Expanded ECOC reflects solid European economy

TRENDS

By MEGHAN FULLER

Touted as the first European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) of the new millennium, ECOC 2001 will debut at the RAI Congress Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. Physically, the 27th annual ECOC will be double the size of last year's event, covering no less than 7,000 m2. Event organizer Nexus Media Ltd. (Kent, UK) expects nearly 400 exhibitors, representing more than 17 countries. "It's the largest exhibition of its kind in Europe," says Warren Edge, marketing manager at Nexus.

The expansion of ECOC, he asserts, "reflects the growth that there is in the market-particularly the European market. I think the American side of things is starting to mature, and I think Europe is certainly some years behind that, by way of trend. There is still enough interest here in the investment side to launch Liquid Europe," he adds.

"Liquid Europe" is new to this year's event; it is a forum for the financial world to meet all the most promising startups, explains Edge. "Even the smaller companies that couldn't, at this stage, afford to exhibit at ECOC will get some exposure," he says. "They'll be given speaking opportunities at the forum."

Also indicative of the growth of the European telecommunications economy is ECOC's expanded recruitment area, which will be triple the size of last year's space. All companies actively recruiting at ECOC will be listed in the trade publication

Communications News as well as on the Website www.commsmoves.com, a tool for jobseekers in the industry. The site is also accessible via the ECOC homepage (www.ecoc-exhibition.com).

Debuting this year is ECOC's "virtual exhibition," which will include three-dimensional product image displays and technical specification sheets, streaming media presentations, links to key industry Websites, and a special recruitment area. Dubbed "Light Source," the site will prove useful for attendees who would like to arrange appointments with exhibitors in advance of the show. Light Source will also be available for those who cannot attend the conference, accessible through the ECOC home page beginning Sept. 1 and for a full calendar year thereafter.

For the first time, ECOC will be held in conjunction with the International Conference on Plastic Optical Fibers (POF), an event dedicated to addressing polymer optical-fiber and waveguide technologies. One of four ECOC symposia held throughout the week will focus on "Polymer Fiber Communication." The other scheduled symposia include "The Convergence of IP and Optical Networking," "Optical Interconnects," and "Photonic Crystals."

The technical program will run from Sunday, Sept. 30, through Thursday, Oct. 4, and will feature 300 contributed papers, invited papers, and tutorials on a range of subjects including fibers, cables, and fiber components; optoelectronic and integrated optical devices; system technologies; and networks and switching.

Ten short courses will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 30-five in the morning and five in the afternoon. Two workshops will also take place: "How to Start your Photonics Business," sponsored by the IEEE/LEOS Benelux Chapter; and "Photonic Metro and Access Networks," sponsored by the IST-OPTIMIST Project.

The exhibition portion of the event will run from 9:30 am to 5 pm on Monday, Oct. 1; from 9:30 am to 5 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 2; and from 9:30 am to 4 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

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