A great endorsement of this country’s technological talent is the decision by one of the world’s sexiest IC companies, Inphi, to set up a mixed signal design centre in Northamptonshire. And it’s a decision which should give Lord Mandy, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pause for thought.
Until now, all Inphi’s designers were in the US. Inphi could have done what so many Western companies do when they want more designers, and that’s to go and set up design centres in India and China and staff them with IC designers on salaries 10X less than US or UK designers’ salaries.
But Inphi didn’t. Why not? Because Inphi, which has been growing like a weed for five years, does difficult stuff. It needs the best mixed signal designers in the world and those are in the US and UK.
“We’re keen to get involved in the 100Gbit per second market”, says Mike Harwood, who’s setting up the centre for Inphi, and has hired five designers so far.
Inphi has set itself as a maker of ICs for Cloud computing – in other words bloody fast ICs.
Inphi already has a 100Gbit per second coherent transimpedance amplifier.
Speed is of the essence because those mammoth users of Cloud computing, Amazon and Google estimate, respectively, that every 100ms of latency loses 1% of sales, and an extra 500ms in search page generation time drops traffic by 20%.
So, as Gordon Brown talks about generating a million new high-tech jobs, and Mandy talks about supporting high-tech companies, hopefully they will focus their efforts on supporting people with real, internationally recognised and valued skills.
Not plausible shysters who give a good Power Point presentation.