Singapore sees key role for photonics

The Singapore government’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has identified photonics, which uses light rather than electronics for all aspects of communications and networking, as a key technology for the future, IDA announced Thursday.

IDA picked out key roles for photonics, optical networking and next-generation Internet applications (NGIA) at its Third Technology Roadmap Symposium, produced by IDA in collaboration with industry partners. Next-generation Internet applications (NGIA) will combine devices, services and businesses on top of an intelligent, robust, secure infrastructure, IDA said in a report of the symposium.

“Photonics for application in information and communication technology (ICT) is a revolutionary technology; one that is as fundamental and impactful as the invention of the transistor,” IDA said in the report. “The world of photonic technologies has long-term potential … in areas such as tunable lasers, all-optical switches, dispersion compensators, photonic crystal fibers, and DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing) components.”

Photonics will be part of next-generation optical networks, which will complete the move away from communication networks designed for voice transmission, IDA said.

“In the optical age, the report sees the emergence of intelligent high-capacity Internet Protocol-based optical networks that can provide dynamic and instantaneous bandwidth-on-demand, while being scalable, robust, cost-effective and efficient to operate and manage,” IDA said.

On top of that infrastructure, IDA expects that Web services, peer-to-peer and grid computing will help bring about a new paradigm where resources, data, applications and services will be intertwined to support future activities over the Internet.

According to IDA, specific Internet developments will include:

— a ubiquitous Internet accessed by a diversity of devices

— the emerging concept of ‘immersion’, a two-way Web that is more media-rich and interactive while enabling greater functionality

— an evolution of market and economic dynamics to a service and subscription-based model

— a major shift in software development methodologies, adopting an increasingly agile and on-demand model

— an underlying layer of standards for interoperability and interactivity between heterogeneous environments, removing barriers to openness

— a higher level of collaboration, facilitated by an increase in business-to-business, machine-to-machine and application-to-application interactions.

IDA releases its technology roadmap to encourage industry players to collaborate in developing new products and services to bolster the country’s competitiveness, according to IDA.

“Early adoption of emerging infocomm technologies is essential to give Singapore an added competitive edge in business and economic opportunities,” IDA said in the report.

IDA can be contacted at +65-322-1999 or online at