September 14, 2018
After almost two decades at Light Reading (with occasional time off for bad behavior), it's time for me to call it a day at the company I founded (along with my partner and friend Peter Heywood) in February 2000.
It has been an interesting run. The industry that Light Reading serves today is completely different to the one that we entered, when our remit was to cover just one (1) exciting new technology, called "optical networking," and we had the luxury of a relatively clearly defined market, delineated by industry standards.
Today, as communications technology continues to constantly define and redefine the world, the complexity of what it is that Light and Heavy Reading covers has exploded, as have the opportunities that comms technology presents for companies that operate as part of the communications supply chain, and global users of this technology.
Before I leave, I'd like to share with you my view of how our industry is tracking in bringing next-gen technologies to market.
In a word: Meh.
And that's pretty much all I'm going to say about that here. (Those of you with strong constitutions and a vested, or unvested, interest in where our industry is heading can click here to read my more detailed analysis).
For the purpose of this, my farewell column on LR, let's just agree that the comms industry has never been in a more chaotic or confusing state. In this environment, the importance of maintaining and growing LR's role as the industry's authority on the business and societal impact of communications tech has never been greater.
Covering the next-gen communications market is an overwhelming responsibility, but LR brings a unique advantage to the mission: its commitment to fiercely independent, credible content -- something which is becoming almost unheard of in the age of self-published Internet spume that now passes for "analysis" in our industry.
That unremitting, bloody-minded adherence to the production of high-quality news and analysis, along with our talent for listening to our customers and constantly developing and delivering new products that meet their needs, is what has allowed us to survive and thrive over 18 years. Assuming a continuation of the same strategy by its new owner, Informa, the success of LR and HR are assured. In fact, a huge opportunity awaits…
So where am I off to? Light Reading is a tough act to follow, of course. Companies combining traditional telecom values with disruptive next-gen comms technology are thin on the ground these days, and that's why I'm looking to the sky for my next opportunity.
Laser Light Communications is building a global satellite network that will be the first to deliver unlicensed optical throughout, using lasers rather than radio frequency. Its HALO service will deliver 100Gbit/s connections, anywhere on the planet -- with miltech levels of security -- and at a much lower price than existing terrestrial optical networks.
There's a nice symmetry to this move. Almost 20 years ago, Peter Heywood and myself hitched our threadbare wagons to a wildly disruptive and exciting technology called optical networking when we launched Light Reading. Now, Laser Light is pioneering the work of putting optical networking in space (without the cables yo!).
I'm delighted to be joining Laser Light as vice chairman. You can reach me there at [email protected].
For other matters, or just to stay in touch, please email me at [email protected]
And to all of my friends, both at LR and in the industry beyond, I wish you the very best of luck with this whole next-gen comms thing.
— Stephen M. Saunders MBE, Founder of Light Reading; Vice Chairman, Laser Light Technologies LLC
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