Plenary Session Targets Change
ATLANTA, March 26 -- A trio of speakers at OFC's plenary session said change is the engine of renewal for the optical communications community. Eric Mentzer, vice president and CTO at Intel; Kevin N. Kalkhoven, cofounder of Kalkhoven, Pettit & Levin Ventures; and Eduardo Gelbstein, special fellow with the United Nations in Switzerland, all offered opinions on how to fix what's broken.
Mentzer offered as an example how trucking companies responded to a changing economic environment spawned by deregulation. By modifying truck bodies to increase mileage, the industry was able to reduce fuel costs, and by adopting other technological advances, the industry was able to grow and prosper. The moral: Adapt and prosper.
Kalkhoven said that in order to survive, companies must pursue new markets, new trends and not dwell on old technology. Simply focusing on the core technology, Kalkhoven asserted will doom companies to march in time to a 2 percent annual GDP growth rate. The optics community, he said, must look to the consumer market, where the potential for growth is not limited by traditional restraints.
Gelbstein told the audience that potential for growth exists in countries going from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. He cited Costa Rica as an example of a country that went from an agricultural exporter to one whose exports of technology now reach 40 percent. The digital divide, Gelbstein said, should be viewed as an opportunity, not a problem.
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