So many metaphors have been used to describe the state of the optoelectronics business that it's difficult to come up with a novel way to describe just how dynamic our marketplace has become. Nonetheless, metaphors aside, January's Photonics West started the New Year off with an unequivocally upbeat statement about the current state of the industry. By any measure the show—which is not a communications oriented event—outstripped all of its predecessors.
It attracted more than 15,000 visitors—a 26% increase over last year, and seemed to stretch San Jose to the limits of its capacity (see p. 24).
I suspect that the success of Photonics West promises an exhilarating year in optoelectronics.
Hard on the heels of Photonics West is this month's Optical Fiber Communications conference in Anaheim. Not surprisingly, given that OFC is one of the largest communications oriented conferences, all indications are that this year's event will again be much busier than the previous one (see p. 18). Optical fiber, the production of which is highlighted on this month's cover, is only one component of an optical communications system, and this is certainly reflected in the comprehensive technical program at OFC. We can expect to see technical advances and new product announcements across all aspects of communications. We also can expect to see intense recruiting efforts at the show as firms continue to address the severe shortage of skilled labor in this arena. Among the hot topics is the quest for the ideal broadly tunable semiconductor laser, a subject addressed in this month's Optical Networking feature (see p. 121). Meanwhile, as data-transmission rates increase, optical-performance monitoring takes on an increasing significance because of the polarization sensitivity of passive communications components, for example (see p. 113).