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IWCS Hosts a Successful 72nd Annual IWCS Cable & Connectivity Industry Forum in Orlando

IWCS welcomed attendees to the 72nd annual Cable & Connectivity Industry Forum, the premier event for new technologies in cable and connectivity products, processes, and applications, in Orlando, Florida, USA on September 17–20, 2023. Despite international travel complications lingering from the recent Coronavirus pandemic, attendees representing 25 countries across five continents were able to gather at the Gaylord Palms in sunny Orlando, Florida for four full days of networking and learning.

The Forum featured important topics including, but not limited to: sustainable cable materials, innovative cable modeling/design, fiber optic manufacturing/applications, copper cable design/performance, cable installation, network reliability, and fault-managed power. Attendees shared and absorbed cutting-edge research, technologies, and products that are helping our industry advance nearly all aspects of our connected global society. As IWCS CEO David Kiddoo exclaimed during his welcome remarks, “Our industry is now recognized to be mission-critical to advancing a sustainable and efficient society. The outstanding content in this year’s Forum covers the convergence of power and data, along with the emerging artificial intelligence technologies to support both manufacturing and human growth.” Similar sentiments regarding our mission-critical industry were echoed by Luis Suau of Sinclair Digital Services during the Executive Session. “The things we can do because of advanced connectivity is through the roof,” said Suau.

The event kicked off on Sunday with seven Professional Development Courses on the topics of materials, optical fiber, copper, and extrusion. The courses were well attended by students and professionals who wrote copious notes and asked the experienced instructors engaging questions. IWCS was honored to host a group of students from the University of Central Florida’s College of Optics and Photonics for the two optical fiber Professional Development Courses. The students returned for the following days of the Forum to experience technical presentations, meet with exhibitors, and network with industry professionals. Alejandro Lopez Zelaya, an undergraduate student studying photonic science and engineering who attended the Forum reported, “The IWCS Cable & Connectivity Industry Forum provides a great opportunity for engineering students like myself to learn more about this special industry.”

The highly anticipated Executive Session did not disappoint. Featuring award-winning economist, Robert Fry of Robert Fry Economics, Monday’s Executive Session included six presentations related to opportunities, risks, and advancements impacting our industry on a global scale. Chenfei Wang of CRU shared an overview of market conditions for optical and metallic wire and cable. Stephen Eaves, the founder of Digital Electricity and CEO of VoltServer, and Luis Suau of Sinclair Digital Services discussed a novel approach and case studies to manage and distribute electricity. The technology discussed was recently adopted into the National Electrical Code® in 2023 under the generic industry term “Fault Managed Power Systems” or FMPS. Concluding this compelling session, Scott Klososky, founder of Future Point of View, shared with the audience tips to lead a successful business in the world of AI and electrification. Klososky declared, “How well you can use technology can define how successful you are or are not.”

After a coffee and networking break sponsored by Fiber Optic Center, attendees gathered for the Plenary Luncheon which was followed by opening remarks, recognition, and 2022 technical paper awards presented by IWCS representatives David Kiddoo, CEO; Ben Waite, Vice-chairman of the Board, and Bianca Hydutsky, 2023 Symposium Committee Chair. Scott Klososky took the stage again to share a Keynote presentation titled, “Disruptive Opportunities: Building the Ambient Intelligence Backbone.” Klososky held attendees’ attention by discussing radical ideas such as the inversion of jobs and robots that are readily changing due to society’s reliance on artificial intelligence and robotics.

After the Keynote, attendees moved to the Supplier Exhibition™, which was filled with more than 80 exhibitors, many of which are long-time exhibitors at IWCS, as well as the following 10 new participating companies: AdvanSix, Aurora Plastics, Daytone, Delesun, Mathiasen Machinery, Orion, Roblon US, TDC, Wacker Chemical Corporation, and Xaloy. Supplier Spotlight Presentations, which took place on a stage in the exhibition hall, allowed 14 exhibitors to share their company’s newest developments with the audience on Monday afternoon. Many of the suppliers already have reserved their booth for the 2024 edition of the IWCS Forum.

Exhibitors shared sentiments about enjoying the opportunity to not only exhibit their products and services to attendees but also to efficiently organize on-site meetings with current and prospective customers from all around the world. As Allan Marconi, business development manager at SACO AEI Polymers explained, “In a matter of days we are able to accomplish what would otherwise take months to deliver thanks to IWCS organizing industry leaders together in a common place.” Similarly, Ed Martins, vice president, industrial & consumer at Web Industries reported, “At IWCS 2023, Web Industries’ Wire & Cable team networked with representatives from over 20 cable and telecom companies.” Martins continued, “This is a valuable opportunity for our team.” The Supplier Exhibition™ remained open on Monday and Tuesday.

A “Havana-Nights”-themed welcome reception, complete with music, libations, cigar rolling, games, and food concluded Monday’s program. Once again, attendees displayed their excitement to catch up with one another by sharing drinks, laughter, and fun.

The Technical Symposium, which is the cornerstone of the event, featured over 80 technical research papers and posters, covering technologies related to cable design, applications, standards, manufacturing, and installation. Authors had the opportunity to present their research in one of 14 technical sessions categorized by topics or as poster displays. As always, audience members had the opportunity to ask the presenting authors questions about their research at the end of each presentation.

Further strengthening the Technical Symposium, IWCS added three special sessions on the topics of industry sustainability and emerging technologies to this year’s program. The Chemours Company sponsored a panel discussion titled, “Environmental Sustainability and Recycling for the Cable & Connectivity Industry.” Featuring expert panelists from The Chemours Company, Copperweld Bimetallics, Fluoropolymer Resources USA, Superior Essex Communications, and the Vinyl Sustainability Council, this panel discussion highlighted the importance of adopting sustainable practices as our industry adapts to support the growing demand for increased connectivity.

The sustainability message carried through to the “Renewable/Offshore Energy” special session sponsored by Prysmian Powerlink. Brian Risch, R&D materials technology manager of Prysmian Group, and Richard Ellis, principal of Cable Materials Inc., took the stage to review technological advancements that allow cables and connectors to support the unprecedented growth currently taking place in the renewable energy market.

Expanding upon “Digital Electricity” from the Executive Session, as well as details discussed in the “Codes & Standards” technical session, UL Solutions sponsored a panel discussion titled, “Fault-Managed Power— A Safe and Disruptive Innovation for Powering the Future.” Panelists from Belden, Superior Essex, UL Solutions, and VoltServer shared their perspectives on technical standards and safety listing requirements for the new Class 4 fault-managed power systems and cables. Attendees asked the panelists thought-provoking questions about this novel class of cable, which was added to the National Electrical Code® in 2023.

IWCS deeply appreciates the support from its annual sponsors, Board of Directors, Symposium Committee, exhibitors, authors, presenters, and attendees who are critical to the success of the Cable & Connectivity Industry Forum. The next IWCS Forum will take place Monday, October 14–Thursday, October 17, 2024, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island. IWCS encourages international travelers to secure a valid VISA for USA travel as wait times for VISA applications may be lengthy. Details will be announced on the IWCS website and through the IWCS e-newsletter in the coming months. Click here to sign up to receive the IWCS e-newsletter.

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