From the local bus to the global adventure...
There’s a saying in the audio recording world: you can give a monkey the best kit in the world, but the end result will always sound like the monkey did it. Being someone who likes to dabble in audio and video recording, I try to keep up with all the latest product introductions. From those that are within budget to those which are, at the moment, merely aspirational, I’ve always tried to buy the best kit I can afford, and then learn how to use it properly in order to get the best out of it.
Interestingly, no matter where within the price spectrum you enter the market – for example whether it’s the industry standard vocal microphone at £1700 or a more budget conscious alternative at £170 – you can still get amazing results.
I have, however, noticed a common theme within products aimed at the audio market. If a product has to call itself professional in its title, in order to indicate suitability for the professional market, then professional is probably the one thing it isn’t. Just a rule of thumb, of course, but in general it does seem to hold true.
On what might seem like an entirely different tack, my daughter last week lost her bus pass. I rang the services department at the local council who said they would replace it for £10. In the first instance, this meant sending her over a temporary bus pass within ten days, followed by the permanent bus pass within six weeks. In the mean time, having spent £250 on the bus pass at the beginning of term (up from £100 after extensive public consultation where apparently the price increase was enthusiastically welcomed by all concerned), I’ve been paying £4.20 per day to get my daughter to school and back.
The temporary bus pass duly arrived – a plastic card with her photo, name, school details, expiry date and the words ‘temporary bus pass’ on it. Now all I have to do is wait for the full bus pass to arrive – a plastic card with her photo, name, school details, expiry date and the words ‘bus pass’ on it. Now, I’m no expert in the workings of a local council, but I’m wondering if we couldn’t have eliminated an intermediate step here. These are services that don’t immediately strike me as being overly professional.
These two seemingly unrelated areas got me thinking about the market opportunities for professional products and services. As you’ll read a couple of pages on in this issue of the magazine, although growth in the Chinese economy might have slowed, there is still huge potential for British products that lead the world in terms of functionality and performance, features and benefits. British exports to China were up 36% in 2013, and there are big opportunities for the companies with the vision to push forward into this massive market.
At the same time, there are huge opportunities – both within China and across the rest of the world – for professional engineering services. The UK has extensive expertise, but only 5% of the global market for engineering services that could be worth over £1 trillion by 2025. Kick on in these two vital areas, and the UK economy surely will thrive.
Mark Simms, Editor
Industrial Technology - NEWS