By Susan Fogarty, On-line Editor
This week marks the occasion of two significant events in the fiber-optic communications industry: the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) and the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC). Both conferences opened on Sunday and feature extensive technical programs as well as vendor exhibits.
Held on the French Riviera in Nice this year, ECOC kicked off with a full day of short courses and workshops, all discussing optical communications. The plenary session began Monday with opening addresses from Jean-Jacques Damlamian, group executive in charge of the development branch of France Telecom, and Gilles Kahn, vice president for science of INRIA, the French national laboratory for computer science and control.
NFOEC's program for Sunday included a seminar on dense wavelength-division multiplexing and next-generation networks, followed by a reception. Invited papers and keynote speeches were presented on Monday.
In his keynote address, Richard C. Notebaert, chairman and chief executive officer of Ameritech, a co-sponsor of NFOEC, called himself a "technology agnostic," asserting that communications customers are not concerned with the technology, but only that their service works. He reminded attendees that "technology is only an end to customer satisfaction" and urged them to keep the customer at the forefront of their companies' plans.