James Dyson, founder of British-based vacuum manufacturer Dyson, has criticised the government for focusing all of its efforts on growth in software companies, claiming that it shouldn’t forget high-growth hardware industries.
Speaking to the BBC at the opening of the Royal College of Art (RCA) Dyson Building on Monday, which houses 40 business incubators for designers and engineers to foster British invention, Dyson said that the UK shouldn’t be placing all its bets on London’s start-up scene.
The government has made a string of announcements around nurturing the flourishing technology start-up scene in Shoreditch, later dubbed Tech City, which has led to the likes of Amazon and Google investing in the area.
“Government money is going into Silicon Roundabout [Tech City] and other areas, but not into the production of hardware, which is what this [RCA] is about. The hardware trade is growing at a much faster rate around the world than social media or any of the sorts of things at Silicon Roundabout,” said Dyson.
“Apple’s success is not based on software at all, it’s based on hardware. All the other top twenty hardware companies are growing at a much faster rate than the Googles and Microsofts of this world, so much so that they are getting into hardware.”
He added: “[The government] shouldn’t forget the production of hardware, the manufacturing jobs it creates, the exports it creates and that is growing at a much faster rate than social media or software.”
Kyle McNabb VP and practice leader for application development and delivery at Forrester Research spoke to Computerworld UK and said that although Dyson’s point isn’t incorrect, governments should be looking to encompass growth from all aspects of the technology sector.
“I think Dyson is partially correct. You can’t necessarily look at software and hardware as independent. What he’s pointing at is that the end consumer doesn’t care about the software or the hardware, it’s about the product and the whole experience.”
“If you look at these things in isolation you are missing the point. Our research is showing that the overall product experience and the engineering design and discipline have to be invested in.”
He added. “Whether that’s software, or more hardware, it doesn’t matter. The discipline around total engineering is what is sorely needed in the US and Western Europe.”
In other Tech City news, it was recently revealed that three local Shoreditch technology businesses have clubbed together to launch a new high-speed fibre network and secure cloud services, catering to the cluster of high-tech businesses in East London.
The Shoreditch Network is a collaboration between bandwidth infrastructure provider euNetworks, cloud hosting provider Carrenza, and network company Optimity.