Strategic positioning

The consensus among analysts, pundits, and even magazine editors seems to be that the telecom market has hit bottom and will bounce along on the bottom for the rest of the year—and possibly next year as well. Industry consolidation will continue. Survivors will carefully manage their costs. And profits will be slim, as only low-cost, established products will find a buyer.

The general outline of this scenario may prove true, but the specifics for each company, product line, and business plan will vary dramatically. The fact is that some carriers are preparing to invest in next-generation systems. Inventories are being depleted. Bandwidth demand continues to grow. Fortunately, a new generation of technologies has been developed and tested during this slowdown, and is being positioned to satisfy the coming market.

In our first article, for example, Larry Marshall of Lightbit discusses the origins and potential of his company's 2R all-optical regenerator, and its basis in materials science. This same future orientation can be advantageous at the simplest product level. In the case of our article on power monitors, Saroj Sahu of Santec explains how new dynamic networks require optical-channel monitoring to track rapid changes in power. Anticipating and then acting on such market trends is always risky, but considering the risk of standing still, it's the best opportunity for success.

As for positioning products for the future, WDM Solutions has taken a similar strategy. The magazine will now be published as a regular supplement to Lightwave, and distributed separately at all major optical networking conferences. In addition, I will write a monthly column reflecting the engineering focus of WDM Solutions, to appear in Lightwave, Lightwave Europe, and Laser Focus World. It's not the former world of booming markets, but opportunities can exist if you're positioned for them.

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