With the telecom industry apparently emerging from the abyss in which it has resided for the past couple of years, In-Stat/MDR is cautiously optimistic with regards to the market for MEMS-based components in optical networks. The high tech market research firm reports that 2003 ended surprisingly strong for this segment and with the increase in customer activity and taking into account the time frame necessary for product evaluation and qualification, those offering MEMS-based solutions appear well situated for slow, steady upward growth in the future. “MEMS is no longer a bad word,” says Marlene Bourne, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. “Companies once avoided use of the term because of concern about reliability — now they don’t because it is seen as a competitive advantage. And some who have never used the term MEMS before are using it — for that very reason.” In-Stat/MDR finds that investors appear optimistic too, having funneled $38 M to MEMS suppliers in the first quarter of 2004 alone. But Bourne points out that a reality check is needed in one particular segment — there are far too many companies pursuing the development of Variable Optical Attenuators, making that sector ready for consolidation.
In-Stat/MDR also found that:
- Despite projected consolidation in some segments, the number of companies who have gone dark or significantly shifted their business models to focus on other technologies, products or markets, new comers continue to enter the field.
- Unit shipments of MEMS-based components for use in optical networking are forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5 percent.
- Shipments of MEMS-based components, other than switches, are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 14.8 percent, and while VOAs will remain a strong factor in these sales, continued growing demand for tunable filters and lasers, as well as dynamic components, coupled with decreasing price points, will help drive sales.
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