Related News Links Father of fibre optics may manufacture in India US-based Narinder Singh Kapany focusses on next-generation networks Gaurav Choudhury Tribune News Service New Delhi, January 18 With more than 120 patents to his name and referred to as the father of fibre optics in the world telecom industry, Dr Narinder Singh Kapany, may consider setting up a development and manufacturing facility in India sometime in the future. We may consider doing development and manufacturing later in India, Dr Kapany, told ‘The Tribune’ in an exclusive interview. Dr Kapany, was here recently to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. He was one of the 12 recipients of the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award conferred by the Prime Minister this year. Dr Kapany has been involved in the development of the technology behind devices for endoscopy to high-capacity communication that have changed the medical information and business worlds. He was named as one of the seven unsung heroes by the ‘Fortune’ magazine in its Businessmen of the Century issue couple of years ago. Dr Kapany is the Chairman of K2Optronics Inc., an emerging start-up in the fibre optics communications industry in the USA. “We are focusing on fibre optic components and modules that enable next-generation all optical networks. These products are used by system manufacturers to build dynamic networks optically enabled services,” he said. Born in Moga in Punjab and raised in Dehradun, Dr Kapany studied optics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London. As an entrepreneur and business executive, Dr Kapany has specialised in the process of innovation and management of technology transfer. K2Optronics is positioning itself to play a key role in the telecommunications industry, which by definition today encompasses voice, data, and video transmission technologies. Everyone is aware of the forecasted growth rates and demand projections associated with the Internet, which is being driven largely by the e-commerce revolution, he said. He added that many companies today were being set up to trade solely using the Internet. Late in 1999, for the first time, Internet traffic on the world’s telecommunication networks actually overtook voice traffic levels, an event which was unthinkable 10 years ago, he observed. The major investors in the company include Ally Ventures, Jafco, Advent Venture Partners (UK), Sutter Hill Ventures, the Photonics Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Global Technology Group, Intel Capital and GATX ventures. “We are poised to be a leader in the telecommunications industry by developing the components and modules that form the underpinnings of optical systems in next-generation all-optical networks,” the leading scientist said. According to estimates, the worldwide optical component market is expected to increase from $5 billion in 1999 to $ 24 billion in 2004. Dr Kapany’s first entrepreneurial venture was way back in 1960 when he founded Optics Technology Inc. In 1967, the company went public and in 1973, he founded Kaptron Inc., and was President and CEO until 1990 when he sold the company to technology giant AMP Incorporated. For the next nine years, Dr Kapany was an AMP Fellow, heading the Intrapreneur and Technical Expert Programme and serving as Chief Technologist for Global Communications Business. On his present venture, he said the first product EC 48 was a directly modulated next-generation optic fibre network. To counter the exponential growth in bandwidth, telecommunication companies world-wide are deploying new techniques to increase bandwidth capacity. Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) is one such technology, which has emerged as the leading economical technology of choice for increasing capacity. DWDM enables many light signals to co-exist on the same fibre simultaneously carrying many discreet signals or data/voice channels. This enabled potentially a 100-fold increase in the data carrying capacity of a single fibre link, he said. Dr Kapany is known as much for his philanthropic endowment and promotion of Indian arts as he is for his contribution to optics fibre technology. He has been the founding chairman and major funder of the Sikh Foundation and its activities for over 30 years and as an art collector, he has specialised in Sikh art. He was the prime mover and donated generously for the internationally acclaimed ‘Arts of the Sikh Kingdom’ exhibitions, which started at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and moved to San Francisco later. On the award conferred by the Indian Government, he said it meant a lot as this was the country he was born in.