Boston, which was incorporated in 1822, is one of America's oldest cities. Its sites are quite varied, as they range from historic places like Faneuil Hall and Chinatown to the New England Aquarium. A culturally diverse mix of dining options also has emerged in Boston, although all of New England is known for seafood. From June 7 to the 12, the city's sites and restaurants will be enjoyed by attendees of this year's International Microwave Symposium or IMS, which will be located at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. For the sixth time in the show's history, RF and microwave engineers and other industry folks will be convening in Boston to hear the excellent papers chosen by the IEEE Microwave Theory & Techniques Society (MTT-S), see the newest products and technology innovations on the exhibition floor, and catch up with old friends.
As noted by this year's General Chair and Director of RF Micro Devices' Boston Design Center, Fred Schindler, this year's schedule deviates a bit from that of former years. (To download the program book, visit www.ims2009.org.) For example, the IMS Plenary Session will be held Monday evening prior to the reception. Schindler notes that this change will hopefully allow more people to attend the session. This year's keynote speaker, Nokia Research Center's Petteri Alinikula, will speak on "Innovating Openly in Wireless." As the wireless industry transitions from telecommunications toward the convergence of mobility and the Internet, the center believes that open innovation will resolve the resulting interdisciplinary challenges.
Another unique aspect of this year's show is the free "Exhibit Only" registration offer for Wednesday afternoon. An industry-hosted reception on the exhibit-hall floor will follow. These events will be capped off by the MTT Society Awards Banquet featuring the technologist, educator, and futurist Dr. David Thornburg. This year also features a Historical Exhibit, which will spotlight developments like the first commercial and consumer microwave oven from Raytheon.
The backbone of IMS is the strength of its technical papers and presentations. This year, 868 papers were submitted and 430 were accepted294 as oral papers and 136 as interactive forum papers. The technical program is complemented by 30 workshops, five short courses, five panel sessions, and one rump session. The technical content is divided into four tracks: Microwave Modeling, Active Components, Passive Components, and Microwave Systems. Adding to these offerings is the Student Paper Competition, which has grown into one of the symposium's larger events.
Of course, Microwave Week also includes the RFIC Symposium and Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG) Conference. This year's RFIC Symposium runs from June 7 to 9. At Sunday night's Plenary Session, the University of Surrey's Christopher Snowden will discuss "Cost-Effective Semiconductor Technologies for RF and Microwave Applications" while Alien Technology Corp.'s George W. Everhart will examine "Real-World RFID Deployments: What Makes Them Work." The symposium's technical program includes 25 oral presentation sessions, an interactive forum, and two lunchtime panel sessions. The 73rd ARFTG Conference will be held on Friday, June 12. To cover the theme of "Practical Applications of Nonlinear Measurements," the conference includes technical presentations, an interactive forum, and an exhibition. There also will be a joint ARFTG/IMS workshop on Wednesday titled, "Advanced Measurement Techniques, Adapted for Different Memory Effects."
The IMS Exhibit is the largest RF and microwave exhibition in the world. This year, more than 500 exhibitors will spotlight products and services for wireless communications, radar, RF technologies, high-frequency semiconductors, electromagnetic devices, commercial and military RF, and microwave and millimeter-wave electronics and applications. In the test and measurement sector in particular, many breakthroughs are timed for IMS each year. Darren McCarthy, Technical Marketing Manager of RF Test at Tektronix, notes, "Today's RF/microwave world is merging the digital computing and traditional analog RF technologies. This integration is presenting engineers with a highly complex environment, necessitating a new generation of RF/ microwave test tools."
Agilent will spotlight its products and expertise together with that of its partners at "Agilent Avenue." The firm's microwave signal generator is sure to garner attention, as it breaks through the 1-W power barrier. With option 521, the PSG E8257D signal generator delivers specified output power ranging from +24 to +28 dBm from 250 MHz to 20 GHz. However, it is usable down to 10 MHz. The generator eliminates the need for additional hardware like amplifiers, couplers, and detectors. With this option, users and units under test are protected from high-power accidents when maximum unleveled output power exceeds 1 W.
The company also is expanding its network-analyzer portfolio to 50 GHz with three PNA-X models. The N5245W covers 10 MHz to 50 GHz while the N5244A spans 10 MHz to 43.5 GHz. The N5241A covers 10 MHz to 13.5 GHz. Agilent will introduce its Infiniium 9000 series oscilloscopes as well. These 1-GHz, 2.5-GHz, and 4-GHz MSOs and DSOs offer a wide range of debug and compliance software.
On the software side, Agilent EEsof will be debuting EMPro 2009, which marks the company's re-entry into threedimensional (3D) electromagnetic (EM) simulation. This intuitive user interface (UI) allows engineers to create 3D parameterized components, add them to the Advanced Design System (ADS) layout, and simulate the combined structure for an accurate prediction of the circuit's performance. This UI promises to save two hours per simulation, as the tight 3D EM simulation with ADS eliminates the need to re-draw, re-enter material parameters, assign ports, and assign boundary conditions in other tools. EMPro 2009 integrates both time- and frequency-domain 3D EM engines to cover a range of applications. In addition, cross-validation between the frequency- and time-domain solvers provides confidence in the 3D EM simulation.
The company also will be releasing ADS 2009 Update 1, which streamlines the monolithic-microwave-integratedcircuit (MMIC) design flow. The new MMIC layout personality allows oneclick access to common layout functions. The tool also offers integration with industry-standard LVS and DRC tools. This update includes X-parameter model generation from ADS simulations. As a result, MMIC design houses will be able to provide virtual samples to customers before the actual hardware is available. Because specification changes can be easily made in simulation, the company estimates that this capability can cut four months from an engagement sequence.
One of the partners on Agilent Avenue is Maury Microwave, which has teamed with Agilent to develop advanced applications for the PNA-X. Maury will feature live demonstrations of the latest breakthroughs in load-dependent X-parameter measurement, ultra-fast noise parameter measurements, design automation, and nonlinear circuit and power-amplifier (PA) modeling and simulation. Other device characterization solutions on display will include the latest in cascaded tuning techniques and load pull using the Maury High-Gamma Tuner. In addition, the company will spotlight its newest automated device characterization software, ATS version 5.2, which enables complete on-wafer/module/ fixture load-pull and noise solutions.
Focus Microwaves will be at IMS with a variety of precision impedance tuners. The firm's new multipurpose tuner (MPT) model 1007 covers fundamental and harmonic tuning continuously from 0.7 to 10 GHz. It uses APC-7 connectors and can be fitted with N connectors for enhanced power levels to 100 W. This model can be used either as a wideband single probe, high Gamma two-probe, or three harmonic-three probe impedance tuner at any frequency inside the band. It can be calibrated on any vector network analyzer (VNA) and controlled either by the Load Pull Explorer (LPEx) measurement and graphics software suite or an ActiveX-MPT library. The tuner offers a wide impedance tuning range with tuning accuracy and repeatability of better than 45 dB.
A VNA breakthrough from Anritsu Co. promises to raise performance for markets including aerospace/defense, satellite, commercial microwave communications, materials measurement, and advanced research (Fig. 1). The VectorStar microwave VNA spans 70 kHz to 70 GHz with dynamic range of 103 dB at 67 GHz. The instrument boasts measurement speed of 20 s/point. With a 100-dB dynamic range at 70 GHz, the VNA offers impressive accuracy. The wide dynamic range is complemented by the MS4640A's receiver, which has a +10-dBm 0.1-dB compression level at 70 GHz. With the new Precision AutoCal for 70 kHz to 40 GHz or 70 GHz calibrations, residual directivity of 42 dB can be achieved at 70 GHz with up to 50 dB at 20 GHz.
Among the applications that will be demonstrated by Rohde & Schwarz will be the company's digital, analog, and RF test capability for LTE using the R&S FSQ26, R&S SMU200A, and R&S EX-IQ. By working with the same equipment and options, analog, digital, and RF engineers can ensure correlation of results and reduced cost of ownership. In addition, the R&S FSU67 will be used with a NoiseCom test set to provide a unique solution for noisefigure measurements in the 50-to-67-GHz range without external mixers.
Other highlights will include the latest R&S FSUP signal-source-analyzer solution, which offers cross correlation to 50 GHz in a single instrument, amplitudemodulation (AM) noise, and residual phase-noise measurements. Plus, a new patented technique uses a dual carrier approach to measure the group delay of frequency-converting devices when the local oscillator is not available. This option is available for all four-port R&S ZVA/ZVT VNAs.
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Among the firm's product introductions will be the R&S ZVA24x external test set, which promises to simplify measurements on active devices. The external test set contains pulse modulators, harmonic filters, an internal combiner, and high-power couplers to address measurement requirements on active devices under high-power conditions. Key specifications include power-handling capability over +43 dBm, arbitrary pulse train generation and characterization, a pulse-profile option with 12.5-ns time resolution, and harmonic rejection of better than 60 dBc at maximum power. Finally, a free add-on to the True Differential Option ZVA-K6 allows users to take advantage of the coherent sources inside a multiport R&S ZVA or R&S ZVT analyzer. The user can arbitrarily adjust the phase or amplitude offset between the sources to address measurements like I&Q on modulators/frequency-converting devices, beamforming, and phased-array applications.
Although the test and measurement industry is dominated by a handful of big players, many smaller companies offer more specialized instruments for the microwave industry. For example, the GSG-L1 Global Positioning System (GPS) signal generator from Pendulum Instruments was designed for the fast, efficient, and low-cost production-line testing of mobile phones with integrated GPS receivers (Fig. 2). Thanks to the RF level range from 73 to 150 dBm with 0.1-dB resolution, the sensitivity of all types of integrated GPS receivers can be verified with minimal delay. This one-channel GPS signal generator is fully programmable with an easy-to-use I/O protocol.
Pendulum also is debuting a new battery unit (option 23/85), which gives portability to its CNT-90XL microwave counter/analyzer. Operation time in field use is 4.5 to 8.0 hrs. depending on the actual configuration. In standby mode, the battery unit can supply an internal oven-controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) for over 24 hrs. This option also has an external DC 10-to-18-V input for in-vehicle use. The battery can be replaced in about 5 to 10 min. using standard tools.
The 10-MHz-to-18-GHz Universal Serial Bus (USB) power meter-sensor from LadyBug Technologies LLC flaunts a dynamic range of 55 to +20 dBm (Fig. 3). This miniaturized power meter-sensor offers a voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) of 1.20:1 and total error of 1.95 percent. The LB579A eliminates calibration or "zeroing" for measurements to 55 dBm and below with no accuracy degradation. It also is very accurate over temperature with less than 1 percent variation from 0 to 50C. The device's measurement speed is 2000 readings per second. It features a ruggedized USB connector.
Hailing from NoiseWave is the NW346 series. This broadband calibrated noise source is available in standard output levels of 6, 15, and 25 dB ENR. These units are designed for noise-figure test. They are compatible with standard noise-figure meters as well as spectrum analyzers and network analyzers.
The last few years have seen a rise in synthesizer development. Many of these innovations will undoubtedly grace this year's exhibition floor. Holzworth Instrumentation, for example, will be demonstrating ultralow- phase-noise, multi-channel synthesis. The company's eight multi-channel RF-synthesizer products cover 8 MHz to 4 GHz (Fig. 4). They boast fully phasecoherent multi-channel modules. In addition, Holzworth's proprietary nonphase- locked-loop (non-PLL) synthesis architecture promises to create a monotonic phase that is ideal for maintaining a phase-coherent relationship across any and all channels. This level of phase coherency allows for extremely low levels of phase drift between channels.
Mini-Circuits will be on hand to discuss its efforts in custom frequency synthesizers. The firm can tailor narrowband and broadband units to a customer's requirements. For example, wideband model WSN was developed for octave-band coverage from 1110 to 2220 MHz tuning in 10-MHz steps. It delivers +8-dBm output power with 30 dBc typical harmonics, 98 dBc reference spurious content, and 75 dBc comparison spurious content. The settling time is typically 15 microseconds and the SSB phase noise is typically 89 dBc/ Hz offset 100 Hz from the carrier, 101dBc/Hz offset 1 kHz from the carrier, and 102 dBc/Hz offset 10 kHz from the carrier. It is supplied in a low-profile housing measuring 1.75 x 1.25 x 0.22 in. (44.45 x 31.75 x 5.99 mm).
The new 1685-MHz fixed-frequency synthesizer from Z-Communications targets L-band applications. The SFS1685A-LF single-frequency synthesizer features typical phase noise of 106 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset from the carrier as well as typical sideband spurs of 80 dBc. The synthesizer typically delivers +6 dBm output power with a voltage-controlled-oscillator (VCO) voltage supply of 5 VDC while drawing 31 mA from 40 to +85C. Over that same temperature range, it typically offers a PLL voltage of 3 VDC while drawing 9 mA. This fixed-frequency synthesizer features typical second-harmonic suppression of 25 dBc.
IMS also will see the launch of the SMT X-band frequency synthesizer from EM Research. In a package measuring just 0.81 x 0.81 x 0.15 in., the HLX-10000 operates at 10 GHz with a 50-MHz reference. The unit features phase noise beneath 80 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset from the carrier with high-vibration tolerance of 0 dB degradation up to 6 Gs RMS. The unit boasts spurs and subharmonics better than 60 dBc. Custom units can be designed from 200 MHz to over 13 GHz.
Synthesizers are one potential application for four SMT MMIC voltagecontrolled- oscillator (VCO) products from Hittite Microwave. The HMC734LP5(E) and HMC735LP5(E) gallium-arsenide (GaAs) heterojunction-bipolar-transistor (HBT) MMIC VCOs provide fundamental output frequencies from 8.6 to 10.2 GHz and 10.5 to 12.2 GHz, respectively. These compact VCOs deliver output power to +18 dBm, single-sideband (SSB) phase noise as low as 100 dBc/Hz, and an integrated divide-by-4 prescaler output that can be disabled to conserve power. The HMC734LP5(E) and HMC735LP5(E) VCOs accept tuning voltages from 1 to 13 V. Their siblings, the HMC736LP4(E) and HMC737LP4(E) GaAs HBT MMIC VCOs, provide fundamental output frequencies from 14.5 to 15.0 GHz and 14.9 to 15.5 GHz, respectively. These compact VCOs deliver fundamental output power to +9 dBm with SSB phase noise as low as 105 dBc/Hz. The dual-output VCOs also provide a halffrequency (RF/2) output with 3 dBm output power. The HMC736LP4(E) and HMC737LP4(E) VCOs accept tuning voltages from 1 to 13 V.
Synergy Microwave's tiny DCO and DXO VCOs were used as building blocks for the firm's 0.6-x-0.6-in. MFSH series hybridtype SMD frequency synthesizers. A typical MFSH frequency synthesizer incorporates a VCO, PLL IC, charge pump, loop filter, buffer amplifier, and voltage regulator. Model MFSH495550- 100 is a typical unit, tuning from 4950 to 5500 MHz in 1-MHz steps with settling time of 1 ms or less. The phase noise is 80 dBc/Hz offset 10 kHz from the carrier and 106 dBc/Hz offset 100 kHz from the carrier. The synthesizer typically draws less than 30 mA current from a +5-VDC supply.
The model CRO1220A-LF voltagecontrolled oscillator from Z-Communications, Inc. targets L-band applications. It operates at 1220 MHz with a tuning voltage range of 0 to 5 VDC. This VCO features typical phase noise of 118 dBc/ Hz at 10 kHz offset from the carrier. It flaunts typical tuning sensitivity of 2 MHz/V. The CRO1220A-LF delivers typical output power of +3 dBm at a 5-VDC supply while drawing 18 mA over the temperature range of 0 to 70C. This VCO features typical second-harmonic suppression of 24 dBc.
One of the "disruptive technologies" on display this year will be Analog Devices' AD9551 clock generator, which enables the replacement of as many as five oscillators in multi-standard-networking and communicationsinfrastructure systems. The clock generator accepts one or two reference input signals and generates one or two output signals that are harmonically related by a programmable factor of 1 to 63. Precisely translating the reference frequency to the desired output frequency, it includes input receivers and output drivers that are capable of either single-ended or differential operation. On-chip reference monitoring and switchover circuitry internally synchronize the two references to prevent phase perturbations at the output in the event of a reference failure. Should either or both references fail, the AD9551 maintains a steady output signal with no phase disturbance on the output. The device relies on an external 26-MHz crystal (nominal) and the internal digitally compensated crystal oscillator (DCXO) of the first of two cascaded fractional-N phase-locked loops (PLLs) to provide a clean reference for the second PLL and hold the output frequency in case of reference failure.
Also on display at ADI will be the ADIsimSRD, ADIsimPLL, and ADIsimRF RF design tools. In addition, the company will highlight a variety of products including a family of five single-channel RF mixers. The ADL5801 single-channel active mixer, for example, covers the 10-to-6000-MHz range (Fig. 5). This single-channel device enables both the down- and up conversion of signals, making it suitable for both transmit and receive signal paths. The ADL5801 single-channel active mixer achieves a third-order input intercept point of +27 dBm with a 10-dB SSB noise figure. In addition, the ADL5801 provides a conversion power gain of 1.5 dB, reducing the need for additional intermediate-frequency (IF) amplifiers. An on-chip input power detector can be used to adjust the mixer's bias.
At the heart of mixers and so many other devices are amplifiers, which is why these components are constantly being innovated to deliver higher levels of performance. Avago Technologies will be showing a new addition to its family of GaAs low-noise-amplifier (LNA) MMIC products. Measuring just 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.55 mm, the miniature MGA-21108 covers 1.5 to 8 GHz. It operates from supply voltages ranging from 1.4 to 3.3 V. The MGA-21108 boasts 18.7 to 10.7 dB of gain at 1.5 to 8 GHz. It features low noise of 1.5 to 2.8 dB at 1.5 to 8 GHz and low-power operation at 18 mA nominal current.
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Among the products on display at Ciao Wireless will be a line of amplifiers with noise figures that are typically as low as 0.30 dB between 1.0 and 2.9 GHz. The CA12-4907, for example, covers 1.6 to 1.9 GHz with minimum gain of 40 dB. Typical gain is 42 dB. The amplifier offers a maximum noise figure of 0.40 dB and 1.0 dB gain flatness. It delivers at least +10 dBm output power at 1-dB compression and a typical third-order intercept point of +20 dBm. The LNA has a VSWR of 2.0:1. Ciao also will debut a new line of low-phase-noise amplifiers. The company promises to achieve residual-phase-noise levels in the range of 160 dBc/Hz or better offset 10 kHz from the carrier. Its low-phase-noise amplifier capability applies to amplifiers covering 500 MHz through 18 GHz.
The ST1804-50 series amplifier from IFI targets radiated-susceptibility EMC testing applications. The amplifier provides a minimum of 50 W of CW power for frequency ranges from 0.4 to 18 GHz in various bands. Typical bands are 0.4 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 8, and 8 to 18 GHz. This type of amplifier is available at 10-, 20-, 25-, and 50-W power levels.
An immense number of passive components also will be highlighted on the exhibit floor. Among the products being shown by Herotek will be broadband low-leakage limiters spanning 0.1 to 18.0 GHz. The six new models in the LS Low Leakage Limiter Series offer a typical limiting threshold of +6 dBm with a maximum leakage of +14 dBm at 1 W CW input power.
A line of high-power resistors from Johanson Manufacturing Corp. comes in multiple package sizes with standard resistance values of 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, and 250 Ω. Customizable resistance values are as high as 1000 . In terms of performance, the aluminum-nitride version of the flangeless RL series delivers a maximum of 600 W from DC to 6.0 GHz. Resistance is 1000 Ω.
Model IMW320 from Channel Microwave Corp. is a WR62 waveguide junction isolator with an integrated bandpass filter and coaxial adapter (Fig. 6). It has been qualified to handle 50 W average in a fully screened military flight environment. This iso-filter typically exhibits insertion loss of less than 0.40 dB and isolation of at least 23 dB with a VSWR of 1.15:1 maximum over the 13.5-to-15.5-GHz bandwidth. The signal's attenuation outside the passband exceeds 60 dB.
The latest product development from American Microwave Corp. is the AMC PI-DVAN-6018 digital programmable attenuator that spans 6 to 18 GHz. A double-balanced arrangement of quadrature couplers and pin diodes provides phase-invariant attenuation. The component has an attenuation range of 40 dB with 0.1-dB digital resolution.
Reactel, Inc. will spotlight its product line of GPS units, which includes filters, dual filters, diplexers, notch filters, and dual notch filters. The company's filters and diplexers cover all GPS frequencies. The percent of bandwidths available ranges from 0.1 to 50.1 percent. Two to ten sections are available. The components have a typical VSWR of 1.5:1.
Electromagnetic Technologies Industries will offer examples of its broadband power dividers/ combiners including the two-way model D-218-2 and eight-way model D-226- 8. The model D-218-2 two-way power divider covers the essential electronicwarfare (EW) band of 2 to 18 GHz with SMA connectors and maximum insertion loss of 1.2 dB across the full frequency range. It achieves minimum isolation between ports of 19 dB with maximum input and output VSWR of 1.40:1. The two-way power divider features excellent amplitude balance between its two output portswithin 0.4 dB for all input levels and across the full 16-GHz bandwidth while maintaining tight phase balance of 5 deg. The model D-226-8 eight-way power divider operates from 2 to 26 GHz with SMA connectors. It exhibits maximum insertion loss of 4.5 dB across the full bandwidth with 15-dB minimum isolation and 1.75:1 maximum input and output VSWR. The amplitude balance is 1.6 dB while the phase balance is 14 deg.
To satisfy the popular broadband and WiMAX markets, Sangshin Elecom provides customizable filters. The firm offers over 700 designs in these areas with frequency coverage from under 2.0 GHz to above 6.0 GHz in both narrow and ultra-wide bandwidths. Configurations range from 2.5 mm through 6 mm in height and from two to six poles. Sangshin Elecom components will be among the products exhibited by RFMW Ltd..
Because cables and connectors form the backbone of many microwave applications, the show is usually rich with developments in this area. This year, Times Microwave Systems will be showing its Intra-Flex ITF-200 RF interconnect cables and assemblies (Fig. 7). Designed as a flexible coaxial-cable alternative to semi-rigid cable, solder-braid, and old-style RG flexible cables, Intra-Flex ITF-200 boasts very stable VSWR when bent into its final configuration. According to the company, attenuation is 12 percent lower than 0.141-in. diameter semi-rigid cable and as much as 36 percent lower than most similar-sized RG cables. Times also claims 25 to 50 dB better shielding than most RG flexible cables. A unique connector attachment system eliminates cracked solder joints associated with solder-braid cables. The Intra-Flex ITF-200 also eliminates the need for 3D drawings, which are typically required for semi-rigid cables.
RF Connectors, a division of RF Industries, will debut miniature RF coaxial cable assemblies for Hirose U.FL and I-PEX MHF applications. Many wireless printed-circuit-board (PCB) RF modules use Hirose U.FL or I-PEX MHF miniature connectors. Jumper cables are then used to connect the PC board to the device housing or case. RF Connectors is now offering the MHF series coaxial-cable jumper. These cables use the I-PEX brand MHF connector and 1.13 mm coaxial cable that is compatible with Hirose U.F.L. Most assemblies are manufactured in standard lengths of 3, 6, 8, and 12 in. Electrical performance is good to 6 GHz with a VSWR to 1.30:1. Assemblies are available with a variety of connector terminations.
Of course, one of the most valuable commodities at IMS is not the products being shown, but the industry news that can be gathered. An example is Micronetics' acquisition of the pedestal- and forkliftmounted radio-frequency-identification (RFID) product line of M/A-COM RFID, Inc., an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Cobham plc. The product line consists of portal systems with directional intelligence, sensor-based forklift systems, and RFID antennas. More than 12,000 portals have been deployed in the field over the last four years. The forklift sensor has passed initial beta testing and is now entering a pre-production test phase. The manufacturing of this product line will be moved to the existing manufacturing facility in Hudson, NH.
As the biggest RF and microwave event in North America, IMS is a place where business deals large and small can be brokered. Although the economy is down, this industry can draw on its diverse markets, such as aerospace and defense, to weather the bad times. Take the breadth of products in this article as an example. They are only a tiny portion of what will be seen on the show floor. Yet these developments make it clear that innovation has not paused in the microwave and RF arena. As Fred Schindler notes, there is a strong RF/microwave demographic in the Boston area and past Boston symposia always were recordbreakers. The same will hopefully be true this year, allowing industry members to forge new partnerships while getting up to speed on the latest developments and innovations.