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Optica Incubator on Next-Gen Fiber Sensing: How to Exploit Telecom Infrastructure?

05 - 07 February 2025
Optica Global Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA


  • Emanuele Virgillito, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
  • Ettore Biondi, California Institute of Technology, United States

Program Overview

Optical fiber networks for telecommunications have become a pervasive infrastructure with thousands of kilometers of deployed fiber, both in the submarine and terrestrial scenario. At the same time, geophysics, seismology, and climate change science started to employ optical fibers, given their excellent sensing capabilities and spatial coverage, to measure induced mechanical stresses (e.g., earthquakes, currents, human activities) and temperature for long-term monitoring of climate change impact. Conventional sensors, however, require dedicated infrastructure and are limited to sparse point-wise measurements. 

This incubator meeting aims to bring together the telecom industry and the scientific community to explore the usage of the deployed telecommunication fiber networks as a large environmental sensor network, providing added value to the existing infrastructure and opening the doors for the accumulation of large datasets for scientists and the development of the next generation of disaster early warning network services.

Scope and Goals

This incubator aims to bring together engineers and scientists from optical networking and geophysics to find common ground on fiber sensing capabilities and the challenges in developing sensing network services alongside telecommunications. The incubator will bring together individuals from the optical industry and governmental agencies to identify potential funding and research opportunities. It will also discuss what kind of sensing services, such as disaster early warning, can be offered and what shape they should have.

Aside from investigating sensing techniques of telecommunications fiber, the incubator will focus on pragmatic and engineering aspects related to the joint requirements of the scientific community, the data quality of service, and the safety constraints of network operators. Moreover, the incubator will discuss the economics of a relationship between the service providers and end-users of the technology.

Through panels, breakout sessions, moderate discussions, and informal networking, the incubator meeting will address the following problems:

  • What kind of data and degree of accuracy does the Earth science community need from the optical data networks?
  • How and where can network operators provide access to their fiber infrastructure for additional environmental sensing devices without disrupting communication services?
  • What network architecture can cope with issues related to early warning latency, reliability, and big-data storage?
  • Can the optical data networks streaming telemetry integrate specific sensor data for disaster early warning systems?
  • Who is going to pay for the sensing network services?

Meeting Schedule

The program, including breakfasts and lunches, will be held at Optica Global Headquarters, 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Dinners, which are also included in the registration fee, will be held at local restaurants. All times approximate, check back for a detailed agenda.

DAY 1 - 05 February 2025

  • Welcome dinner, location to be announced, at 18:00 EST

DAY 2 - 06 February 2025

  • Breakfast begins at 08:00 EST at Optica Global Headquarters
  • Program begins at 08:30 EST, lunch is included onsite​
  • Networking dinner, location to be announced, begins at 18:00 EST

DAY 3 - 07 February 2025

  • Breakfast begins at 08:00 EST at Optica Global Headquarters
  • Program begins at 08:30 EST, lunch is included onsite​
  • Adjourn at 14:00 EST

Are you interested in attending?

A limited number of spots have been set aside at this invitation-only meeting for interested individuals to apply for. Please send a brief letter of interest along with a CV to the hosts at

Additional Information

This page will provide you with information on receiving a letter of invitation if required for your visa, as well as additional logistical and area information.

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