ECOC header

Plenary session


View the conference
sessions >



The 2019 plenary session offers ECOC delegates the change to hear from five industry leading experts who will provide insights into new and emerging technologies that have the potential to shape the future of photonics. 

Location: RDS, Concert Hall (Hall 7)
Date: Monday 23 September 2019

Plenary speakers

Katherine SchmidkeKatharine Schmidtke, Sourcing Manager, Optical Technology Strategy Facebook, USA

Katharine is responsible for Optical Technology Strategy at Facebook. She has more than 20 years experience in the Opto-Electronics industry, including positions at Finisar, JDSU, and New Focus.

She has a Ph.D. in non-linear optics from Southampton University in the UK and completed post-doctoral research at Stanford University.


Dr. Chih-Lin IDr. Chih-Lin I, China Mobile Chief Scientist, Wireless Technologies, China Mobile Research Institute

Chih-Lin I is CMCC Chief Scientist of Wireless Technologies. She received IEEE ComSoc Stephen Rice Prize, Fred W. Ellersick Prize, and 2015 Industrial Innovation Award.

She is the Chair of FuTURE 5G SIG, the Chair of WAIA Executive Committee, the Chair of O-RAN TSC, an Executive Board Member of GreenTouch, a Network Operator Council Founding Member of ETSI NFV, a Steering Board Member and Vice Chair of WWRF, a Steering Committee member and the Publication Chair of IEEE 5G Initiative, a member of IEEE ComSoc SDB, SPC, and CSCN-SC, and a Scientific Advisory Board Member of Singapore NRF. Her current research interests center around "From Green & Soft to Open & Smart".


Timothy John WhitleyTimothy John Whitley, Managing Director, Research and Innovation, BT, UK

Professor Timothy Whitley is a BT Distinguished Engineer and serves as MD of Applied Research for BT and MD of BT's R&D Campus 'Adastral Park' in Suffolk, England.

He is accountable for all aspects of BT's Global Research activities, which includes applied research, technology and partnerships with world leading universities.  From 2007 to 2011 he was BT Group Strategy Director.

Tim holds a BSc in Physics and a PhD in Optical Fibre Systems. Tim is a Board member for the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and a BT visiting Professor with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex. 

In December 2016, Professor Whitley was appointed as a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) by the UK Government.  In February 2018 Tim was admitted as BT's William Pitt Fellow at Pembroke College Cambridge.  Tim joined BT in 1981 as a Telephone Engineering apprentice in North Wales and has held roles in Research, Technical Architecture, Strategic Analysis and Corporate Strategy.


Simon Lu Simon Lu, President, President of Huawei's Transmission Network, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Simon Lu (Lú Yìquán) graduated from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Lu joined Huawei in 2000, and had been serving successively as research scientist in optical networks, optical network standard patent manager, submarine cable system architect, and 40G/100G WDM product development manager.

Furthermore, Lu subsequently served as WDM domain COO, backbone WDM domain manager, and director of Huawei's Network Transmission Product Portfolio & Lifecycle Mgmt Dept. Lu has accumulated extensive experience in product R&D, marketing, and industry management.


J.C. Séamus Davis J.C. Séamus Davis, Professor of Physics at Oxford University, Oxford, UK; Professor of Quantum Physics at University College Cork, IE; Emeritus Professor of Physics at Cornell University, NY, USA.

 Séamus Davis is an Irish physicist and specialist in the field of quantum materials.  He is the founder of the Davis Group where his research concentrates on the fundamental physics of electronic, magnetic and atomic quantum matter found in these compounds.  Séamus earned a B.Sc. in Physics from the University College Cork 1983 and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California Berkeley, USA in 1989.

He was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California Berkeley and a Faculty Physicist at Berkeley National Laboratory between 1993 and 2003. He then became Professor of Physics at Cornell University, New York, in 2003 and a Senior Physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York in 2006. In 2007 he was appointed SUPA Distinguished Professor of Physics at St. Andrews University, Scotland, and in 2008 the J.G. White Distinguished Professor of Physics at Cornell University.

He has also served as Director of the Center for Emergent Superconductivity, an Energy Frontier Research Center of the US Dept. of Energy (2009-2014). In 2019 he was appointed J.G. White Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and Professor of Quantum Physics at University College Cork.  His research has been recognized globally, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes.