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.

Big money for photonics in data centers

By Tom Hausken
The best news that photonics people could hear came last week at OFC when Cisco announced that it was buying Lightwire for $271million in cash. Lightwire is a start-up making integrated photonics , and Cisco is interested in it for making interconnects in data centers, among other things. I try not to get intoxicated with financial ups and downs that ultimately benefit only a few investors (if that),and I'm not fond of buzzwords like "integrated photonics," but this is good news for anyone with a similar technology.


It makes sense that Cisco needs the expertise developed in Lightwire. Companies have spent millions on this; for Cisco to do it itself would take millions more and years of delays. Meanwhile, its competitors--Huawei for one--are encroaching on Cisco's market with technology of its own. Cisco can't rely on the merchant market for everything.


The data center bottleneck is particularly important. I attended four discussions on the topic, including the OIDA workshop to develop a roadmap (where I was a moderator and am writing the report). The challenge is for the industry to develop new architectures and inexpensive components that can address the many-to-many interconnects necessary in modern data centers, such as those of Google and Facebook. Traditional data centers are not a challenge: a conventional switching hierarchy can store and retrieve data, and that scales predictably. The new data centers don't scale as well.


Both Google and Facebook made the rounds at OFC, and both claim that the technology is available today, it just has to be commercialized. They say there needs to be a whole new sector of components that don't need to meet Telcordia and NEBS standards. It just has to be good enough for the controlled data center environment. Oh, and make it really really cheap, thank you.


The one problem I have will all of this is that the net margins for Google and Facebook are about 25% or so. That's net profit, not gross. The optical components suppliers' net margins are a few percent to negative. So how about giving some of that nice margin back to the components suppliers? Especially as many suppliers don't see the return on this new segment justifying the risk.


That's why Cisco's acquisition is such good news. It's a return for the start-up's investors, but it also means that Cisco is willing to fork over some real money for components.


The OIDA roadmap report on data center interconnects will be coming out sometime in the coming weeks. Look for it at the OIDA web site or here .

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