Profile: Nelson Diaz

Apr 29, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: President and CEO of Longmont, Colo.-based InPhase Technologies, which is developing a holographic data storage system.
Background: Mr. Diaz has spent nearly 25 years in the digital storage business. He founded InPhase in December 2000 with six research scientists from Bell Labs.
The commoditization of storage: “Storage has always revolved around density and capacity. People want to store more and more digital content, so [the industry] needs to continue to give more density at the same price point. Now storage is a commodity. The price points are very critical, especially as it relates to capacity. That has created a push to create new technology that allows for high-capacity storage at a value proposition,” he said.
Holographic storage: Holographic storage is a value proposition that hasn’t really claimed the market yet, Mr. Diaz said. InPhase is developing a data storage system based on the technology, which relies on the concept of holography and the intersection of two laser beams to record and store data. Holographic storage stores the data more quickly, since its transfer rate is more than 10 times faster than with a DVD, he said. “Let’s say you wanted to write a movie on a compact disc or DVD. The time it takes to transfer the movie is basically the movie or half the movie. With holographic storage, it takes less than two minutes.”
Product development: InPhase currently sells its media-the holographic disks-to companies in the holographic storage development arena as well as to companies in the optical storage business. In addition, InPhase is developing a drive to read and write the data. The system, known as Tapestry, will be available in volume in 2004, with prototypes and tests next year.
Cost comparison: A digital tape that costs about $100 can store 20 gigabytes of uncompressed video, or about nine hours of standard-definition footage. A holographic disk costs about $50 and can store 100 gigabytes, or 44 hours of standard-definition footage.
Target market: InPhase is aiming for the professional video market, including broadcast, digital cinema and data archival. The company has demonstrated its system to CBS, HBO, NBC and ABC.