Read about Current Political Events and our Industry, V-shaped and U-shaped Recoveries, New Dates for OFC 2021, Special Events, New Reports and Other Noteworthy News, Opinions & Opportunities
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In this Issue:
Current Political Events and our Industry—Part 2
By the time you read this newsletter, the U.S. presidential election will be settled—or, perhaps not. In either case, we review here highlights of the two candidates positions on technology policy, thanks to analysis done by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF).
What's surprising is how ITIF's analysis suggests that while some of the candidates positions on technology policy vary considerably, others do not appear far apart, or at least when written in the terse and objective style of the ITIF report. And as important are the differences in style of the candidates and their paths to get to the goals. The ITIF notes, that "while Biden has stated his positions on most of the issues tracked by ITIF, Trump has been much vaguer, offering few detailed positions." Indeed, the element of surprise is much of President Trump's political strategy.
- On immigration: Here, the difference is dramatic. Trump has tried to reduce both high-and low-skill immigration, including H1-B and L1 visa holders. Biden’s party platform supports increases in both high- and low-skill immigration.
- On China and trade: Trump has rejected the Washington consensus and taken a famously unilateral approach. He implemented tariffs on both rivals and allies, exited from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, blocked access of Chinese companies to American technology, bypassed the WTO dispute settlement system and renegotiated NAFTA. Biden has taken a tougher view on trade and China than was the Washington consensus in the Obama era, but he prefers a multilateral strategy. According to an advisor (here), "Biden is not blindly pro-trade, but he doesn't want to shrink from the world like President Trump has."
- On public R&D spending: Biden supports increased public investment in R&D. The Trump administration has proposed increases in R&D in some areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum technology, but proposed decreases in other areas.
- On taxes, regulation and antitrust: Biden supports higher business taxes and stronger regulations on certain operations. Trump supports lower business taxes and lighter regulations. Both have argued for potentially bringing antitrust enforcement against major Internet platforms, and on 20 October the Trump administration announced an antitrust case against Google, the largest against a tech company in over two decades.
- On rural broadband infrastructure: Both support increased spending in rural broadband infrastructure, but Biden appears to support greater spending than Trump.
There's much more, of course. For the full ITIF report, see here. Part 1 of this election analysis was in the October issue of the OIDA newsletter.
New OFC 2021 Dates
The Optical Fiber Communication Conference & Exhibition (OFC), the premier event in telecom and data center optics, will now take place Sunday, 6 June to Thursday, 10 June 2021 (Exhibition dates Tuesday, 8 June — Thursday, 10 June) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, USA. The conference, originally scheduled for Sunday, 28 March to Thursday, 1 April, has been moved to ensure a most favorable conference and exhibition experience for all participants. The OFC co-sponsors plan to deliver a blended in-person and virtual format to provide attendees the greatest opportunity to reach customers, reconnect with colleagues and demonstrate innovative solutions to this dynamic community.
OFC 2021 will convene thought leaders in the field at a time when fiber optic technologies are revolutionizing commercial and residential applications. The work that has made OFC the most important event in the Optical Communications and Networking field will continue. Health and safety measures will be implemented at the Moscone Center and all associated properties. Further details about the conference and exhibition will be forthcoming. Please monitor the OFC website for updates. OIDA will have two special events again this year at OFC—OIDA Executive Forum on Sunday, 6 June and a workshop on Monday, 7 June.
Revisiting the V-shaped and U-shaped Recoveries
Earlier in the pandemic we talked about two overlapping recoveries from the pandemic and recession. The recovery of interrupted supply chains leads to the first, V-shaped recovery. The shutdown set off a chain reaction, however, that starts with unemployment but leads to a general slowing of the economy. The extent of that slowing depends on the course of the pandemic, government economic policies to address the recession and the public confidence in the future. The shape of that recovery is a very wide U-shape.
This figure of growth in Chinese industrial production is a striking illustration of the V-shaped supply-side recovery there. Production declined sharply in January and February as the pandemic swept China and the country extended the Chinese New Year holiday to keep people at home. But it has recovered to normal growth in the following months, as manufacturers work to meet pent-up demand following the shutdown.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (October 2020).
The absolute values present a rather confusing upward zigzag trajectory, so economists look at year-over-year (y-o-y) growth to remove the seasonality. A longer view illustrates how the overall Chinese economy bounced back after a dramatic year-over-year contraction in Q1. While the tech sector of Information Transmission, Software, and IT is a small part of the overall economy, its growth rate declined only slightly. In fact, in absolute value the sector reached a record high in Q1 and again in Q2.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (October 2020).
It's more difficult to show an example of the U-shaped curve, partly because we're currently inside of it, and because companies only report revenues every quarter, if they report at all. But we can look to the highly granular metric of U.S. passenger travel to see how the U-shaped curve is proceeding in the travel sector. U.S. traveler throughput dropped to a low of 87,534 passengers on 14 April, according to U.S. government metrics of security checkpoints (see figure). By October, it has recovered to about 1/3 of the throughput of a year ago. United Airlines reports that its flights are running at 60% occupancy, but with only a third of the flights that flew before the pandemic. United may not return to profitability until mid-2021, provided vaccines begin controlling the virus, but the company expects travel to return "in earnest" by 2022 (see here).
Source: U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
As a country, China’s response was slow at first but then showed a remarkably swift and disciplined response to the pandemic. On the other hand, the airline industry is one of the sectors that is worst hit in this crisis, and it is the worst financial crisis in the history in that sector. The optics and photonics industry is between these two extremes but much closer to the former than the latter.
Good News in Small Company Innovation
The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up about 90% of the number of optics and photonics companies. They are responsible for much of the innovation and specialty supply, and are the lifeblood of our industry. That's why OIDA is featuring small businesses in upcoming and recent events. Please check out what is happening with our small and early-stage companies since we last reported on them in the August issue of the OIDA newsletter.
OIDA is hosting once again our SBIR/STTR Funding Accelerator Speed Meeting on 12 November. This year it will be held virtually. The event aims to match companies and U.S. government funding agencies hoping to move promising technology across the so-called chasm to commercialization. The event offers a series of one-on-one "speed dates," where funding agencies and small companies meet to exchange their interests. It's a very efficient and effective event, all the more so in this year's online format. To RSVP, click here. For more information on the U.S. SBIR/STTR program, click here.
Sujatha Ramanujan speaking at the Luminate Finals 2020 (here).
On 14 September, OSA hosted the Luminate Finals for start-up companies competing for up to US$ 1 million of follow-up funding from the Rochester, New York, based optics and photonics incubator. This is the third awards event for the program, held this year online as one of the featured special events at OSA's annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics. The event featured ten startup companies with promising product ideas that passed through the Luminate incubator. For information on the program and the winners, click here. To view the event, click here.
On 20 October, the E.U. program Photonics21 announced that PhotonHub Europe has been awarded €19 million from the E.U. Horizon 2020 program to help SMEs deploy optics and photonics technologies. The new pan-European photonics digital innovation hub will provide help to European companies, particularly non-photonics SMEs that are early adopters of new photonics technology. Help will include training, "test before invest" innovation support, and finding investment funding. They hope for over 1,000 new high-tech jobs and nearly €1 billion in new revenue and venture investment by 2025. The program will start operations in early 2021. For the press release, click here.
OIDA is hosting the second OIDA Technology Showcase on 1-3 December. This is an opportunity to see new products and cutting-edge technology in an organized environment, in addition to our sponsored webinars. The showcase offers networking time where attendees can ask questions of the company by video, in the same way that you might visit an exhibit booth in person and have an extended conversation. The showcase features new products and technology from new and old, small and large companies. For more information, click here. Presentations from the first showcase on 18-20 August are available here.
Welcome New OIDA Members
Looking for US Government Funding? Attend OIDA's Virtual Funding Accelerator Meeting
US companies with less than 500 employees are invited to participate in OSA's 5th annual Funding Accelerator Speed Meetings event focused on SBIR/STTR funding, on Thursday, 12 November from 10:00-14:00 ET. This is a virtual event, and is free to OIDA members.
Meet one-on-one virtually with program officers from multiple U.S. federal agencies, all in one day — minimizing your time investment and increasing your chances for new government funding. The Funding Accelerator Speed Meetings will give you an insider perspective on what specific agencies are looking to fund; as well as provide you with up-to-date information on each agency's SBIR/STTR funding process, and how you can enhance your probability of success.
This event includes the opportunity for private meetings with each agency. Will we be utilizing software that allows attendees to rotate virtually to different tables for these meetings.
Federal Agencies you'll meet include:
- Department of Energy (DOE)
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- and more!
This event is free for OIDA members - please fill out this form if interested in attending, space is limited!
Announcing the 2nd Virtual OIDA Technology Showcase — a Unique Product Presentation & Networking Event
Looking for new products for your organization and information about the latest technology? Join us online Tuesday 1 December — Thursday 3 December and get an in depth look as OIDA member companies present and explain their cutting-edge technologies.
Presentations are built around 6 key technology themes:
- Instrumentation and Metrology
- Precision Sources
- Precision Optics and Components
- Imaging and Metrology
- Fiber Optics and Communications
Free Registration Gives You Access to:
- 3 days of cutting-edge innovations
- 31 presentations by OIDA member companies
- 34 high-level speakers and industry experts
- 1-on-1 virtual networking rooms with participating companies
- Exclusive access to company's product profiles, contact information and more!
All three days of showcase presentations and networking are free. Learn more and register today.
RSVP for Virtual OIDA Member Benefit Orientation
RSVP for OIDA's member benefit overview orientation. This is an opportunity to learn more about key membership benefits you and your company should be taking advantage of and explore how to maximize performance and grow your business.
Whether you have been an active member for years and need a quick refresh or are transitioning to the new OIDA membership model — this orientation is a must-attend! Please feel free to share this with your colleagues. When you join OIDA, everyone at your organization becomes a member.
OSA Honors Industry Leaders
We extend our congratulations to the following members recognized for their outstanding leadership and ongoing support of OSA and our field.
OSA 2020 Honorary Member
Incubic Management, USA
2021 OSA Fellows
- Aleksandra Boskovic, Corning Inc, USA
- Dr. Arnaud Brignon, Thales Research & Technology, France
- Frank Chang, Source Photonics, USA
- Timothy Day, DRS Daylight Solutions, USA
- Amy Eskilson, Inrad Optics, USA
- Donis Flagello, Nikon Research Corporation of America, USA
- Jack Jewell, GreenVCSEL, USA
- Chiman Kwan, Signal Processing, Inc., USA
- Sujatha Ramanujan, NextCorps, USA
- Haisheng Rong, Intel Corporation, USA
- Yakov Soskind, Apple Inc., USA
- Richard N. Youngworth, Riyo LLC, USA
New Digital Programming Now Available Live and On-Demand
OIDA management and OIDA members have produced a series of webinars and a virtual Technology Showcase that are available at no charge. We encourage you to browse our growing list of upcoming events and view on-demand recordings as they become available. And there is much more! Check out the OSA We Are On webpage for more high quality webinars on career development from the OSA Foundation and the OSA Career Lab.
Invitation to Join the OIDA Optics and Photonics Industry LinkedIn Group
Join 3,500+ of your colleagues in our OIDA 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!
Questions or Suggestions about OIDA Member Benefits?
We are committed to ensuring the value of your OSA Industry Development Associates Membership, so please email OIDA if you have any suggestions for new programs or comments on your membership.
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OIDA (OSA Industry Development Associates) Council
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
Plymouth Grating Laboratory, Inc.
Double Helix Optics
Corning Inc., Past Chair
Inrad Optics, Chair-Elect
Optimax Systems, Inc.
LightWave Advisors, Inc.
Christoph S. Harder,