IWCS, producer of the International Cable & Connectivity Symposium, the premier venue for new technologies in cable and connectivity products, processes and applications, welcomed attendees to the 67thannual conference in Providence, Rhode Island, on October 14 through 17, 2018.

IWCS 2018 in Providence had record-breaking attendance in all aspects of the Conference. Overall registration increased by more than 20%, relative to the average of recent years. Participation in the Professional Development Courses was almost double the average of previous years. The Supplier Exhibition, with 105 Exhibitors, attracted an increased attendance of over 45% greater than the average of previous years.

IWCS 2018 Plenary

“This year’s IWCS in Providence exceeded all of our expectations,” said Scott H. Wasserman, PhD., of The Dow Chemical Company and Chairman of IWCS. “The energy and enthusiasm for our program was unmistakable and the presence of new people and companies was great for us to see. The strength of our technical program and professional development courses drew consistently large audiences and we are optimistic that the momentum we see here will lead to similarly large audiences in Shanghai, China, and Charlotte, NC, next year.” Wasserman continued, “We are especially proud of the dynamic and effective presence that we have on our various social media platforms and expect that those efforts, as well as our Webinar series, will provide an exceptional number of touch points for our technical audience to get engaged and stay engaged with us throughout the year.”

IWCS 2018 Providence had over 160 unique presentations, along with 8 Professional Development Courses led by industry experts over the 4 days of the Symposium. These included 29 Poster Papers and 12 New Product Introductions. The conference also offered a 2-day Supplier Exhibition with 105 exhibitors. The exhibits included exciting new innovations to support the growth and advancements in the cable and connectivity industry.

Technical Session topics for IWCS 2018 included:

  • Optical Cable Manufacturing; Advances in Optical Connectivity
  • Copper Cable – Design, Model, &Test
  • Long Haul and Submarine Network Systems
  • Optical Fiber Manufacturing Technologies
  • Extrusion and Processing Technology
  • Microcable Design, Installation & Process
  • and many more.

The Executive Session, a perennial highlight, included CRU’s Richard Mack providing an overview of the global markets for metallic wire and cable as well as optical fiber markets. John D’Ambrosia, president of the Ethernet Alliance, discussed Ethernet Technologies and Robert Fry, Robert Fry Economics, LLC, gave an economic outlook. Robert Canny, TE Wire and Cable, led the Executive Panel Session, which included a lively discussion between Rich Baca, Microsoft; John D’Ambrosia, Ethernet Alliance; Peter Jones, Cisco Systems; and Michael Render, Fiber Broadband Association. Presenters and attendees came from 27 countries with 80% of attendees from the Americas, while Europe and Asia each contributed over 9% of the attendees.

IWCS Exec Track Panel 02crp

“This conference gave attendees a unique opportunity to gain insight from top engineers, researchers and executives from the cabling and connectivity industry,” mentioned David B. Kiddoo, CEO/Director of IWCS. “Of great interest and importance is that over 33% of our attendees this year indicated that they were attending the IWCS Cable & Connectivity Symposium for the very first time and greater than 30% indicated that they were under 40 years of age.” Kiddoo added, “This certainly bodes well for the prospects of our industry and of our IWCS events in the future.”

The Plenary Keynote Speaker was Rich Baca, Microsoft Azure senior optics hardware engineer, who presented an insightful vision on the Future Technology Trends and their Impact on Data Center and Network Connectivity. Rich described many of the drivers for more data / bandwidth, including connected cars and the use of Artificial Intelligence in classroom education. At the Plenary Session, Kiddoo mentioned that for the third year IWCS is producing the UL and IWCS China 2019 Cable & Connectivity Symposium, to be held March 25-27, 2019, at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre.

“This dynamic conference has rapidly become recognized by the Chinese cabling & connectivity industry as the premier technology event in China, supported and sponsored by many regional stakeholders and trade associations,” he stated.

L.F. Lai, VP and general manager of UL's Wire and Cable division spoke more about it at the Plenary Session, encouraging companies to present and mentioning the benefits for attendees. The Call for Papers is still underway and abstracts can still be submitted through the www.ulandiwcschina.org website. This regional conference has its own websites in both English and Chinese, which are also linked from the IWCS main website.

Always a highlight of the Plenary Session was there cognition for the best papers and presenters of the prior year, presented by Daniel Winkler, Chairman, IWCS Symposium Committee, LEONI Cable Inc., Rochester, Michigan, USA. The Jack Spergel Memorial Award for Outstanding Technical Paper on “Low-Loss MM MPO Connectors under EF Launched Power Condition (Theoretical Simulation and Experimental Results)” was presented to co-authors Dr. Toshiaki Satake, Sharon Lutz, Steven Chuang, Dr. Ke Wang and Mike Hughes of US Conec Ltd., Hickory, North Carolina, USA. The Outstanding Poster Paper on “Optimization of 12 Core MCF with Hexagonal Close-Packed Structure” was presented to co-authors Ryuichi Sugizaki, Koichi Maeda and Kohei Kawasaki of Furukawa Electric, Ichihara, Chiba, Japan and Dr. Rasmus Vincentz Jensen and Dr. Bera Pálsdóttir, OFS Denmark, Brøndby, Denmark. The Kitts-Kingsley Award for Best Presentation was given to Dr. Kirsten Langfeld of Corning Optical Communications GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin, Germany, for “Investigation of Reliability of the Test for Assessing Reaction to Fire of Cables According to CPR”.IWCS Board Chairman Scott Wasserman honored Dr. Kazuyuki Shiraki of NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories, Ibaraki, Japan, a retiring member of the IWCS Board of Directors and John R. Sach of Prysmian Group, Lexington, South Carolina, USA, a retiring member of the Symposium Committee who had previously served on the Board.

Pat Hudak, IWCS Operations Manager for 27 years, was paid tribute for her exemplary service to the organization. “Pat has been the foundation of IWCS and the driving force to make each Symposium happen,” said Kiddoo. “While Pat will be missed by all of us, she has left us with a legacy of excellence that we will work hard to fulfill.” Michele Richardson, Hudak’s daughter who has worked in onsite AV support every conference since 1992 is also retiring and was thanked for her service.

Twelve recipients of the student scholarship awards for the 2018/2019 academic year were also acknowledged at the plenary session. Contributions toward the scholarships came from Cable Components Group, the Wire & Cable Industry Suppliers Association (WCISA), The Christopher Kenneth Eoll Memorial Endowment, and the Wire Association International (WAI).

A new Symposium Committee member added in 2018 is Brian G. Risch, Materials Technology Manager for Prysmian Telecom North America.

The IWCS 2019 Cable & Connectivity Symposium will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA on September 29 –October 2, 2019. Information can be found on www.iwcs.org. The UL and IWCS China 2019 Cable &Connectivity Symposium will be held in Shanghai, China on March 25-27, 2019 at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre and information can be found on the English website www.ulandiwcschina.org, which has a link to the website in Simplified Chinese.