ESCO (the Electronics and Electrical Systems Council) has said the UK’s electronics firms must grab the opportunity of a just-published green paper on industrial strategy from the UK government to create an environment that can support bigger tech companies and make the UK more attractive for startups to form and scale up.

King-Smith, an electronics industry veteran and past executive vice president of marketing at processor IP licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc, was appointed to head up ESCO late in 2016 and told eeNews Europe, that electronics is an under-represented discipline in government policy discussions partly because it underpins so much of modern society.

Tony King-Smith, CEO of ESCO.

King-Smith said electronics and software are behind almost every innovation in the automotive, communications, consumer goods, industrial and aerospace sectors. And yet it is so obvious and ubiquitous that it can get forgotten and the companies that do the fundamental work are often eclipsed by the market leaders in those application sectors.

“When you add it all together electronics and technology companies employ a million people in the UK and there are about 45,000 companies. We’ve got to pull together as one industry,” King-Smith said.

The publishing of the Industrial Strategy Green Paper is an invitation for interested parties to engage with the UK government and help determine priorities for investment and support, and King-Smith said he is determined that electronics, embedded software and technology generally are championed. “It is heartening to see that R&D is recognised as a core pillar – something the electronic and electrical systems businesses typically invest heavily in,” said King-Smith.

Next: Skills, training, immigration, exports

The debate will also likely touch on such issues as education and training, immigration, productivity, inward investment and exports, all key areas as the UK heads towards a post-Brexit future.

Brian Holliday, chairman of ESCO and managing director of Siemens Digital Factory in the UK said: “The UK electronics, electrical and electro-technical sector is a strong and growing contributor to the economy. ESCO intends to positively embrace Industrial Strategy, and harness the collective energy of all parts of our industry. Together we can collaborate to build on our innovation and infrastructure base to help create new startups, engender new technology skills, to encourage new regional investments and to ensure rewarding technology jobs are created across the UK.”

The ESCO Council includes representatives from such companies as Rolls Royce, Siemens, ARM, Schneider Electric and many UK industry trade bodies and associations.

ESCO was formed in 2013 as Electronics Systems Challenges and Opportunities when the UK government commissioned a report to produce recommendations on growing the UK’s electronics systems business. It received support from Warren East and Sir Hossein Yassaie, then CEOs of ARM Holdings plc and Imagination Technologies Group plc, respectively (see ARM, Imagination collaborate on UK electronics plan. At the time one of ESCO’s goals was grow the annual sales value of the UK’s electronics systems industry from £78 billion (about US$100 billion) in 2012 to £120 billion (about $150 billion) by 2020.

Related links and articles:

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ARM, Imagination collaborate on UK electronics plan

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EE Times Silicon 60: 2016’s Emerging Companies to Watch


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