Training Tomorrow's Talent in Twente

Will Exponential Growth of Photonics mean a shortage of talent?

The established money-making machines at Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet (parent company of Google) are very different from each other. But as the New York Times reported in April 2017, their Q1 2017 earnings report revealed that cloud computing is becoming financially more important to all three of them.

Amazon, the leader in on-line retailing, said the $890 million in operating income from Amazon Web Services accounted for most of its overall profits. 

Microsoft, the No. 2 player in cloud computing is steadily making the transition to that business. The Azure cloud hosting business grew by 93 percent from the year-earlier quarter.

Alphabet has told analysts that the Google cloud platform is one of the company’s “fastest-growing businesses”. Although the parent company offered no details, Urs Hoelzle of Google revealed the extent of growth at this year’s Optical Fiber Communication Conference. In the last 10 years, Google's infrastructure has scaled by TWO orders of magnitude. 1 billion hours of YouTube video are watched every day - that means 10,000 hours a second.

But although things appear to be booming right now in the photonics sector, large international corporations are warning that change is needed. With 10X growth in just the datacentre markets over the last 3 years, different approaches will be needed to cope with exponential growth in photonics enabled industries.  

Now is the time to make a clearer case for optics and photonics as a smart career move.

Positioning Photonics as the Smartest Career move

In the run-up to the World Technology Mapping Forum in June 2017, PhotonDelta has launched a wake-up call for academia.

“If Europe is going to maintain its lead in Photonics, then its academic institutions need to do much more to position photonics as a smart career path.” says Ewit Roos, MD of PhotonDelta.

“Other industry sectors are already aware of the acute shortage of students with qualifications in high tech related subjects. Some, like Artificial intelligence, robotics and automotive have benefited from public awareness through TV and social networks and movies on subjects like code-breaking. That’s more difficult with a key-enabling technology like photonics. But now is the time to make a clearer case for optics.”

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