IoT and cars lift hopes for growth in 2014

UK companies are preparing for a year of growth and opportunity in 2014.

Design firms and manufacturers are also gearing up for business growth on the back of a renaissance in the UK car industry.

“There is more confidence to make investment decisions, finance flowing more freely where it is needed. These will drive increased activity,” said Peter Hannon, managing director of Harting UK.

Joep van Beurden

Joep van Beurden

So-called Internet of things technologies are expected to provide business opportunities in various applications ranging from smart metering to automotive and retail.

“Without a shadow of a doubt the biggest opportunity for the industry is the ‘Internet of Things’ and everything that it encompasses,” said Joep van Beurden, CEO of CSR.

“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,” said van Beurden.

“I think that progression of the ‘Internet of Things’ is likely to be an interesting prospect for the industry – with the advanced M2M communication this make possible leading to less intrusive monitoring of patients, enhancement of industrial processes, better supply chain management, greater use of smart metering, more exciting advertising through interactive digital signage, etc. said Fred Dart, CEO of FTDI Chip.

It is worth remembering the electronics supply chain can benefit from a resurgence of car making in the UK.

Executives at Jaguar Land Rover, Visteon, Renesas and Freescale made the plea at the recent conference held by the NMI’s automotive network (AESIN) recently called it “a once in a generation opportunity.

It is the wider adoption of intelligent systems within the vehicle and the surrounding environment, coupled with changes in regulation and legislation which is describing a heightened level of activity in the UK’s automotive industry.

The UK’s automotive industry is in a growth phase again, and automotive production set to grow at 9% per year.

A long term decline in the UK’s electronics manufacturing output seems to have stabilised in the last two years.

“One promising sign is that the trade organization EEF predicts Britain’s manufacturing base will expand by nearly 3% this year (which is better than Germany or France, though they do come from a stronger initial position),” said Dart

“There is a direct correlation between optimistic, confident businesses and those experiencing real growth. What we are seeing is a number of companies that worked hard during the past 36 months, spending time streamlining their businesses etc., are already starting to reap rewards as the global economy begins its recovery,” said David Davies, managing director of south Wales-based contract electronics manufacturer, Axiom Manufacturing Services.

Davies believes the manufacturing sector has built up a momentum in the last 24 months and there is an opportunity to capitalise on it.

“The UK has demonstrated that it is not only ‘cost effective’ at manufacturing high technology products with high levels of intellectual property, but it is also positioned as leading the way in delivering highly flexible and agile design and manufacturing services to satisfy global blue chip clients,” said Davies.

According to Steve Kelly, CEO, SmartKem , the optimism in the economy is without doubt good news from both a national and international perspective.

“It all adds to the momentum that we feel currently exists within the UK innovation sector,” said Kelly.

See also: CES: CSR VibeHub makes itself at home for audio


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