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SMEs Turn to Niche Markets

Posted by: Sally Fallon 31 May 13 - 10:06AM  | Engineering
Two ingenious electronics products are demonstrating how SMEs could kick-start the British economy and compete with Sino-American technology dominance through targeting niche markets.

The names ‘Raspberry Pi’ and ‘Steam Box’ will mean little to those who are not technology-aficionados, but both are causing shockwaves in computing circles. Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed by a company of the same name with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. The soon to be released Steam Box, by computer games developer Valve, is a small form gaming computer designed to bridge the gap between PCs and consoles.

These two pieces of technology share a few similarities. They are both from the UK, they are both relatively inexpensive and they are both daring and highly innovative steps made by relatively small British enterprises into a market utterly dominated by household-name consumer-electronics giants, such as Microsoft and Sony. They are also set to be successful - initial production runs of the Pi sold out within minutes of launch, while the Steam Box is tipped to be a direct rival to the hugely popular Playstation, Xbox and Wii consoles.

“We are increasingly finding that through ingenuity and innovation, British engineers, designers and programmers are forging new inroads into sectors that seem impenetrable and saturated to many,” says Jonathan Lee Recruitment’s Head of Engineering and Manufacturing, David Powers. “In finding those new products and niche markets, young British SMEs are able to become major players on the international market. As a nation we depend on this kind of forward thinking approach, which drives growth and international investment in British engineering.

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