What is Behind the Ebullient Mood at OFC2016
The mood at OFC2016 was great last month, and every metric too. Many commented that the mood hasn't been this good since 16 years ago, even prompting some to murmur that it might be too good (more on that later). What's driving all this?
First, the growth in data center installation continues, and the demand is not just confined to data centers but spills over into other sectors. It's coming from companies like the "Frightful Five"—Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft—but also Alibaba and many others, much of it for cloud services. There is a lot of attention on 100 Gbps transceivers to carry the massive traffic that never exits the data center itself—and integrated photonics as an emerging solution—as the chart vividly indicates. But the traffic to, from, and among data centers is also changing the industry. It is even loading the undersea cables, as traffic moves between data centers around the globe.
Second, it helps that the other stars are also aligning. China, in particular, is still investing in FTTH and optical communications, despite the talk of gloom and doom earlier this year. The risk of a downward spiraling crisis is still real, but China's tech sector is still growing at a rate much greater than its overall economy, and communications is a part of that.
That the industry is pushing up against physical limits helps too. Optical communications has always been innovative, sometimes moving to new generations of technology faster before recovering the expensive investments made to make them happen. But now the industry is pushing against fundamental limits in electronics and optics, leading to coherent techniques widely used in radio, and new architectures that use software-centric solutions to cut costs and improve network management.
Was the mood at OFC2016 "too good"? Are we entering another communications bubble? Supply is tightening, and one observer claimed that double counting in orders is happening again, just like in 2000. But the short answer is no. While the market always has its quarterly ups and downs, a big difference today is that the component manufacturers are not making the scale of profits that their data center customers are, and are not getting acquired for inflated valuations as they were in 2000. The mood at OFC2016 was ebullient, but not euphoric. The industry is more rational this time around, for better or for worse.
Integrated Photonics Packaging—The Problem with Standards
We've said it many times: the big challenge to manufacturing integrated photonics is the cost of packaging—and this means in the broadest sense to include everything from design and parts to assembly and test. Yes, the fab is expensive too, but without bringing down the cost of packaging the industry can't move forward. (See the OIDA figure for an illustration of this from the December 2014 newsletter.)
But how do we reduce the cost of packaging and test? That was the topic of OIDA's workshop on March 20, collocated at OFC2016. It was organized with OIDA's long-time partner, CIAN, the NSF center managed out of the University of Arizona. Tyndall Institute's Peter O'Brien was co-chair.
The workshop featured three major efforts in integrated photonics packaging. The U.S. AIM Photonics institute emphasizes large and small company membership as a way to get to its manufacturing goals. The European Commission efforts emphasize small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). Japan's PETRA project serves a consortium of large Japanese companies for its demonstrator project, and serves universities for its research projects.
A big topic was the use of standards to drive the industry to common platforms and lower cost. Everyone supports a standard package for making prototypes (and may we suggest as a start one of the popular versions from the Tyndall Institute). And everyone seems to support one or more broader manufacturing standards (of packages or otherwise) in principle.
|Peter O’Brien moderating the afternoon panel at the OIDA workshop
But, there was divergence over how to get to such a standard. Attendees from Europe seemed to favor a top-down, centrally planned approach. Attendees from the U.S.—exhibiting a more market-based laissez faire culture—seemed to think that it is futile to negotiate such standards, and the outcome would be out-of-date before it were even final.
Stay tuned for the presentations from the workshop and a report on the findings.
Have You Read Our Market Update on Optical Transceiver Products for Data Centers, Adaptive Optics, and Photonics21?
If you were at OFC when we released this new report it's still available for download by OIDA members. Highlights in this Market Update:
Read the Report Now
- Data center deep dive. This is an in-depth, quantitative look at optical transceiver products in data centers for 2016 and coming years.
- Adaptive optics. This section reviews some forecasts for this emerging product category and some leading companies. Proponents suggest that MEMS and other developments may make it affordable for consumer products within the next few years.
- Photonics21. This is a tutorial on the history and mechanics of European Commission funding associated with the European Technology Platform (ETP) known as Photonics21. It includes useful reference material on the many and confusing facets to the effort, such as the European Union itself, Horizon 2020, Framework Programmes, KETs, ETPs, the PPP, Europe 2020, and the German program Photonik 2020.
Welcome New Industry Members
Free Town Hall Forum on Biophotonics Commercialization at OSA's Biomedical Optics Congress
Wednesday, 27 April 2016, 17:30-19:30, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
You're Invited to Participate! Please join us for an open town-hall meeting, where thought leaders debate and share perspectives that are critical to the rapidly expanding biophotonics market. Light snacks and beverages will be provided.
Questions to be discussed include:
- Where is the funded research going?
- What is the enabling technology that has the most market traction?
- What are the bottlenecks or "showstoppers" in photonics commercialization today?
- What are the solutions?
Learn more about the event.
- Scott Coleridge, Venture Investor, Morningside Technology Advisory, USA
- Christopher H. Contag, Standford University, USA
- Richard B. Dorshow, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, MediBeacon, Inc., USA
- Eric Swanson, Entrepreneur, USA
- Edmund Talley, Program Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
New Laser Applications Conference will be Accepting Submissions beginning in Early April
The Laser Applications Conference (LAC) is a new industry conference on laser applications at the OSA Lasers Congress which will be held in Boston, MA, US, 30 October — 4 November 2016. The conference will focus on Materials Processing and Directed Energy. Materials processing will include advanced applications for industrial use. Directed Energy will include applications in defense, scientific research, and energy markets. The program will be made up primarily of invited speakers and will include several market-focused sessions. Submissions are also being encouraged. One of the themes of this meeting will be intimate discussions on what engineering and production advances are needed to translate promising technological advances into marketable products. Submissions will be accepted beginning in early April for this new industry conference. View the timeline and read the submission guidelines. Mark your calendar to attend.
Check out these Newly Published Engineering and Laboratory Notes in Applied Optics
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.
- Application of the harmonic star method in photoelastic separation of principal stresses by Ostertag, Oskar; Frankovský, Peter; Ostertagová, Eva; Trebuna, Frantisek
- Morphological processing of ultraviolet emissions of electrical corona discharge for analysis and diagnostic use by Schubert, Matthew; Moore, Andrew J.
- Wide-range average temperature measurements of convective fluid flows by using a schlieren system by Martínez-González, A.; Moreno-Hernández, D.; Leó n-Rodríguez, M.; Carrillo-Delgado, C.
NIST Announces Call for 1st Open-Topic Manufacturing Initiatives
On February 19, 2016 the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a competition for the formation of up to two Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to join the growing National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). This competition will be the first NNMI solicitation in which proposals will be accepted on any advanced manufacturing topic.
As an open-topic competition, NIST will accept applications for a proposed Institute in any area of advanced manufacturing so long as it is not duplicative. That means that the application does not duplicate the technical scope and programs of federally funded Institutes within the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), or technical focus area(s) that are identified within any in-progress Institute funding opportunity announced by a federal agency.
Like the other research facilities that are part of the NNMI, the NIST institutes will be private-public partnerships that foster collaboration among industry, academia, nonprofits and government agencies. Through the institutes, these stakeholders work to accelerate U.S. innovation and increase competitiveness by investing in industrially relevant, cross-cutting advanced manufacturing technologies and processes.
The Federal Funding Opportunity announcement contains a full list of requirements and evaluation criteria. To provide information to potential applicants, NIST plans to host one or more public events and informational webinars.
Announced - February 19
Proposer's Day - March 8
Pre-applications due - April 20
Review complete - May 23
Full applications due - July 22
Start date of awards - Q1 2017
OIDA asks that anyone planning to submit a proposal on a topic related to photonics to notify OIDA. Please contact Laura Kolton or Tom Hausken.
Looking for a Job or Candidate in All Areas of Laser Science to Photonic Applications?
The CLEO:2016 Online Job Fair connects employers and skilled job seekers from all areas of laser science to photonic applications. Conference attendees are encouraged to visit the onsite kiosk located in the registration area. For more information, please call +1 202.416.1428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write the Future
Join the "Write the Future" story contest and share your vision of optics and photonics To enter, write a short fiction story in 300 — 500 words on the future of our field. The winner's story will be published in OPN and will be recognized at OSA's 100th annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics, 17—21 October, in Rochester, New York, USA.
Submission deadline: 30 June 2016. Send entry with your name, affiliation, email and story title to email@example.com For detailed contest guidelines go to osa.org/storycontest.
Call for Nominations — Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award
Team nominations for the Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award are due 2 July. This is a great opportunity to showcase the value and importance of engineer teams! Named in memory of Paul F. Forman, the award recognizes technical achievements such as product engineering, process and software development, and patent development, as well as contributions to society such as engineering education, publication and management, and furthering public appreciation of optical engineering. Submit your team nominations by 2 July 2016. The awards will be presented in October during Frontiers in Optics 2016, OSA's 100th Annual Meeting. Recent winners include: Logic Analysis Tool Team (LAT Team), Intel Silicon Photonics Solutions Group, ZygoLOT Automotive Precision Optical Team, and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Lidar Team.
Special OIDA Member Savings on OPN Advertising
As an OIDA member, you receive 10% - 25% savings on OPN advertising. The percentage discount is based on how much advertising you secure.
Why should you secure advertising in OPN? Optics and Photonics News (OPN) is an award-winning magazine with international readership that reaches more than 19,000 optics and photonics professionals every month. In addition to receiving a discount as an OIDA member, advertising in OPN gives you access to this very valuable and highly-engaged audience. You'll receive excellent branding and increase leads for your organization.
Rates begin at $2,395 for a quarter page print ad. Banner advertising begins at $1,000 for a leaderboard/month. Contact the OPN team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.202.416.1952 to secure your space today.
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!
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|OSA Industry Development Committee
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
| • Alex Fong,
Gooch & Housego, Chair
• Jean-Michel Pelaprat,
Figulus, Past Chair
• Henrik Skov
• Simin Cai,
|• John Dexheimer,
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• Fred Leonberger,
• Claudio Mazzali,
| • Mike Mielke,
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Harder and Partner,