U.S. Optics and Photonics Industry: 385,000 Strong
OIDA has completed its survey of the U.S. optics and photonics industry, bringing the total to about 3,300 companies and 385,000 jobs, including both components and the products that they enable. Defining optics and photonics employment is more difficult than you might imagine, however.
First, what is an "optics and photonics" product? OIDA included "enabled" products such as cameras for machine vision, using the definition that OIDA has used for many years. We consider smartphones and laptop computers to be "downstream" products, even though they include displays, cameras, and LEDs. Counting the downstream businesses would add far more firms and jobs.
Second, what is a "U.S." company? We counted establishments with U.S. locations and employment, regardless where the company's headquarters or other operations are. Companies that are located in multiple states get counted once for each state, but this applies to relatively few companies. Since we are not reporting revenues here, we don't have to consider what is domestic and non-domestic revenue in an era when value is created across borders.
Third, what is an "optics and photonics" job? We count all the jobs that depend on the photonic product, whether or not they physically touch the product. This includes the accounting staff, the shipping department—everyone. In a small, pure-play company this is straightforward. In a large, diversified company, it's more complicated, but the intent is the same.
For questions on the OIDA study and the upcoming report, contact Tom Hausken.
Who Cares about Small Photonics Companies?
The short answer is that OIDA cares. OIDA estimates that about 90-95% of U.S. optics and photonics companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The estimate is a little fuzzy because the definition for a "small and medium-sized enterprise" (SME) varies from government to government. It usually means a company with less than 250 or 500 employees, and/or less than EUR 50M or $100M in revenues.
SMEs far outnumber large firms in other industries as well, but the U.S. optics and photonics industry is relatively concentrated compared to other industries and regions. This is partly due to the way that OIDA counts the companies. For this estimate, OIDA counts the worldwide employment of companies, which gives large multinational companies more weight than if we counted only in-country employment (as we did in the other study cited in this newsletter, above). The SME concentration also varies from sector to sector, as shown here. And as a whole, the U.S. is more concentrated in large companies than the European Union region is.
While outnumbering large firms, SMEs do not account for very much of the employment, however. In the U.S., only 20% of the photonics revenues and employment come from SMEs. The largest 5-10% companies represent the other 80%. Across the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 99.7% of the 5.7 million firms in the U.S. are SMEs, but the other 0.3% of firms—the large firms—employ almost 50% of the total employment.
OIDA cares about SMEs because they generate essential innovation and agility in the industry, and they offer valuable specialty products and services that wouldn't be offered by the larger companies. The SME model is so effective that many large optics and photonics companies are really "federations" of small and medium-sized business units, without the kind of synergy, scale or market power that are sometimes found in large companies, such as Intel, Google, or Apple.
Here are some of the things OIDA has been doing for SMEs lately. Stay tuned and get involved in OIDA's upcoming activities! For more information, contact Jessica Pagonis.
- OIDA's Start-up Series at the Plug and Play IoT Expo: Eight companies were selected to present at Silicon Valley's famous start-up pitch event on 10 December, featuring Corning's Waguih Ishak as keynote. For more information, click here.
- OIDA's SBIR Funding Accelerator "Speed Dating" Event: Qualifying OIDA member companies spent a day "speed dating" with several U.S. federal agency representatives to discuss opportunities for projects funded with SBIR grants. Held 2 November in Washington DC.
- NASA's Mirror Technology SBIR-STTR Workshop: OSA co-hosted the company exhibit for this annual event, held this year 10-12 November in Annapolis, Maryland.
- OIDA Webinar on the U.S. Department of Energy's SBIR-STTR Program Office and Solicitation Process: Available online to members here.
- See also our regular programming for start-ups at OSA-managed meetings, including OFC, CLEO, and the OSA Biomedical and Optics in Life Sciences Congresses.
Does Optics Make Computing More Green?
Would greater use of optical interconnects reduce power consumption in data centers? Think before you answer too soon. This was the topic of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) ARPA-E workshop held last summer in California. ARPA-E funds more speculative ideas that promise to move the needle appreciably in energy needs. It is sort of DOE's venture fund, but not limited to start-up companies.
The easy answer would be: yes, optics reduces power consumption compared to copper interconnects of the same length and function. The bandwidth* distance product for optics is superior to copper. Optical fiber is a wonderful transmission medium. In contrast, copper is cheap and easy to scale, but notoriously power hungry at high data rates.
But how much difference could optics make to the overall power needs? Electronic memory and core processing consume most of the power in a data center, and there isn't much room left for compromise there. Perhaps only about 20% of the power can be allocated to networking, with about half of that going to electronic switching. That leaves about 10% of the power budget for all of the optical and copper interconnects. (Power also enters into the density. Packing more bandwidth per rack, or per board edge, reduces cost, since there are fewer interconnects, and performance.)
If the power needs could be reduced by a percent or two, would the improvement mean smaller data centers? A 50 megawatt warehouse-scale data center that costs $500 million to build and $50 million per year to operate could get more performance with affordable optics, that much is true. But a large data center operator like Facebook is not likely to move more interconnects to optics just to save a few percent on its power needs and build a smaller data center. It's more likely to build the same size of data center, but with more performance for its megawatts. And while the improvements in performance benefit the operators and end-users—like you—it's not ARPA-E's mission to help improve the profitability of giant social networking or search engine providers.
But that view is simplistic too. Perhaps one less data center will be built someday, but more importantly, there is a national security and competitiveness argument, that computing is too important to the U.S. government as a customer and end-user to leave entirely to market forces. Getting more performance for the same cost and power means finding solutions sooner for problems it is studying, like climate and other civilian and military projects. This was the topic of an OSA workshop on exascale computing held in August and reported in the September newsletter.
Does optics make computing more green? Let's just say that there is a legitimate DOE interest in the topic.
NPI Webinar: AIM Photonics Update
On November 17, the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) hosted a webinar to update the community on AIM Photonics, the United States' first photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. Speakers included Dr. Alan Willner, chair, NPI Steering Committee; Dr. Thomas L. Koch, chair, Technical Review Board, AIM Photonics; and Dr. Tom Baer, past chair, NPI Steering Committee. If you missed the webinar, the full webinar is available online.
Congressional Fellowship Program — Spend a Year Providing Science Expertise to Congress — Application Deadline January 8, 2016
Looking for a way to combine your interest in policy with your science background? Become an OSA Congressional Fellow! OSA hosts two fellows per year — one jointly with the Materials Research Society and the other with SPIE. The program is a unique opportunity for scientists and engineers to gain experience in public policy and help influence decision makers. Congressional Fellows spend one year on Capitol Hill working as special legislative assistants on the staff of a member of Congress or Congressional Committee.
Applicants must have a Ph.D. by September 1, 2016 to be eligible; mid- and late-career applicants are encouraged to apply as well. A competitive salary and a health insurance/travel stipend are provided. For more information on requirements and how to apply, visit the OSA Congressional Fellowships webpage. The application deadline is Friday, January 8, 2016.
Welcome New Industry Development Associates Members
Congratulations Newly Elected OSA Industry Fellows
We extend our congratulations to the following 2016 OSA Fellows representing the industry sector. Fellows are elected based on their significant contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics and are selected based on several factors, including specific scientific, engineering, and technological contributions, a record of significant publications or patents related to optics, technical or industry leadership in the field as well as service to OSA and the global optics community. Learn more.
- Nobuyuki Hashimoto, Citizen Holdings Co., LTD, Japan
- Cedric Lam, Google, United States
- David Stork, Rambus Inc., United States
- Masahito Tomizawa, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japan
- Wenbing Yun, Sigray, Inc., United States
Plan Your 2016 Strategy with Exclusive Industry Reports Available to OIDA Members
As we approach the end of the year, industry leaders worldwide are planning their strategy for 2016 and beyond. A winning strategy is driven by intelligence. Have you downloaded our newest industry reports? All OSA Industry Development Associates members have free access to all reports. We encourage you to browse the Publication Library to see everything available to you. Recent reports include a Market Update on optical communications, disposable optical biosensors and civilian and military surveillance imaging; a second Market Update on optical communications, early-stage companies and an EPIC-Tematys executive summary; and a report on photonics technologies for ADAS in the automotive industry.
New Applied Optics Engineering and Laboratory Notes Now Online
Applied Optics now publishes articles called Engineering and Laboratory Notes (E&L Notes). These articles are intended to give engineers and technicians a venue to highlight laboratory techniques and hands-on skills required for the design, analysis, fabrication, integration, alignment, and measurement of optical components and systems.
Check out these recently published E&L Notes:
Want to publish an E&L Note? Submit your manuscript today! If you aren't yet ready to submit, read this editorial by the E&L Notes Editor Brian Monacelli to learn more.
- Phase shifting and phase retrieval with a fully automated laser diode system by Uriel Rivera-Ortega, Joris Dirckx, and Cruz Meneses-Fabian
- Comparison of online and offline tests in LED accelerated reliability tests under temperature stress by Hong-Liang Ke, Lei Jing, Qun Gao, Yao Wang, Jian Hao, Qiang Sun, and Zhi-Jun Xu
- Simple method based on intensity measurements for characterization of aberrations from micro-optical components by Stephane Perrin, Maciej Baranski, Luc Froehly, Jorge Albero, Nicolas Passilly, and Christophe Gorecki
- Measuring the four paraxial lens parameters using an autostigmatic microscope by Robert E. Parks
Shine a Spotlight on Your New Company's Technology in OFC's New START UP Pavilion
New in 2016, The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC) will recognize innovative technology startups who are positioned to make a future impact on the industry. The OFC START UP Pavilion will showcase cutting-edge optics and photonics entrepreneurs to the industry's most iconic companies and its most prestigious audience of over 13,000 professionals from around the globe.
Submit your application by 15 January. Learn more.
'Tis The Season to Take Advantage of Exclusive Member Discounts at 2 Key Events This March
As an OIDA member you have exclusive discounts to attend two events held in conjunction with OFC this March in Anaheim, CA. Act now to access this benefit of membership. When you apply your member discount to our already-low Early-Bird rate, you will save even more. Register by 22 February to save big on these two must-attend events: OIDA Workshop on Integrated Photonics High Volume Packaging and OSA Executive Forum.
Workshop on Integrated Photonics High Volume Packaging — Speakers Include CEO of AIM Photonics, Michael Liehr
20 Mar 2016 at OFC in Anaheim, CA, USA
The new American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics (AIM Photonics) is a manufacturing consortium, with funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD), New York State, and industrial partners to advance the state of the art in the design, manufacture, testing, assembly, and packaging of integrated photonic devices. More than $110 million federal investment and $500 million in non-federal funds make AIM Photonics the largest investment to date in President Barack Obama's National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI).
Mr. Liehr will describe the technical goals, operational framework, near-term milestones, and opportunities for the broader photonics community.
Exclusive discounts are available to OIDA members through 22 February. Secure your seat for the workshop, learn about opportunities for your company, and:
- Get a complete overview of integrated photonics in high-volume packaging
- Learn and network with the top experts in the field
- Attend three presentation sessions, one discussion session, lunch, poster display, and special evening networking event
Executive Forum Program Topics Announced
21 March 2016 at OFC in Anaheim, CA, USA
OSA Executive Forum provides you with an exclusive opportunity to hear insider perspectives in an uncensored environment, while participating in high-level networking. The program is now available online.
Exclusive discounts are available to OIDA members through 22 February. Join more than 150 senior-level executives as they convene to discuss key themes, opportunities, and challenges facing the next generation in optical networking and communications Space is limited for this event. Register now.
OSA is Turning 100 Next Year!
What a great opportunity to share this occasion with our members and engage the entire optics & photonics community.
Sponsor the OSA Centennial Celebration and Reach 270,000 Leaders All Year Long in 2016
We are inviting your company to be part of our 100th Anniversary festivities. Choose one of our three Centennial Sponsorship options and your company will be highlighted in a year-long calendar of special events and programs that will provide you with high visibility in the optics and photonics market. To learn more contact Centennial Sponsorships at +1 (202) 416.1957. A sponsorship opportunity like this happens only once every 100 years!
Submit an OSA Senior Member Designation Request
If you have significant professional experience in the optics and photonics industry, you are encouraged to request the OSA Senior Member designation in recognition of your accomplishments. Request forms are due no later than 29 February 2016. Find out more.
Want to get even more insight and access to great discussions about optics and photonics?
Join 3,000 of your colleagues in our Optics & Photonics Industry Network LinkedIn Group. This one-of-a-kind Forum for Industry lets you participate in discussions about cutting-edge issues. Extend your professional network. Exchange information about problems, ideas and solutions. Collaborate with experts in your field. Now is the perfect time to build a relationship with fellow optics and photonics professionals!
Take advantage of your OSA Industry Development Associates Member Benefits
We are committed to ensuring the value of your OSA Industry Development Associates Membership, so please email OSA if you have any suggestions for new programs or comments on your membership.
Forward this message to your colleagues.
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|OSA Industry Development Committee
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
| • Jean-Michel Pelaprat,
• Allan Ashmead,
• Henrik Skov
• Simin Cai,
|• John Dexheimer,
• James Fisher,
• Alex Fong,
Gooch & Housego
• Fred Leonberger,
| • Claudio Mazzali,
• Mike Mielke,
• Jerry Rawls,
• Martin Seifert,
| • Costel Subran,
• Christoph Harder,
Harder and Partner,