electronic components market in South Africa’, Michael Nel’s (Avnet Kopp) ‘Fundamentals of LED lighting design’, Manuel Colasse’s (CEO of COLASSE SA) ‘Integrated light engines and distributed light control systems’, and Nechan Naicker (managing director of EDA Technologies) and Andy Liu’s (sales director of NCAB Group) ‘Choosing the most suitable surface finish for your PCB’.
I must stress that the following is all guesswork on my part and has in no way been hinted at by the organisers, but I think it is safe to say that the unanimous positive response of the exhibitors I spoke to means there will be another edition of the Western Cape show in the future – my guess would be one every second year, alternating with Johannesburg. Durbs, if you are good, who knows, you might even see one coming your way.
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