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At the IoT Solutions World Congress I learned about Li-Fi—using light to transfer data. Other than attending shows, working with groups such as ASME or the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) are great ways to stay educated in the industry.

The Importance of Expos

Networking, knowledge, and know-how in the age of information make expo shows more.

This year’s Pacific Design and Manufacturing Expo is taking place in Anaheim Feb. 5-7, along with the MD&M Medical Expo, Pack West, ATX’s automation technology expo, and Plastec West. It’s a combined extravaganza that’s difficult to cover due to its sheer size. Still, with technology and innovation moving faster than ever before, shows like this can help offer a glimpse on what’s happening now, and what’s to come.

These events are always evolving and have something new to offer. While the Center Stage, Tech Theater, 3D Printing Innovation Summit, and Golden Mousetrap Awards will still be present, this year has some interesting new touches. For one, attendees can watch exhibitors present their latest products in a series of live, interactive 15-minute product demos offering a closer look at new improved solutions in the new Product Showcase.

There will also be what the website describes as a design engineer’s playground. An all-new hub featuring interactive design activities and prototyping workshops led by world renowned design companies in the new Design Dome. Overall each of the events have had strong trends of IoT and automation. We will probably see an increase of connected devices at this year’s event.

However, covering the entire connected world can be difficult. Companies such as Bosch Rexroth have several connected solutions while offering an open IoT gateway that can work with new or existing products from multiple vendors. Not only will there probably be a trend toward more open-source products, but also more companies working together for large scalable IoT and automation solutions.

The IoT is also helping to simplify common distractions such as too many e-mails or meeting that may or may not be valuable to you specifically. Products like ActiveCockpit from Bosch Rexroth work like a digital whiteboard to keep people connected without having to attend every meeting or be left behind if they missed important information. IoT and digital manufacturing is more than connected devices.

Dassault Systemes seems to be digitizing and streamlining everything from basic CAD to the human body. Its SIMULIA software and others have replicated humans digitally so they are able to design implants, new device, or try new drugs on digital patients to streamline testing and FDA approval.

Finally, digital manufacturing is more than intangible products and software. 3D printing is continuing to grow, and each show has some type of 3D printing presented. The Design and Manufacturing show is putting a spotlight on the two manufacturing mainstays making businesses more flexible, agile, collaborative, and lean. The smart manufacturing and 3D printing focus at this event features cutting-edge suppliers, more than 30 hours of free Expo education, and deep-dive conference sessions.

With the speed of manufacturing today, knowledge on current and new technology could be the difference of having a competitive edge or wondering why your company can’t keep up. Technology at shows such as the Design and Manufacturing Expo display opportunities to improve efficiency and processes, reduce downtime, lower costs, and make sure that you have the best solutions for your company.

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