One telling sign of the automotive electrical and electronics industry slowdown last year was a steep drop in marketing efforts by component, software and system suppliers. Companies that sponsored major events for customers and press or were otherwise highly visible two years ago had relatively little to say in 2009. That didn’t mean the companies were idle, of course; only that corporate belts needed tightening.
Now that the automotive industry is slowly starting to recover (knock on wood), there may be more company-sponsored, market-related events along the lines of Mentor Graphics’ Integrated Electrical Solutions Forum (IESF), a free event on Thursday, March 18, at the Hyatt Dearborn hotel in Dearborn, Michigan (register at www.mentor.com/go/iesf).
No matter how thoroughly our gadgets keep us connected, there’s still tremendous value in face-to-face contact. Gatherings like IESF typically include keynote sessions, technical problem-solving seminars, and the chance to see old friends or make new contacts during networking breaks where corporate partners have set up exhibits.
One of the high points of IESF for me will be a presentation by Paul Hansen, founder and editor of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics, the leading analyst publication in the automotive EE industry. I’m also looking forward to hearing John Antilla, operations program manager, systems & components, at Chrysler. He’ll provide an OEM perspective on the challenges of automotive electrical complexity.
A decade or so from now we’ll look back on this period in automotive history as a time of transition – from pistons and gears to electronics and software. Ian Wright, founder of a Silicon Valley startup called Wrightspeed, will tackle that topic. Wright’s firm has built an electric car said to be able to go from 0 to 60 in three seconds.
If you’re involved in automotive application development and are anywhere near Dearborn on March 18, don’t miss IESF.