Comparing Photonics Growth Strategies CAN-NL

In the run up to the World Technology Mapping Forum (June 14-16th 2017) PhotonDelta is publishing a series of interviews with Photonics specialists to better understand how different countries are strengthening their respective Photonics Ecosystems. This is a conversation with Simon Wingar, Director Research & Development Information and Communication Technologies, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa. He looks as how Canada working with its photonics companies and compares their approach with Western Europe.

Product Cycles – The Cradle to grave is now 5 years.

Product life cycles are so short now, there often is not the time to transfer a process or a product to another fab. A typical product development lifecycle is 18 months. That product will probably be viable in the market for just 3 years after launch.  So, what used to be a product with a lifetime of 20 years has now been reduced to that of a commodity. The technology itself is not as important. It is the use of the technology which counts.

Canada has a very strong track record in Communications and Photonics, however there is a risk of this know how dispersing and weakening Canadian Industry as foreign manufacturers cherry pick what they need. The question is how do you support industry to keep and grow the expertise.


A bit of background

Around 2001, the National Research Council Canada formed the idea of the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC), (the equivalent of the PhotonDelta Cooperative and the proposed technology centres.) The CPFC was intended to build a much closer relationship between research and industry needs. Industry was already crying out for long term research while at that time they were caught up trying to satisfy demand. They needed to partner with an organisation that was able to think 3-10 years ahead. Then the Bubble burst.

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