Lasers now and next

Dec. 16, 2016
The laser world is changing faster than ever, with acquisitions, pricing pressure, and increasing competition.
Conard 720

The laser world is changing faster than ever, with acquisitions, pricing pressure, and increasing competition. Furthermore, the U.S. elections and the Brexit vote may foretell a different political climate, with uncertainty about exchange rates, and international trade and technology policies. How do we process all this information and understand the implications?

In our January issue, we will ask the question, “Where have all the lasers gone?” The article is our annual Market Review and Forecast, and some insights are previewed in a recent blog from our market analyst, Allen Nogee. In terms of raw numbers, 2016 was a good year, with more lasers sold and more revenue than ever, but the nature of those sales is changing and some of the laser makers are now part of an end-user ecosystem—for example, in the case of lidar makers, many have already moved into or been acquired by OEMs in the food chain of the automotive manufacturing industry.

Laser market data and much more analysis will be the focus of our 29th Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar (, to held January 30, in San Francisco during SPIE Photonics West. We’ll be probing the critical topics in lasers, including the adaptation of Industry 4.0 and additive manufacturing, the Chinese laser markets, the flow of investments in the industry, the growing number of directed energy defense programs, and opportunities for advanced laser diodes.

In addition, we’ll hear about trends in biophotonics and what tools biomedical scientists and engineers need to take advantage of opportunities in clinical research and healthcare. Our keynote will be a discussion between Coherent president and CEO John Ambroseo and myself that will probe many of the issues identified above. I hope to see you there.

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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