Connecting the World

May 31, 2024, 11:15 am Peter Bigelow

What to make of the technology that unites industries and those who run them.

While concerns still abound, life has returned to some semblance of normal in the post-Covid world. While most were hunkered down for months or years thanks to restrictions on travel and social distancing protocols, those times are now behind us and, at least in my case, I am traveling as much as ever. While glad to be able to travel once again and see people in person, I have been reintroduced to many of the accompanying irritants, such as long lines at airport security and flight delays caused by weather or tardy flight crews. On the positive side, however, I am continually reminded of how it truly is really a small, small – and interconnected world – after all.

During the worst of Covid, I thought the world was small thanks to technologies such as Zoom, Teams, etc., that enabled people from virtually anywhere on the globe to communicate and be seen – in real time – by colleagues, friends or family via a few simple keyboard clicks. While not the same as being in person, the technology enabled the next best thing – instantaneous interaction.

While in the airport security lines, waiting for a flight, or dining in restaurants after a long day, however, I am amazed at the copious amounts of technology that make travel easier, enable portable communication, and provide entertainment. And all this technology is being embraced by people of all generations, regardless of background.

The aspect that truly impresses me is international travel. Over my decades of racing through airports, I have noted fliers pulling golf clubs or well-heeled businesspeople carrying the once-mandatory briefcase. More recently, however, the distinctions have narrowed. I observe scores of travelers – regardless of country, culture, religion or socioeconomic background – using the same technologies from the same brands, enjoying the same media options, and using the same tech tools as those around them.

Technology in many ways has shrunk the world, as it provides the ability to build platforms that bridge the cultural gaps that have historically segmented people of different languages and life experiences. Further, technology has made it possible to travel to places once considered far away while simultaneously being able to stay in touch at any time with family, friends and colleagues they left behind.

The world would not seem so small, however, nor would people around the globe enjoy constant connection to home, were it not for the technologies imagined, developed, refined and mass-produced by our industry. Moreover, industries as varied as transportation and entertainment would not be as successful as they are without the technologies our industry provides.

Which brings us back to the small, small world it is. Any given industry needs other industries to succeed. The automobile of today relies on electronics for performance, comfort and safety. The electronics industry relies upon the chemical and metal industries for materials that enable smaller, lighter and more powerful products. Working together, industry can develop and deliver far more than going solo.

The same is true with people. People who work together across the globe can and will produce more than when working alone. In an ever more competitive world, the ability to work together individually or collectively could become far more challenging than ever before.

As I was observing the many different people in the various places I have traveled this year, I kept thinking of how connected they are via the electronics they use. And future technological generations may have even more impact toward a more comfortably small, more interconnected and (maybe slightly) safer world.

The next generation of exciting technology has always been in the imagination of those who dare to ask, “What if?” Our industry has enabled more than its share of such visionaries. The next time you travel, be it by car or plane, locally or internationally, consider how different that journey would be without the electronic technologies our industry has developed. And look at those folks you come across while traveling and contemplate how our industry has connected them with families, friends, work and play – and most of all – to each other. It really is a small, small world!

Peter Bigelow is President / CEO of IMI... Email is:

About IMI Inc.

Founded in 1971, IMI is a leading provider of commercial and military, technologically-advanced printed circuit boards with significant expertise in fabricating on all types of PTFE/Duroid, polyimide, and more traditional FR-4 based laminates as well as mixed construction applications. Based in Haverhill, Massachusetts, IMI is MIL certified, ITAR registered as well as AS9100/ ISO9001 registered and focuses on leading Aerospace, Military, Medical, RF/Microwave and Industrial electronics OEMs and contract manufacturers from its Haverhill facility. For more information, visit