Strategically Blogging

Ultrafast laser evolution

Allen Nogee 04/30/2015

Currently I am working on a report on ultrafast lasers. Many of these types of lasers have existed for many years, and they can do incredible things, but the total market remains relatively small when compared to some other laser segments. The ultrafast laser market is like all laser markets where specialized tools are matched to applications requiring them.

Laser Choices Improve Along with Laser Specs

Allen Nogee 03/18/2015

Having just finished all the forecasts and estimations of the recently released report, The Worldwide Market for Lasers 2015, this is the time I step back and look at last year’s laser market in retrospect. It is quite common for industry analysts (myself included) to attempt to “fit” a market they are investigating over other markets which have proceeded it. This is a part of normal human experience - mapping the unknown to what they do know. Unfortunately, what I have found from my experience in technology, 30+ years actually, is that no technology really duplicates another in evolution, no matter how much they may appear similar at first glance.

Key Takeaways from the 2015 China LED Signage Show

Martin Shih 03/16/2015

Strategies Unlimited was invited to present at one of the world’s biggest LED Signage Shows, giving an overview of the worldwide LED signage market and trends for 2015 during the conference. We will also update our signage market data in our upcoming report, “The Worldwide Market for LEDs 2015,” which will publish in April. Although this conference was held right after the Chinese New Year Holidays, which led to fewer attendees than 2014, we still saw all the major LED signage suppliers demonstrate their latest LED signs and outdoor/indoor displays for 2015. 

What is new in the SSL Lighting Industry: Recap of Strategies in Light 2015

Shonika Vijay 03/10/2015

Strategies in Light had yet another successful year of conference and exhibition in Las Vegas two weeks ago. The conference started off with informative workshops and a captivating investor forum showcasing start-ups such as Orama, RayVio, LUXeXceL, LumaStream, Nordic Power Converters, Transphorm, Fusion Optix, Stack Lighting, QuarkStar, and ecoSpectral. The now established company, Cooledge, also reminisced on their first debut at SIL U.S. a few years ago and their journey to becoming a recognized company in the SSL Industry. Here are a few highlights from the show:

Highlights of DOE Solid State Lighting R&D Conference

Shonika Vijay 02/09/2015

Recently, we had the DOE R&D conference in San Francisco. As always, it was a great event as the key industry players and decision makers came under one roof. I wanted to share some of my highlights and experiences from the event. Before that, one of the treats for me was looking at the new Bay Bridge from the shores of Treasure Island. Though I am a Bay Area resident, I regret that I hadn’t done this before—I usually just drive through it. The Bay Bridge looked magnificent, as it wore jewels of LED lights. The directionality of the lights was brilliant and it limited light spillage into the bay. So thank you, DOE, for allowing me this experience.

Kodak exits opto and ends an era

By Tom Hausken
It seems like the end of an era: Kodak is selling its CCD operations and its image sensor patents. It had been making CCDs since 1975, one of the early companies to make them, but waited until 1989 to sell them externally. Kodak had a number of firsts, including the first megapixel sensor, in 1986.

Then CMOS image sensors took off.CMOS sensors were conceived early on, but the lithography was too poor at the time. Omnivision and others brought it to life in the 1990s. Kodak tried several times to break into that product line, but it never worked out. Kodak teamed with Motorola in 1997 on CMOS image sensors. In 2004 it acquired National Semiconductor’s CMOS image sensor operation, for about $10 million in cash. Kodak even had deals with IBM and TSMC to manufacture the sensors, and some clever technology. But it wasn't enough.  

In our 1997 market report, we estimated that Kodak was the leading producer of image sensors outside of Japan, with $38 million in sales and under 6% market share. By the time of our 2009 market report, the image sensor market had grown 10X, but Kodak’s sales were stuck for years at about $80 million. Then in April it sold hundreds of patents and patent applications to Omnivision, for $65 million. And now it’s selling the CCD facility and its 200 employees to  Platinum Equity, a private equity firm.

In a way, kicking out the CCD business has little in common with the rest of Kodak’s problems. The operation being sold still makes high performance CCDs for high-end professional and scientific applications--some of it is really amazing stuff. And over the years a lot of companies have handed off their image sensor operations. For example, Pixel Devices International was sold to Agilent, which became Avago, who sold the image sensor operation to Micron, which spun it off as Aptina. And of course, Kodak is still huge into imaging, and that's photonics too.

It’s just the business getting older, but Kodak had been a classic example of a U.S. company deep into optoelectronics--that is, the actual making of the chips. No more.

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