As a leader in laser marking, engraving and etching, we believe it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and research within the field. The ways in which we’ve done this include continually updating our website with industry news, as well as attending conferences and trade shows throughout the United States.
Another way that we discover more about the laser industry is by interviewing fellow influencers within the field. By speaking with experts, our goal is to both gain new insights and share that information with our employees and customers.
One of the experts we’ve chosen to interview is Allen Rogee, President of Laser Markets Research which provides services such as research and reporting for clients within the laser world. For this post, we asked him about his background in laser marking, his overall research process and more.
- According to your company website, you have almost 20 years of experience in technology market research. How did this research shift into being primarily related to lasers? What sparked your interest in the topic?
I received my MBA from Arizona State University, and then took a position as an analyst with a boutique market research company named In-Stat. Throughout the years, In-Stat went through some ownership changes, and eventually they were purchased by a larger research company, but the fit between the two companies wasn’t good, and In-Stat was closed down.
I started interviewing with other research companies in wireless areas, but an associate of mine told me about a position he heard about for a laser market research analyst. I applied and got the job. Their thinking was that it would be near impossible to find an experienced laser analyst, so why not hire an experienced technical market researcher and let them learn about lasers, and that is what they did. While learning the wide-range of laser technologies that exist today was a challenge, continually learning new technology is the norm for anyone in a technology field.
- How do you determine which aspects of the laser industry to research? What is the typical research process like for you?
My goal is to keep accurate numbers for all applications and types of lasers, but doing so over a short period of time is just an impossible task. Rather, what I do every year is pick three or four laser areas, then really “deep-dive” into these areas to fully understand them and learn what drives them.
What I typically do is create a list of companies producing laser products in the area I’m researching and then I’ll spend some time on their web sites, will read all the news within the last year or so concerning these types of lasers, and look at which companies purchased other companies and why, what new products were introduced, etc.
Then I contact as many companies in these areas as possible and discuss these trends. Other than the “deep-dive” topics every year, I also revisit other laser companies I have covered in the past for a more cursory update.
- Lasers are used for a variety of industries. Which industries and applications requiring lasers do you foresee having the most continued success?
The laser segments that tend to grow the most tend to either be segments where the underlying application which uses lasers has had strong demand, or they are segments where a laser allows the application to gain an advantage.
For example, in just a very short time over 2 to 3 years, the use of lasers in commercial cinemas has grown from non-existent to thousands of lasers being used in theaters. This is where either one or more lasers is used to produce white light which is used as the light source for movie theaters. This is a trend that has been driven by the demand for larger and larger screens that require increasing amounts of light. For smaller theaters, lasers play a role reducing operating and cooling costs, and with a large number of these smaller theaters opening in China, this has really begun to spur growth.
A second fast-growing laser application is in cosmetic and aesthetic procedures. These include wrinkle removal, tattoo removal, scar and blemish removal, hair removal, and the recently FDA-approved SculpSure and Zerona used for fat reduction. While SculptSure uses lasers to melt fat, Zerona uses “cold” lasers to disrupt the fat cell membranes, and both of these laser applications compete with other non-laser applications. Overall, the non-invasive fat reduction markets have become a large industry.
- What are some new trends to look out for within the laser industry?
The trends with lasers are not very different than the trends we see with other technology over the years. TV and computer displays went from CRT’s to LCD’s to OLED’s. While the kinds of lasers and laser applications remain very diverse, the overall trend is that gas and liquid lasers are being replaced by solid-state lasers, and solid-state lasers are being replaced by semiconductor lasers. Please note that lasers are named for the material they use to amplify their light, so a fiber laser is considered a solid-state laser, regardless that it is pumped by semiconductor lasers.
The second trend is solid-state lasers being replaced with semiconductor lasers. Here the biggest limitation is the power level, wavelength, and sometimes brightness, but in recent years, semiconductor lasers have become much more powerful, and more wavelengths are appearing every day. While it’s going to take many more years for either of these trends to fully play-out, they both are a trend in-progress.
- What tips would you give for someone who is interested in learning more about the laser industry but doesn’t have the time and resources to conduct research or attend industry conferences?
As with many things today, the internet is always a good place to start for information about lasers, but as with any subject, the internet is also filled with information that is inaccurate or heavily biased.
So other than the internet, I would suggest you talk with people in the field that work with lasers. Reaching out to people working in a laser service bureau might be a place to start, but overall, anyone that works with lasers daily would be my recommendation.
You Can Learn More About Lasers Today!
If you’re interested in learning even more about lasers, you can visit Mr. Rogee’s company website, Laser Markets Research.