June is usually a good time to conduct a midyear assessment, not only of your company's business but of your personal goals. Returning to work from the annual IEEE Microwave Theory & Techniques Society's (MTT-S) International Microwave Symposium (IMS) makes it all the easier to evaluate those goals, especially after so many tales of fortune and woe from the IMS exhibition floor.
There are many shows of interest to the RF/microwave community, especially in military areas and in some growing markets like medical electronics. But no one show signals the midpoint of the calendar like the IMSeven when the show occurs in May as did this one.
Of course, companies that didn't attend the show can also review their midyear "report cards," without the influence of hearsay from friends and competitors. But having all those inputs from the show floor, of which companies are partnering and which are making deals, makes it all the more interesting. The very fact that June has come so quickly is usually shock enough for most business managers to review budgets and sales goals, and to make projections for the second half of the year.
However, because of the strong dependence on military business, any small or mid-sized company's bad first half can be completely put behind them by one or two orders from a major contractor. One of the lessons that this industry has long taught is to "stay in the game" or continue to bid on those contracts even after enduring a lackluster first half of the year.
This industry also has a growing market in high-frequency electronics for Homeland Security applications, as detailed in the news story on p. 46. Although many of the applications are domestic, unlike "pure" military applications, the requirements for Homeland Security business are remarkably similar to certain parts of traditional military business. In some cases, such as cellular and electronic-bomb-trigger jammers, the electronic solutions being sought by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are to undo the capabilities of electronic devices developed by this same industry for commercial use.
In a strange way, some business opportunities in Homeland Security are self-created, jamming cell phones or detecting RF signals as part of surveillance or border patrols. In a perfect world, the technology would be used for only benign purposes. But in this world, there is often a need to provide the means of protecting ourselves from our own technologies.