joe-d-horizontal_2Every two years in Munich in November, Messe München puts on a trade show for the global electronics industry with no equal—Electronica. I expect to see all the major electronics companies at this show, from chip makers to test equipment vendors and everything in between.

I’ll be flying out on a Saturday evening from New York and landing in Munich the following day, with a brief stopover in Berlin. Sunday is the time to savor German cooking and beer or wine. Electronica doesn’t start until Tuesday, but there’s something to do on Monday as well.

Forums and Discussions

The Electronica Automotive Conference gets into full swing on Monday, Nov. 12, with 10 sessions presented by company spokespeople from the likes of Robert Bosch, NXP, and Freescale. Embedded Platforms and Wireless Congress 2012, two other conferences running at Electronica, will begin that Wednesday.

Electronica also has a number of forums on the automotive, embedded, and PCB industries that run throughout the show, as well as for Electronica and its exhibitors. These events take place in specific halls. To find a map of the halls and what’s going on in each, just point your browser to www.electronica.de/en/home/visitor/hall-assignments.

On the map, note the red dotted lines. Electronica is huge and you can get tired walking from a booth in one hall to another in a far away hall. Although I try to group my appointments in particular halls, it doesn’t always work out. The dotted lines represent “people movers” that can get you from one side of the building to the other.

I’ll be at the CEO roundtable on “Semiconductor Solutions for Smart-Grid Challenges” on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Hall A3, Stand 242. It will bring together Carlo Bozotti, president and CEO of STMicroelectronics; Rick Clemmer, president and CEO of NXP Semiconductors; Gregg A. Lowe, president and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor; and Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies. I expect a lively discussion.

I also expect to have wall-to-wall appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the show. Many of the companies that I’ll be visiting with I know very well from the States. But in Munich, I usually get to see their European staffs. Of course, companies such as STMicroelectronics and Infineon are based in Europe, so this is a good opportunity to visit with them.

When I said “everything in between” earlier, I meant it. This is the only trade show I know of that attracts components companies, such as manufacturers of connectors, power supplies, passives, displays, and switches. These companies aren’t hiding away in 10- by 10-ft booths either. Many of them have lavish booths, something you might not expect.

Outside The Show

Electronica is in Munich, but it’s not in the heart of the city, where most people stay. In the morning, you have to ride the subway to the show. If you don’t get an early start, you’re very likely to be squeezing yourself into one of the commuter trains. I get a kick out of the expressions of the “regular” riders, who probably don’t have to deal with crowds on a normal day. Getting back in the evening is the same.

Some of the companies hold press conferences in the evening and offer the press a lavish buffet with German wine to go with it. The press also gets a chance to see some of the fancier hotels in Munich, as companies spare no expense to get their message out. Yes, writing for Electronic Design does have its perks.

Video Coverage

There’s one last thing I’d like to mention. Our editorial staff at Electronica—Paul Whytock, European Editor-In-Chief; Sally Ward-Foxton, European Associate Editor; and I—expect to be shooting videos at the show for EngineeringTV. Typically, these videos focus on the new products and technologies we see at the show. We’ll also be doing some video commentary to give viewers a better idea of what we think is important at the show. But there will also be a fun video, too.

In 2010, I interviewed a Marilyn Monroe impersonator at the Digi-Key booth. Her job was to sit in a brand new Chevrolet Corvette, while visitors got a chance to win the Corvette or one of thousands of soccer balls or other prizes.

This video drew the most traffic of all the videos we posted from Electronica in 2010. I expect to see Marilyn again, so be sure to watch for the video.