Trends are driven by markets, and China is currently driving the market.
Eliezer Manor, Shirat Enterprises, firstname.lastname@example.org
The trend started with standard large consumer market products, continued with commodities and now is taking over high-tech products. For our purpose, the definition of high-tech products is not those resulting from sophisticated technologies but new products introduced in markets. They are a result of novel technologies, but more than that, a result of initiatives and capabilities to define and commercialize such new products.
This is China today: a fertile ground where advanced technologies developed around the world are absorbed and transformed into new products by small and large companies, under the management of inspired entrepreneurs.
This trend also will radiate and influence the future of photonics-related industries. Electro-optic components and devices will be the building blocks of new products commercialized in the world markets. It is impossible to predict what kind of photonics-based products will dominate future markets, but they probably will be related to, among others, efficient energy use, such as power LEDs for illumination; to sustainable energy sources, such as more efficient photocells; to optical sensors, medical equipment and biophotonics; to optical fiber and free-space communication; to optical computing; to environmental protection; and to machining and manufacturing equipment. Photonics also will play a central role in many related nanotechnologies and, in particular, their applications.
It is clear that, as a result of the financial turmoil, trends will be dominated more and more by real market needs than by financial engineering and virtual businesses. The ability to identify and specify new products needed by the markets as well as novel technologies that can stand behind their engineering development are two interrelated tasks, playing the roles of the chicken and the egg – sometimes starting with a technology that determines a product for a new market niche or starting with a new market need that determines a product or a service.
These processes must happen on fertile ground where markets meet technologies, but human initiative and creativity are the facilitators and the catalysts.
So I say, go to China. Be proactive. All these ambient conditions, parameters and factors are waiting for enthusiastic, courageous and ingenious entrepreneurs who can bring novel technologies and new ideas to market.