The biennial’s show attendance and scale remain stellar, but the attention was on the next generation of miniature packages.

At first blush, the biennial Productronica trade show in November looked eerily similar to the 2011 event. The attendance and number of exhibitors were similar in numbers to years’ past, and several exhibitors even opted for the same booth locations as in 2011.

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New low-loss, optically stable materials can be manufactured using conventional PCB methods.

From cloud hosting to streaming mobile apps, the flow of data is exploding worldwide. According to Cisco’s most recent Global Visual Networking Index, global IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% from 2012 to 2017. Indeed, annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte threshold (1.4 zettabytes) by the end of 2017, reports Cisco. That is the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made crossing global IP networks every 3 minutes.

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Want a quick response to the PCB assembly RFQ? Submit the full package of details.

Design projects that are actually completed with time to spare are few.  We do what we can, but breaking new ground invariably uncovers a few snakes in the brush, and dealing with them takes time. That means that the next step – production ramp – starts behind schedule. At that point you need to get assembly quotes back ASAP so a choice can be made and the trigger pulled to get product flowing.

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MassChallenge, a not-for-profit accelerator program, aims to “create a bigger pie” by helping innovators get to market.

In a 27,000 sq. ft. office on the 14th floor of a Boston Harbor high rise, scores of innovators in residence toil away, trying to make their dreams reality. Four quadrants of cubicles form the basic layout, abutted by casual open meeting areas, a compact soundproof recording studio, and a galley kitchen. The walls are covered in encouraging aphorisms such as “What it takes” and “Take it until you make it.”

On an otherwise quiet Friday morning in October, a handful of residents listened intently to a series of talks on finding revenue sources. Among them was a team of advisors to the Mayor of London, dispatched to get a handle on the program in hopes of launching their own.

The program, in this case, is MassChallenge, a global accelerator program built around an annual competition whereby startups are graded, winnowed, trained and ultimately compete for no-strings-attached funding.

Now entering its fifth year, MassChallenge is embarking on a new expansion platform, even as it aids hundreds of small firms trying to beat the odds and make a difference in the software and hardware fields. It’s a startup for startups.

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A look back at friends and colleagues who left us in 2013.

Anyone who has walked through what used to be called a stereo store over the past 50 years has at some time no doubt heard music blaring from a Kenwood or Bose speaker. Bill Kasuga, who cofounded the latter, and Dr. Amar Bose, the genius behind the eponymously named Bose Corp, both left us this year, though their companies live on.

Other significant inventors who passed away were Dr. John E. Karlin, the Bell Labs engineer who designed the first touchtone phone keypad, and Gunter Erdmann, who held 13 patents for electronics materials and solder printing.

This year was particularly sad for the staff of UP Media, as we lost one of our own, Jerry Murray. Murray, the longtime West Coast editor for Circuits Assembly and PC FAB, passed away Jan. 13.

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Who says a Tier IV EMS can’t have the foresight, and follow-through, of the big players?

Small tier EMS companies face many challenges, not the least of which is the ability to attract good workers and the access to capital to stay competitive.

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