Wireless Symposium in Shanghai Focuses on the Internet of Things

The annual IEEE event also will cover 5G and visible-light communications

15 January 2016

With the Internet of Things the theme of the annual IEEE International Wireless Symposium, being held 14 to 16 March in Shanghai, a sizable portion of its workshops and papers will discuss the technical and market requirements for IoT’s widespread adoption. But the conference also will cover what it’s best known for: showcasing the latest technical achievements in microwave circuits, hardware, and RF technology for existing and emerging wireless systems. The IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society is the sponsor.


The workshops cover various aspects of IoT, including ultra-low power consumption, low-cost systems, and novel wireless network architectures. But the symposium also is expected to deal with wireless topics such as 5G cellular technologies, silicon terahertz techniques, next-generation wireless access, microwave power amplifiers, and visible-light communications. Also in the mix are sessions on computational electromagnetics and multiphysics simulations for wireless applications, plus low-voltage and sub-threshold wireless for reduced power consumption.

Presentations will cover innovative research and development in wireless systems and wireless-wireline convergence. They are expected to include filters, transmission lines, transceivers, active and passive components (including millimeter-wave devices and CMOS, as well as compound-semiconductor microwave power amplifiers) and active and smart antenna systems. Also planned are talks on visible-light and other communication systems, and computational electromagnetics..

A new group of “rump sessions,” are being scheduled during mealtimes to give speakers and attendees an opportunity to discuss hot new technologies including wireless energy harvesting, venture capital for startups, and what Morgan Chen, who cochairs the conference’s technical program, calls controversial topics, “not those where you’d expect a unified response.”

A forum on education will discuss how to halt the decline in the number of students pursuing microwave technology relative to other disciplines.

Several keynote sessions will be given mainly by chief technical officers of high-tech companies heavily involved with China. Already announced is a talk by conference general cochair C. Patrick Yue on visible-light communications. Yue is a professor of electronic and computer engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


The conference has always been accompanied by a three-day exhibition of new wireless technologies, software, and equipment. This year that exhibition has become TechShanghai, a full-fledged industry trade show. It’s the result of a first-time collaboration between the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society and trade-show producer UBM China. More than 100 industrial and research companies are expected to show their wares. TechShanghai also includes a UBM industry conference, where executives can discuss hardware and software designs for IoT and related markets.

Most IEEE events in China either are global ones that rotate from continent to continent or are held under local auspices such as IEEE’s China Section. This symposium has been held annually in China since 2013 and has been organized by the IEEE MTT Society in collaboration with IEEE China.

“Organizing the wireless symposium is helping the society and IEEE learn how to build a leading-edge technical conference and trade show in China, and how to engage with counterparts and colleagues there,” says IEEE Fellow Joy Laskar, who chairs the symposium’s executive committee. “China is one of the largest sources of engineers in the world, and building IEEE’s presence there is important.”

“Collaborating with UBM will give us the best opportunity to really grow in China,” adds Amanda Scacchitti, a staff member of the society who is the liaison between the symposium and UBM. “With UBM the largest trade-show organizer in Asia and the largest commercial trade-show organizer in China, it’s a win-win for us.”

The symposium’s exhibition side usually has included an industry forum, with vendor presentations of new technology and applications held on a stage on the exhibition floor. That will continue as part of TechShanghai.

“These talks are open to all, not just symposium attendees,” says Morgan Chen, cochair of the technical program. “They’re not as technical as the symposium sessions, but they’re interesting because the industries are showing off new application-oriented technology.”

Although the symposium, with about 1,000 attendees, is fairly large as research-oriented technical conferences go, it still has a family atmosphere, says Corbett Rowell, another technical program cochair. “For hardware people,” Rowell says, “it’s like going to Disneyland.”

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