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PRI lets industry set the agenda

05 Oct 2009

Optics companies in France and beyond will benefit from the inauguration of PHOTON Recherche Industrie, an industry-led show dedicated solely to photonics.

PHOTON Recherche Industrie (PRI) is a new photonics industry tradeshow to be held in Reims, France, on 18–19 November. Designed to showcase innovation across the French optics community, PRI will be held annually under the auspices of the Association Fran├žaise de l'Optique (AFOP).

Although not created as a competitor to France's existing OPTO event, the intention is for PRI to provide an alternative forum in which the photonics environment is not diluted by the coexistence of parallel tradeshows on-site, for the benefit of companies and visitors alike.

"Most optics events in France are purely industrial- or research-oriented, and the industry is centred around regional clusters focused on specific areas of expertise," explained PRI spokesman Mark Zacharria of Elucido Partners. "PRI will provide a platform where smaller companies from those regional clusters can coexhibit alongside major industrial leaders, so each can benefit from the unique customer draw generated by the variety of exhibitors and the strong scientific programme."

Although the majority of those exhibitors are French, Zaccharia says that major industry players from other European countries and further afield will be well represented: "There are now 55 companies signed up and the exhibitor base is very diversified, from optical components to regional clusters and laser sources. Some of France's leading optics companies have come on board as partners for the event, and their engagement has undoubtedly helped to attract other exhibitors."

The inaugural PRI will run alongside three other scientific gatherings held concurrently in Reims, a move intended to ensure a strong first year for the show and provide a solid programme for visitors. The organizers are in discussions with the European Optical Society about holding PRI 2010 alongside the EOS annual congress in Paris, and there are plans for PRI to subsequently be held in the French capital in alternate years.

"One major advantage of alternating venues in this way is that the Paris PRI would take place in the years when there is no LASER show in Munich, setting the stage for a large-scale international event in a centrally located European capital," noted Zacharria. "The hope is that PRI will evolve into a major industry show in those years, while the shows outside Paris in the alternate years will provide a modest-sized event with a more intimate and casual setting."

The decision to launch PRI was taken late in the first quarter of 2009. The fact that the show has already achieved its goals in registering partners and exhibitors is an early indicator of the event's potential success as well as a strong signal for the industry as a whole, according to Zacharria.

"The European photonics sector is expected to show tentative growth this year, having been less hard-hit by the economic crisis than some others," he noted. "Fifty-five companies making the investment late in the year to exhibit at PRI could be considered as a reflection of their positive outlook for the near future."

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