Celebrating Years of Service Online and Offline

Please enjoy IPC President Denny McGuirk’s March 1 Editorial from IPC Review

This April marks the fifteenth anniversary for IPC Technet and the tenth anniversary of the IPC APEX trade show. IPC Technet, our interactive list serve, was one of IPC’s earliest ventures on the (at the time) unknown Internet. IPC Vice President of International Relations David Bergman remembers that “at the time, we were answering technical questions by phone and fax. Al Sorkin, one of our committee chairs, was visiting IPC to convince us to get involved on the Internet. We talked about getting staff established on e-mail, registering a home page URL before someone swiped it and then Al told us about this new technology called a list serve where members could help each other by e-mail. Since the questions were technical, it seemed obvious to call it Technet. We implemented e-mail and the list serve simultaneously.” In 1995, as the Internet revolution began to take hold, our staff could not imagine the many ways the Web would allow us to better serve our members.

Now, in the era of Facebook and LinkedIn, IPC Technet continues to generate answers to help participants solve problems every day. But don’t let the e-mail based, seemingly low-tech interface fool you — the expertise can’t be replicated elsewhere. Unanimously, the participants have asked to stay in this e-mail based system. Without HTML or attachments, it isn’t blocked by company firewalls and it attracts almost no spam. Members find it efficient and easy to use on a smart phone or a slow Internet connection. If you’re looking for technical interchange online without the flash and the ads, take part in the original online community, IPC Technet.

On-site in Las Vegas, we’ll be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the IPC APEX trade show with a special focus on the exhibitors and attendees who have participated each year since 2000. Formed in response to exhibitor needs to cut cost and waste from their show expenses, IPC APEX joined with IPC Printed Circuits Expo in 2004 to become our industry’s “one place” to go to see new products and old friends.

Trade shows remain an exciting venue for buyers and sellers to meet. With a mix of exceptional educational content, the unique IPC standards development committees and the participation of all of the industry’s leading suppliers, IPC APEX EXPO™ provides visitors and exhibitors with a great value. While the media may wail about the passing of the trade show, attendees continue to count on them to see new products and compare offerings from different vendors by making one trip. Many attendees report that they’ve saved money by attending — either by combining what would be a series of trips to evaluate suppliers into one trip — or by finding new products or suppliers who helped them expand their capabilities or cut costs.

According to a June 2009 Tradeshow Week study, 89 percent of attendees and buyers consider conventions, trade shows and conferences to be an important part of their product sourcing and buying process. 87 percent agreed that these events are essential for comparing products and meeting suppliers in person. Interestingly, 50 percent believed that not attending key events could negatively impact future personal or organizational performance. Participants felt that not seeing all suppliers could cause “buying mistakes,” problems with not being able to compare staff quality at different suppliers, and missing out on show “deals and discounts.”

There’s still time to make plans to come to Las Vegas for the show. Catch up and keep up with the technology and innovations that can help you do your job better. And when you’re back, stay in touch with industry colleagues through IPC’s Technet.

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