A preview of coming attractions

by Stephen M. Hardy

While my usual rule is not to use this space to talk about Lightwave, we're about to do something significant enough to warrant an exception. Next month will bring not only a new year, but a new look to Lightwave—and a new philosophy about how we cover the fiber-optics market.

We're all familiar with the fact that increasing demands for voice, video, and data are the foundation of the optical communications business proposition. At Lightwave, these bandwidth triggers not only give us something to write about, but also have a direct effect on us as a magazine. Just as the people who drive the demand for your products or service offerings are using more high-speed communications resources, you are too. And that means that when you need information, you're going online to get it in addition to looking through the pages of Lightwave. Even when you do flip through the pages of Lightwave, you're likely doing so via your computer—about 80% of our readers get the magazine in digital format.

Now at this point, I will make a confession: We at Lightwave, like most publication staffs, traditionally have thought print edition first and digital edition second. That's why the digital edition hasn't been much more than a picture of the print magazine packed into a neat little PDF package all these years.

However, as I just explained, that doesn't make sense now that most of you receive Lightwave digitally. It also doesn't make sense because when we start thinking about Lightwave as a primarily digital publication, Meghan and I realize that we can now offer you in the pages of the "magazine" a lot of the benefits you've only associated with websites.

So here are some of the things you'll see instituted next month as part of our redesign:

• Embedded video: Our front cover will feature our new "First Take" video, located where the mailing label is now. (It's a digital publication—who needs a mailing label?) We'll use the feature to offer our view on industry events or to provide you with additional information we couldn't fit elsewhere in the issue. "First Take" will be only one of a number of video features we'll introduce throughout the year. If you don't want the video because of file size concerns, don't worry; we'll offer you the option of downloading the publication without it. You can also use Internet-based access so file size won't become a storage issue.

• Links to online content: Not just links, but lots of links. For example, each article will have a list of links you can follow to relevant, related content online that Meghan and I have vetted. You'll also find links to the best content we've provided on our website each month, as well as to additional resources available on our site and others.

• A way to talk to us and other subscribers about what you're reading: Our digital edition partner has created a way for you to post comments about the articles in the publication—or anything else of interest—and share them with other readers and the Lightwave staff. Just press the "Comments" button at the top of the screen and have at it.

• A new, more readable design: All right, we admit that it's really annoying to have to hop around the magazine to get from one end of an article to the other. So we're going to stop making you do that. All of our articles will start on their own page and run consecutively until they end. (If they're not long enough to fill the last page, we'll probably have to jump that last little bit to pair it with the end of some other article. Hey, there's only so much we can do.) For those of you who print out articles from the digital edition to read later, that means you won't have to hunt down four unrelated page numbers to get the entire article. And we're reformatting the page dimensions so they'll fit better on standard 8.5Ã�11-inch paper, so you won't go blind trying to read them.

Of course, not everyone gets the digital edition. Those of you who continue to receive Lightwave in print will benefit from a cleaner, easier to read, more updated look. We'll also provide URLs for many of the links mentioned above so that you can access the same additional content the next time you're in front of your computer. And who knows—maybe our extra features may tempt you to give the digital edition a try.

A lot of the changes we made came as a result of input from readers who responded to a questionnaire we sent earlier this year. I thank those of you who responded—and I think you'll agree next month that we've made Lightwave a more useful information resource for you. I look forward to your feedback.

Stephen M. Hardy
Editorial Director & Associate Publisher
stephenh@pennwell.com

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