Weather men

Two days in Bordeaux at an investment conference duly produced two published pieces, one on the current state of biophotonics markets and one doing a similar thing for cleantech.

A capricious mix of optimism and nervous glancing at overhead thunderclouds has become the new standard in both sectors. Folks connected with LED lighting predict a revolutionary couple of years ahead, while delegates from the solar sector mostly looked like a revolution had just run them over with a steamroller. The future course for biomedical optics looks certain; an aging population in need of ophthalmic surgery will help take care of that, especially once the high-volume consumable items associated with the procedures are properly incorporated into the value chain. But the circumstantial evidence suggests that for now no one involved is actually making much money.

Not shown: a graph predicting that by the end of 2015 there will be two working IP devices for every person on the planet, all down to video streaming, machine to machine traffic, and device to device communication. Also not shown: the other graph indicating that the current capacity of data networks is nowhere close to handling that kind of avalanche effectively.

The carrier’s business model is broken,” said Ian Jenks, whose company Intune Networks is in the network virtualization business and whose presentation could have come with a klaxon, if the message wasn’t becoming familiar from other quarters too. By the end of 2013, the cost of transmitting one bit of data will be greater than the revenues received for doing so.” In this case the cloud brings not just a silver lining but the route to salvation.


January 17, 2013