Only Connect: The future of interconnect in Electronics

Welcome to another post in the series by Nick Locke, of Nicab Ltd, who has over 15 years experience in the electronics manufacturing industry specialising in interconnection cable assembly.
In a meeting last week with a sales manger of a very well known connector manufacturer, I was told his prediction of the mains cable becoming obsolete in the next 10-15 years.

Furthermore, according to him, the whole interconnect industry is under threat as new technologies are making electronics smaller and the need for cables becoming a thing of the past.

That is quite a depressing thought especially if your job is to sell connectors! I personally don't agree with the first point as the ability to charge products without a cable requires a manufacturer to sell products that most people can't use because they don't have the means to power it.

That's not really the point however; I understand what is being said. In the future at some point most products will probably not require cables as we know them today. For example, the mobile phone is fast becoming the do-it-all device that we all use and that is pretty much the point with regards to personal electronic devices.

So where does this leave us in the interconnection business? In my opinion the answer to this question is the same as it has always been for all industries that are mature. The textile manufacturers working from home that had to give way to the industrial might of the water-powered loom that eventually gave way to lower cost labour from overseas is exactly the same problem we face today.

Change and how we cope with it has and will always be our biggest challenge. When I first entered into the industry we were in the middle of a mass exodus of work being sent to the Far-East so I have only seen the industry in flux with many good companies being lost in the process.

There is a future for us and I believe a very good one. To take the example above of the textile industry we can turn the whole thing on its head. The idea of a bespoke garment being manufactured in the UK by an artisan and instantly we are thinking about high fashion and big prices. What a change.

This is where I see the future of our products turning away from mass production that is nice work if you can get it but the real future is in the specialist companies producing high quality parts using traditional methods. There will always be a demand for this, and a healthy one too. After all, you can't yet build a submarine or aeroplane without using cables.

Our challenge is to work out where we are different than the others and to focus of our individual strengths. It's always been the same in business and never more so than now. So I am not going to predict the end of our industry I am instead going to celebrate out ability to continue to produce high quality products to world class standards.

Previous Only Connect entries:

* Only Connect: Alternative generic connectors

* Only Connect: On D-Type connectors

* Only Connect: UL markings

* Only Connect: Quality of workmanship and value of UK Manufactured

* Only Connect: 3M Twin Axial Cable

* Only Connect: Workshop tools and cool, cute videos

* Only Connect: Guitar wiring

* Only Connect: NASA-standard quality

* Only Connect: Requirements & Acceptance for Cable & Wire Harness Assemblies

* Only Connect: CCA Conductors in Ethernet Cables

* Only Connect: Good design and the IEC Connector

* Only Connect: Identifying greener manufacturers (Going Green #9)

* Only Connect: New product design - InfiniBand CXP 12x QDR standard

* Only Connect: HDMI Connections a simple guide

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