Work Group 1
Information and Communication

Information and Communication Technologies, underpinned by optical broadband communuication technoologies, will address many of the socio-economic challenges. ICT supports and enables new ways of living and managing resources. ICT and related applications will offer new job and wealth opportunities, provide people living in secluded areas the same opportunities as those living in large cities.

Additionally, broadband communicaton technologies significantly reduce carbon emission, and enable most of the services used within our homes, from education to work , from government to health, from entertainment to security. In most advanced countries, education and technically advanced home-based environments are enabled through broadband communication activities.

We will soon live in a world in which everything that could be connected will be connected. As well as connecting homes, broadband technologies will also connect businesses, equipments and infrastructures for research and production, opening up new commercial opportunities and enabling different ways of living. All these solutions will need photonic systems and technologies, because they are the only possible way to sufficiently reduce energy consumption, whilst still providing the high levels of performance demanded. Photonics is the enabling technology for all wireless and wired broadband technologies.

Demands for connectivity and data are growing exponentially. Moreover, information storage, management and security will require new, dedicated solutions to match these demands. All such challenges will need broadband access to network resources, a high capacity flexible network, and a large number of network environments, such as datacentres, power grids and research infrastructures.

In addition to these challenges, increasing global competition from APAC (China, India) and the US requires greater innovation and more entrepreneurship in Europe to reinforce and grow its leading role. The ability of European industry to customise and provide successful end-to-end solutions, particularly photonic solutions, will be the key to securing future employment for Europe.

Major photonics needs

Photonic systems and networks, architecture and functionalities must undergo significant changes to cope with new applications. With the growing concern about energy efficiency and carbon emissions, significant changes are necessary in all network layers and segments (core/metro/access/datacentre). Moreover, major needs exist to make the networks faster, more secure, more flexible, more transparent, easier to use, and to bring them closer to the customer. Functionalities for which photonics can bring unique advantages, have to be addressed. These will primarily be highcapacity, high-speed and low latency transmission of data between arbitrary end-points, and could also extend into areas such as encryption, switching, quantum communication and computing.

Novel and disruptive techniques are required to cope with the ever-increasing demands for capacity, especially in the backbone networks, for which a transmission capacity of several times 100 Tbps per fibre is predicted by the year 2020. Today the growth in datacentre traffic is demanding more energy efficient ways of computing and moving data across the network. Photonics opens up exciting opportunities for solving the bandwidth limitation of data interconnects at rack, board and chip level. A major challenge for the coming years will be the development of high-bandwidth, low energy consumption optical interconnects at low cost. New services, such as cloud computing require significant improvements in the network architecture and high-speed (fibre-based) access to the customer.

Efficient production of photonic systems and photonic integrated circuits (PICs) is a major need. Significantly more bandwidth is required for next generation applications in computing and storage, in communication infrastructure, and in the access market. By integrating programmable electronic and photonic circuits in a single package, such optical ASIC or FPGA technology can break through the reach, power, port density, cost, and circuit board complexity limitations of conventional solutions. In this context, an efficient production of PICs will be essential. Photonic integration will play a key role in reducing cost, space and power consumption, and improving flexibility and reliability. Additionally, development of simple and robust on-chip test capabilities and generic packaging and assembly options will be required for achieving cost efficient production processes. Overall, it is evident that the development and product introduction of advanced photonic technologies will require significantly more financial resources than in the past, thereby exacerbating the risk that, if Europe is unable to raise sufficient budgets, such technologies will move to APAC.

Further information

The detailed Photonics21 Work Group 1 photonics research and innovation priorities are outlined if you download the Photonics Roadmap.

You will find the Work Group 1 research and innovation priorities for Horizon 2020 Work programme 2016/2017 in the section Photonics PPP – Research and Innovation Priorities.

Information and presentations of the Work Group 1 workshops can be found in the Photonics21 member area.