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REAL TIME WITH... IPC APEX EXPO 2023 SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE I I-CONNECT007 115 tion increases, demand softens, increasing the risk of orders being cancelled or pushed forward. The impact of inflation can be felt in several ways. First, higher inflation leads to higher interest rates, which makes it more expen- sive for consumers and businesses to bor- row money, thereby slowing down economic growth. Second, higher inflation also leads to a decrease in consumer spending, as people have less disposable income to spend on goods and services. Inflation will impact some verticals more than others in our industry. Defense and aerospace spending will remain strong in 2023, while consumer electronics have already seen signs of retraction. The decrease in the demand for consumer electronics is a natural whiplash from the peak demand seen during the pandemic. As a result, tens of thousands of tech workers have lost their jobs recently as companies adjust their headcounts to match a new post-pandemic demand curve. Another trend highlighted at IPC APEX EXPO was the growing use of artificial intel- ligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the electronics industry. These technolo- gies are being integrated into a wide range of machines used in electronics manufacturing and are enabling faster and more accurate decision-making, improved automation, and greater efficiency. As AI and ML become more widespread, they are also driving the devel- opment of new applications and use cases, encouraging companies to invest heavily in this area to stay ahead of the competition. While AI has the potential to automate many tasks and jobs, leading to job loss and unem- ployment, it also creates new jobs, improves productivity and efficiency, and increases wages for skilled workers. The key to mitigat- ing the negative impact of AI on the EMS labor market is to invest in education and training programs that help workers acquire the skills they need to thrive in the digital age. Companies in our industry that can capitalize on these trends and stay ahead of the curve are expected to thrive in 2023 and beyond, while those that fail to adapt are likely to be left behind. The future of the electronics manufacturing industry looks bright, espe- cially for companies that are willing to invest in innovation and stay ahead of the curve. S&T Bill Cardoso is a regular columnist for I-Connect007. To read past columns, click here. Thomas Yunghans: DFM 101 As a PCB designer, what's the goal for you here at the show today? I'm trying to learn more about how I can be more effective as a PCB designer by learn- ing about fabrication techniques. Are you finding the sort of information here that is satisfying that need? Yes, I think so. It's hard to walk past these booths because they keep trying to drag you in and then I get dragged in because I saw a hacky sack ball (laughs). Even though I don't really care about vapor phase reflow, but then I had to hear the whole presentation. Thanks for being at the show. Thank you for stop- ping to talk.

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