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IMS 2014: Day 2 From an Applications Engineer Perspective

As is typically the case, at least from my observance in the last four years, the second day of the show proved to be the busiest. In the past, the second day of the show on Wednesday has been the longest day, with exhibit hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This year, there was a slight change of schedule, with the exhibit hours ending at 5:00 p.m. and an industry-hosted reception from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. I had previously attributed this to the value of the exhibit's only day pass for the longest day of the show. Since the second day once again proved to be the busiest, perhaps it just takes a little time for the folks at the show to get ramped up. I’m not sure that I can pinpoint another potential reason for the busier second day. Perhaps some of you as my readers may have some comments here.

Once again, there was a lot of interest in the gigasample ADC demos that we had in the Analog Devices booth. I must admit, this is the product line that I work in at Analog Devices, so I am a bit partial and maybe slightly biased. However, I noticed an increase in general booth traffic for the day over the previous day. Not being an expert on the other demos within our booth, such as a broadband transmitter with a DAC or a 44 GHz RF detector, my main exposure to these demos was in the preparation show meetings leading up to the IMS show, and then during our walk-through before the show started on the first day. In order to familiarize (and remind) everyone of the various demonstrations at the booth, there is a walk-through the first day where each one gives an overview of what he or she is demonstrating for the show. This helps everyone to be able to direct customers to the appropriate demo at the booth.

While on this subject, I’d say that I really enjoy the fellow ADI employees that we have in the booth each year. We generally have several folks returning each year, along with a few new faces that rotate in and out. It is great to see the familiar faces once again and meet the new ones. As much as it is a joy to meet with customers dropping by the booth to discuss our demonstrations, it is also great to interact with folks from within Analog Devices who I do not see on a daily basis. I guess I fit perfectly into the applications engineering role, because I am do not have the typically introverted engineer personality, but am rather much more extroverted.

Moving along, and back to the topic of the second day at IMS, the continued interest in the gigasample ADC offerings was very exciting. I continued to enjoy speaking with many customers about the new entries into this space that Analog Devices was demonstrating at the show. Many customers enjoyed the fact that, for the sample rates of these two ADCs, they have the highest available noise (SNR) and linearity (SFDR) performance. I once again discussed the possibilities of direct sampling from RF to baseband. I also found that many customers showed interest in the available digital downconverters (DDCs) within the two ADCs that offered the availability to decimate, translate, and filter the incoming RF signals to make this direct RF sampling easier to implement by reducing the amount of front-end analog circuitry necessary and easing some of the backend digital requirements in the FPGA. Let’s not dig too deeply here, since this particular blog is more about the show overall.

The day ended with an industry-hosted reception in the convention center lobby. This turned out to be a pleasant event with folks from the engineering community coming together to exchange pleasantries and have a little non-technical conversation (for the most part anyway). As engineers we always seem to find some point in the conversation where some neat technical detail just seems too interesting not to share. It may have been a new product on display at the show that would be really geared toward a new design idea that we have. It is just part of our nature to be technical, so that tendency generally finds a way to manifest itself in our conversations.

After the reception, it was off to the hotel to clean up a bit and head over to another company sponsored event for evening's entertainment. As an Analog Devices employee, I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation to the National Instruments and AWR customer appreciation event at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Part of the IMS show experience is the after-show entertainment in the evenings. Events such as this always prove to be fun. After a long day at the show it is nice to unwind. The event involved various bowling competitions with prizes, as well as many billiards tables to enjoy some friendly games. In addition, there were many tables where folks could once again have some nice conversations and relax.

I did not personally enter any of the bowling contests, but instead made my way over to the billiards tables and enjoyed a few games to start the evening. Later we moved along to bowling for just a bit before returning to the billiards tables to round out the evening. Unlike many of the folks in attendance, I decided to return to the hotel a bit early in order to prepare for a busy day on Thursday, which involved leaving right after the end of the show to return back home.

One thing that became quite obvious on the walk back to the hotel was the lack of businesses and restaurants close by the convention center. In past years, there have been quite a few of these nearby, which doesn’t seem to be the case in Tampa. I noticed this especially as I made the approximately one-mile walk back to the hotel… I did not pass a single person until I neared the hotel.

For a city of Tampa’s size, this was quite surprising. However, the city did play a friendly host to the IMS show, just not one with as much excitement as the last few years. Speaking of the city, I was pleasantly surprised at the weather on the day of demonstration set-up and the first day of the show. The humidity was not terribly high and the temperatures were moderate and in the lower 80s.

By the second day of the show (and again on the last day), the humidity was back to typical Florida standards and the temperature was back into the higher 80s, approaching 90 degrees. This made the walk to and from the convention center a bit more uncomfortable. At the end of the second day, however, I was pleased with the traffic and interest in our booth. I was happy to end the day on a positive note at a fun event. I was prepared to enjoy the last day of the show and be able to return home after another fruitful IMS show.

Stay tuned as I discuss the last day of the IMS show. It is the shortest day of the show and only lasts until 3:00 p.m. usually. Nevertheless, there usually seems to be some reasonable booth traffic in the morning hours to provide some good questions and conversations.

15 comments on “IMS 2014: Day 2 From an Applications Engineer Perspective

  1. SunitaT
    June 26, 2014

    Many customers enjoyed the fact that, for the sample rates of these two ADCs, they have the highest available noise (SNR) and linearity (SFDR) performance.

    With the above features ADCs offers excellent linearity. But how analog inputs are taken care to aquire 2 GHz of bandwidth?

  2. RedDerek
    June 26, 2014

    Nice daily post of IMS. Regarding your comment:

    I guess I fit perfectly into the applications engineering role, because I am do not have the typically introverted engineer personality, but am rather much more extroverted.

    The typical engineer tends to lack the social quality of an apps engineer. The Apps engineer needs to have that one extra quality – people skills. This primarily includes the communication skill as well. Working with customers around the world and with English as the second language, it takes a special quality to be able to relate to anyone – which involves getting to know a personality and conforming with them.

  3. jonharris0
    June 26, 2014

    Thanks for the comments! 

    @RedDerek You are right, typical engineers don't have great people skills.  In addition, it is an art to speak to folks with English as a second language.

    @Sunita You bring up a great point.  The bandwidth of the analog input circuitry has a large impact on the overall bandwidth.  There is a great article by one of my colleagues, Rob Reeder, that talks a little more about that.  You can find it at: http://electronicdesign.com/analog/design-wideband-rf-front-ends-gsps-converters

  4. samicksha
    June 27, 2014

    If we talk about SFDR, procedure is mainly reliable for ADCs. but in RF systems where output spurious signals are nonlinear function of input power, more precise measurement is required.

  5. yalanand
    June 27, 2014

    Engineers tend to have that introvert nature, maybe it is because they work with machines and here is nobody to talk to but control your own machine. Extroverts usually exist in jobs like marketing and journalism where people talk a lot to other people. Most engineers tend to work all day take few short breaks and in the evening leave for their homes. Everyday it's always same as the past days.

  6. SunitaT
    June 28, 2014

    @Jonathan, thanks for sharing the article. I found it very informative.

  7. geek
    June 29, 2014

    “Most engineers tend to work all day take few short breaks and in the evening leave for their homes. Everyday it's always same as the past days”

    @yalanand: I think that's more of a stereotype than anything else. Engineers are also human beings just like the rest of the people and I think they enjoy their lives equally well compared to other people of their age – be it whatever domain those people belong to. From what I have seen, many of my engineer friends have regular hangouts and have pretty colorful lives full of energy.

  8. geek
    June 29, 2014

    “Working with customers around the world and with English as the second language, it takes a special quality to be able to relate to anyone – which involves getting to know a personality and conforming with them.”

    @RedDerek: I think more than anything else, that's what makes a difference in a person's personality. The more you interact with people and the more diverse your social gatherings are, the more you tend to become social. And that applies to everyone regardless of whether they're engineer or marketeers. I have seen some of the marketeers who happen to be very introverted because they're mostly confined to their own workplaces.

  9. samicksha
    June 30, 2014

    Apart from introvert, i guess most of the markeeters are guided to chat on point to point business topic rather getting involved in someone personal discussion.

  10. jonharris0
    June 30, 2014

    Wow, what an interesting dialogue here.  It is really a stereotype to say that engineers are all introverts.  However, I'd say that most I've encountered prefer not to spend their time in front of customers, but instead focused on the task at hand – their design.  I'd also say that marketing is a good place for an extroverted engineer, if one has sales ability and understands market trends, pricing, strategy, etc…for the rest of us who like to remain a little more technical and less focused on dollars and cents there is application engineering.  I am a bit biased to this role as it is obviously my favorite role. 🙂

  11. Sachin
    June 30, 2014

    However, I'd say that most I've encountered prefer not to spend their time in front of customers, but instead focused on the task at hand

    @jonharris0, I agree with your opinion. I think its wrong to say that all engineers are introverts. Most of the engineers are hardworking and are more worried about their work and hence they seem engrossed in their work.

     

  12. Sachin
    June 30, 2014

    The more you interact with people and the more diverse your social gatherings are, the more you tend to become social. And that applies to everyone regardless of whether they're engineer or marketeers.

    @tzubair, I think many engineers doesn't like to socialize especially with engineers from other companies which are their competitors. They are wary of the fact that they might share some IP details unknowingly.

  13. geek
    June 30, 2014

    “, I think many engineers doesn't like to socialize especially with engineers from other companies which are their competitors. They are wary of the fact that they might share some IP details unknowingly.”

    @SachinEE: Why can't we look at it from a positive perspective and see how socializing can help engineers groom themselves and get to know about the latest technology and latest innovation that's happening in other companies. Socializing can easily lead to that.

  14. Davidled
    July 2, 2014

    Applilcation engineer 's job skill might be mixed with sales engineer who presents the product to customer in a very attractive way. Application engineer might collaborate with sales engineer to reach the goal.

  15. etnapowers
    July 2, 2014

    That's correct: according to me the collaboration between application engineer and sales people has to be profitable for both of these two roles. The application engineer can put in evidence the strengths and weaknesses of a product. The sales people can put in evidence the characteristics of the product, that may match the customer requirements. Comparing the data it is possible to define a roadmap for further products.

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