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Roundabout, Gorge, even Silicon Fen? Time to raincheck the UK digital economy.

When the term 'Silicon Roundabout' was coined by Matt Biddulph, then CTO of Dopplr.com, on Twitter in July 2008, he also created a Google Map showing a community of 15 'fun startups' all situated in the vicinity of London's Old St roundabout. Dopplr, of course, Last.fm, Schulze & Webb (now BERG), Songkick, Techlightenment....to name a few.

 

Then in February 2011 Wired published their own updated map identifying 85 startups and local digital businesses around London's Old Street roundabout and Shoreditch. Today it is estimated that there are now around 150 such companies in existence including branches of foreign firms. David Cameron hopes many of them will gain sufficient traction to outgrow Shoreditch and migrate east to Olympic Park, Stratford.

 

Travelling further afield we also have Silicon Gorge, to be found in the triangle of Bristol, Swindow and Gloucester. In his recent post, Mark Leaver cites Watershed's Clare Reddington's blog on the DCNS website as a useful update on the tech history in that region. Then head up to Cambridge and you'll find yourself in...Silicon Fen...home to notable industry leaders ARM and Autonomy. At this month's CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced that the next version of its operating system will run on chips made by ARM. It's now game on between ARM and US giant Intel for dominance in microprocessors. 

 

Therefore with vast swathes of our green and pleasant land seemingly taking on a silicon-like hue and morever in light of an impending CIKTN and UKTI initiative to explore current capacity for the UK as a whole to deliver on digital innovation, we welcome your thoughts and comments concerning related issues.

 

Mimicking Silicon Valley inappropriate to the UK context ? Cameron heavy on vision but light on detail? UK short of world class talent? Tax breaks for the games industry a way forward? Tell us what you think. Let's get the debate started.

Comments

Comments

2 people have had something to say so far

I remember feeling quite outraged when I saw Cameron on the news professing his vision of a digital technology hub for the UK in London. Again, why must everything be centralised in London? How are other UK cities meant to lead in any speciality industry when London so easily snatches it away. Here in Scotland (part of the UK!), Dundee has become an important global location for digital innovation, but wasn't even mentioned in the above piece. And what about Middlesborough? These are two great examples of non-major cities who have developed a forte organically, which I feel should be supported and encouraged by central government, not superseded by.

Tax breaks would be a much more impactful way of working towards the success of the industry, although if it's any similar to the film industry landscape, my understanding is that this is nothing but a foolish pipedream. The Scottish film industry also suffers badly from homegrown talent upping sticks and relocating to London, because...that's where all the work is. It's a shame, and is now for sure a vicious circle...because that's where a big bunch of the population is. There are probably strategies and models out there to make an impact on this, but honestly? Who's got the time for it in the middle of a likely double-dip recession, and a time when Con-Dems will probably be wanting carve out some memorable 'building' among their myriad of 'cutting'.
Posted on 31/01/11 09:03.
Hi Belinda
Thank you for your response. Here at CIKTN we are always keen to become informed of other UK digital hotspots beyond those that have already basked in relative media glory. Maybe, with your assistance, we could post an article about digital innovation in Dundee, Middlesborough and beyond ?
Richard
Posted on 02/02/11 09:58 in reply to Belinda Love.

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