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I recently sat down with Ted Pawela, Lawrence Romine, and Judy Warner of Altium to wrap up their sold-out AltiumLive 2017 PCB Design Summit in Munich, Germany. This conference, following on the heels of an AltiumLive event in San Diego, was packed full of PCB designers who attended a series of great keynotes and an excellent technical program. We discussed some of the highlights of the show, including designers’ reactions to a new version of Altium Designer 18 and the brand-new Altium Nexus tool.
Barry Matties: We’re here wrapping up AltiumLive 2017 in Munich. Ted, why don't we just start with you? What are your thoughts on the event?
Ted Pawela: I have to say that I'm really pleased with the participation from the design community, and Altium customers, people from manufacturing industry, and keynote speakers. Everybody was really engaged and, as you saw, stayed until the end of the event in both San Diego and Munich. So I have to say that our goal was to create an amazing customer experience, and I feel pretty good that we've achieved that.
Matties: Lawrence, what do you think about the show from your point of view?
Lawrence Romine: As we were discussing previously, and Ted just mentioned, I'm most excited about how we're able to really connect these groups of people who are within a stone's throw of each other, from a technology and business standpoint, but who seemingly don't communicate too often. And if we can play that part, in really connecting all these groups of people, then I feel like our goal has been achieved. I definitely feel like our job was achieved here at AltiumLive.
Matties: Judy, you're the director of community engagement. What's your take?
Judy Warner: I told Ted after San Diego, and now I would double-down on my words, that these two events have been the highlight of my 25-year career. I’m in a position at Altium where I can be the matchmaker who helps bring together the manufacturing community, the engineers, PCB designers, thought leaders and experts whom I've known for all these years, and help facilitate this amazing synergy. Altium has been a generous host in providing spectacular venues and the resources to create a platform in which users can gather to learn, grow and connect. I think that it's beneficial not only to Altium users, but to anyone who is a PCB designer or engineer. We’ve received a flood of positive feedback from attendees, many of whom have said it was the best PCB design event they’d ever been to. We aimed at providing a great user experience and, I’d say in that regard, we hit a grand slam—not just for Altium, but for the entire PCB design community.
Matties: I think between the two events, you had something like 550 attendees. I heard people say, "Wow, I've never seen so many designers in one spot before." So, well done. Now, let’s talk about your new product. You released version 18 of Altium Designer and that seemed really well-received.
Pawela: Yes, actually we released two new products. Altium Designer 18 is the most significant release of Altium Designer, probably ever, and we introduced a whole slew of new features like multi-board design and things like that. But at the same time, we really redid a lot to the underlying architecture to give it better performance, speed, and stability, and as you could see, we completely overhauled the user interface to be more modern and so forth. So, it's something that we're really proud of. I would consider it to be kind of a crowning achievement over the last several years. And then we’ve released Altium Nexus, a brand-new product that uses the same technology foundation, and so you see much of the same look and feel, but adding a lot of team capabilities for collaboration and workflow in a multi-user, multi-person design environment.