Last month, Avnet Kopp hosted a pair of technology days featuring talks by specialists from within the company’s own ranks as well as a number of its suppliers.
Held at Blandford Manor in a quiet suburb of Johannesburg, the event attracted the brightest minds from many of South Africa’s leading electronics designers and manufacturers.
Although Avnet Kopp has hosted many single-supplier seminars in the past, this marked the first time the company has drawn specialists from several of its suppliers together for a single event. Commenting on the motivation behind this, technical director Arnold Perumal said: “Engineering time is just too precious nowadays for engineers to be going to seminars held by individual suppliers. So to maximise efficiency we decided to host a multi-supplier event where engineers could spend two days with at least nine different suppliers of their choice, and get technical training rather than listen to mundane Powerpoint presentations.”
Covering the major themes of the Internet of Things, security and building automation, connectivity and embedded technology, international speakers were flown in to represent Analog Devices, Digi, Maxim Integrated, Murata, NXP Semiconductors, Telit and Texas Instruments. Quectel’s South African sales manager also presented, as did an Avnet Kopp field applications engineer covering Windows Embedded.
Topics covered were diverse, ranging from power supplies and motor control solutions, through interface and mixed-signal ICs, microcontrollers, security and authentication practises, machine-to-machine (M2M), RFID and wireless protocols, as well as a South African perspective on the future of 2G networks during the ongoing transition to 3G, specifically as it applies to the M2M sphere.
Delegates expressed their appreciation for how the seminars concentrated on technologies rather than resorting to marketing presentations. They clearly relished the opportunity to learn from experts in their respective fields, and the small venues and focused topics encouraged interactive engagement between them and the presenters.
The presence of visitors from the overseas headquarters of some of the world’s biggest and most respected electronics component and system suppliers left those attending the event in no doubt of the important role they, as South Africa’s leading innovators, play on the global stage, and the esteem in which this country’s engineers continue to be held.
FAEs from Avnet Kopp were also pulled in from the company’s various locales, to provide support for the international speakers during the seminars, and to ensure that attendees had a familiar face to turn to for everything from local pricing to technical support.
After the dust had settled, Perumal reflected on the lessons learnt from the event. “The logistics behind organising an event like this are extremely challenging, but we were exceptionally impressed by the professionalism of our suppliers and their commitment to the event.”
The costs involved in putting an event like this together may be high, but Perumal considers it money well spent as it offers benefits over simply exhibiting at industry expos. Asked whether the industry can expect more multi-supplier technology days from Avnet Kopp in the future, his answer is an unhesitating “definitely!”
Prize draws took place on both days of the event. Congratulations to Andre de Bruyn from Hydro Doors and Paul Fidler from Micro Designs, who won gift vouchers sponsored by Dataweek; and Francois Snyman from Teqcon and Werner Signer from Werni Electronics, who each won a Digi Wi-Fi cloud kit.
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