The NI Week Report

August 14, 2015 by Jennifer A. Diffley

A look back at National Instruments' Week, a technology conference held in Austin, TX, from August 3-6th every year. Attended by major players in nearly every industry, this event sets out to determine the course of technology.

Nola Lu from National Instruments gives us a breakdown of the facts, figures, and speculations from this year's NI week.

 What are some basic stats— attendance, invitees, turnout for conference and for show itself?

It's the 21st annual NIWeek. We had 3,175 attendees (not including staff), 175 exhibitors, and over 220 interactive technical sessions, case study presentations, and panel discussions.

What was the most talked about/buzzed about/tweeted about parts of the show? 

The most talked about topics at NIWeek included the Internet of Things (IoT), LabVIEW, and 5G. Additionally, there was buzz around NI’s partnership with Nokia Networks to develop the fastest mobile access wireless system, and an employee’s participation in the #ILookLikeAnEngineer social media campaign, which encourages women and LGBTQ+ engineers to share their stories and photos using the hashtag.   

Did NI week have positive reaction on social media? 

We are very pleased with #NIWeek’s performance on social media this year. We had great engagement from both conference attendees and participants joining in virtually from afar, and our reach on social more than doubled compared to last year on our global channels. 

A crowd gathers around the new Lego Mindstorms.

What were some key technologies being promoted?

NIWeek 2015 featured the Internet of Things. The event brought together leaders in industry and academia to discuss how this technology trend links our physical world with digital infrastructure and the resulting impact on engineering from design to manufacturing. Attendees were able to see examples of organizations benefiting from smart, connected systems, and gaining insights on creating a smarter, more inter-connected world. 

Another key technology NI has also been working is 5G. During NIWeek, attendees explored the technologies and trends in next-generation wireless communications and learned how to accelerate research and validate results using the latest hardware and software technologies from NI. Industry experts shared their vision for 5G with presentations covering topics including new physical layer designs, large channel count MIMO (Massive MIMO) systems, advances in millimeter wave communications, and more. 

NI also had several exciting products launching at NIWeek. LabVIEW 2015, the latest version of NI's system design software, delivers speed improvements, development shortcuts and debugging tools to help engineers get their job done faster. NI’s new Wireless Test System (WTS) dramatically lowers the cost of high-volume wireless manufacturing test for devices such as mobile phones, tablets, data cards and modules. 

NI also announced new additions to its data acquisition and embedded systems hardware platforms. The CompactDAQ family of portable, rugged data acquisition hardware now includes two new CompactDAQ controllers and a new 14-slot USB 3.0 CompactDAQ chassis. Additionally, NI’s new product line of CompactRIO, FlexRIO, and Single-Board RIO controllers integrate the latest embedded technologies from Xilinx and Intel to deliver unparalleled performance and flexibility to help system designers and machine builders solve the most demanding control and monitoring challenges.

 What would you like young professionals to know about NI?

NI makes it possible for engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges. With intuitive and powerful platform-based systems, innovators can accelerate productivity and drive rapid innovation. This is critical for young professionals when considering the pace of today’s technology innovation. NI’s off-the-shelf solution can be tailored for the needs of today and the future. A common hardware and software platform is necessary for the complexity and fast changing needs of tomorrow’s technologies like IoT and 5G.

Can you speculate about what is going to be awesome to see in the next year, as well as any upcoming technologies and solutions?

We are always excited to see how our customers and partners will use NI technology to continue innovating and improving the world around them. We saw exciting examples of this at NIWeek – from Berlin Heart, an innovative medical device company that provides life sustaining mechanical circulatory support devices for children with severe heart failure, to Samsung, the first company to demonstrate a working mmWave 5G prototype or even students from ETH Zurich who designed a stair climbing electric wheelchair.


Much thanks to Nola Lu for the report. If you haven't had a chance to attend NI Week, be sure to sign up next year. It's one of the most important conferences held in tech and offers an endless supply of inspiration and motivation.