Do you believe that the optimism in the UK economy is good news for the electronics sector?
Joep van Beurden: Optimism in the UK economy is a reflection of consumer confidence, which usually translates into growth for the electronics sector.
It also bodes well for the long term; a strong economy boosts electronics and technology companies’ investment in innovation which creates a more buoyant job market.
What is the biggest opportunity you see for the industry as a whole?
Joep van Beurden: Without a shadow of a doubt the biggest opportunity for the industry is the ‘Internet of Things’ and everything that it encompasses.
The Internet is moving beyond smartphones and tablets and helping to power billions of everyday devices, from parking meters and home thermostats to heart rate monitors and glasses.
2014 will be the turning point for technology moving from just connecting people through the Internet to connecting almost everything.
This represents massive opportunities in not just hardware, but also in software, devices and services.
What is the main threat to the industry?
Joep van Beurden: Part of the strength of the UK’s technology talent lies in its diversity, and I feel that if stricter regulations are placed on immigration this will have an adverse effect on our industry’s talent pool.
The same would be true if the UK decides to leave the EU. It would surely put a bottleneck on our influx of talent and cripple our global reputation as a technology leader.
Additionally, any cuts in housing and infrastructure investment, especially in localised technology hubs such as Cambridge, make it that much more difficult for talent to flow into the area.