A few years ago, the 21st century was often seen as the century of light. In fact, photonics has conquered our daily life: It is the technology that is in the core of a fast internet, and it enables such popular products as smartphones, to name but a few examples. Steve Anderson, Director, Industry Development at SPIE, presented a view of photonics markets that took a wider perspective of photonics as an enabling technology for large parts of our economy. In his systematics, he focuses on the photonics value chain, distinguishing four levels:

  • Level 1: Components (e.g., imaging chips, lamps, and lenses)
  • Level 2: Photonic products (e.g., imaging subassemblies, displays, and LED lamps)
  • Level 3: Enabled products (e.g., smartphones and autonomous vehicles)
  • Level 4: Enabled services (e.g., cloud computing, e-commerce, and video streaming)

It is obvious that economic figures derived from these four levels differ severely from the figures for

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