After almost 25 years as an assembly equipment design engineer, consultant, author, publisher, and lecturer to the digital electronics packaging industry (world-wide), Don Brown, in 1996, started to ask questions about wireless packaging. What exactly is “wireless packaging”? How is it different from “digital packaging”?
To answer these questions, Don organized a 2-day Forum in 1996 titled “The Future Economics of Wireless Packaging”. This Forum brought 25 industry experts together for 2 days to discuss wireless packaging technology and requirements.
This expert panel concluded that packaging technology suppliers were uncertain about what their wireless customers (users) really wanted from them now and in the future, and the wireless users were uncertain about what technologies were available from these suppliers now and in the future.
We called this mutual uncertainty -- “The Knowledge Gap”.
The Knowledge Gap concept compelled Don to propose a Multi-Client Study called “The Future Economics of Wireless Communications Packaging.” More than 20 companies supported this multi-client study through 18 months of research, hundreds of interviews, and two Review Workshops to create a 4,000 page study. The study’s supporters wanted this work to continue; however, they did not want to wait another 18 months to get more results.
In 1998, their requests resulted in the formation of the “International Wireless Packaging Consortium”, (“IWPC”). (Don considered other names, such as “Project 377” [377 = characteristic impedance of air] or Project Ether. More reasonable heads succeeded in convincing Don that these alternate names were too obscure, even in his strange mind.)
The objective of the IWPC was, and still is, to bring together the entire wireless industry supply chain to find ways to identify new markets and new products and to find ways to work together to reduce costs, reduce time to market, and improve performance of all things wireless.
In the summer of 1997, Don met Rene Douville, who was then the Director of the Antenna and Integrated Electronics Directorate of the Canadian Communications Research Center (CRC). Rene wanted to take early retirement from the CRC. He joined with Don to build the IWPC.
Together Don, Rene, and Don’s long-time assistant Linda Showaker set out to create an international consortium of companies who shared these common interests.
The first workshop was hosted by Nokia Research Center (NRC) in Helsinki, Finland, in October 1998. The goal of this first workshop was to find a way for the wireless industry to come together to find ways of reducing costs of wireless handsets from a packaging point of view.
This first workshop was very successful, with more than 60 people attending from 6 countries.
From 1998 to 2011, the IWPC has grown to more than 150 member companies worldwide and has organized more than 160 workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia on ALL things wireless, with more than 9000 individuals participating at these workshops over time. (as of June 2011)
Some of the concepts learned during all of these workshops:
The component and materials suppliers always want to hear the needs of their customers and their "customer's customer".
To get these customers to attend such workshops, these customers wanted to hear about the needs of their customers and their "customers’ customers" and so on.
The companies at the top of the supply chain wanted to hear what was happening at the various lower levels of the supply chain that could affect them or be introduced to their products
As a result, to learn what components, materials, and packaging technologies are needed to support the needs of wireless products, it is necessary to bring the entire wireless industry supply chain together from top to bottom to discuss all aspects of markets, trends, and technologies.
In the process of developing these workshops, the IWPC has grown beyond the original definition of “Packaging”. Our definition of Packaging now reflects the total Market and System perspectives of ALL Wireless Markets, Systems, Products and Technologies.
Therefore, the IWPC still retains its well known acronym, IWPC, subsequently dropping the “Packaging” term. (We couldn’t find another appropriate word for the letter “P”.)
As of 2005, we are known as:
International Wireless Industry Consortium ™