Dyson Making a Huge Growth Push by William Doonan

You’ve seen the commercials. Vacuums without a bag, or driven by patented “balls” … Dyson’s products look like next-gen, space-age tech for everyday cleaning. And that reputation is beginning to pay off. Dyson has expanded into consumer electronics including hand dryers, hair dryers, and lighting. And it’s not just the product line that’s expanding. Dyson has tripled its number of employees in the company’s home country of England in the past five years.

And it’s just getting bigger. Recently, Dyson announced the purchase of a 517-acre facility that will be primarily dedicated to research and development. Dyson, it appears, is intent on staying on the cutting edge of household electronics.

The products to be developed here seem to indicate Dyson’s plans to increase its product line and market footprint even further. According to various news reports, the new facility will be used to develop battery cells, vision systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

So, will there be self-driving vacuums? Well, maybe … but that still might be somewhere down the line in the future. Earlier inventions could be simpler and yet still innovative. The one big surprise is Dyson’s new commitment to researching electric cars. This is the hot new market for many tech companies, and Britain is lagging behind other countries in product development in this segment. Dyson could put the country right in the middle of the conversation if it can catch up with the likes of Tesla and Chevrolet.

The new facility is nearly ten times the size of the company’s current headquarters, but the move would just be right up the street, not quite two miles up the road. Still, that kind of increase in footprint is a signal that Dyson has some big plans in the works, perhaps even bigger than electric cars. What other markets will they try to claim? No word on that yet, but you can bet moving into a facility of that size will get people talking.

So, once they move in, Dyson will have no shortage of space. What they, reportedly, will have is a shortage of is top talent. Dyson plans to cover this gap by opening the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology sometime late in 2017. This new enterprise is being touted as “a relevant alternative to a traditional university degree…”

This is a very interesting solution to a pervasive problem across some tech sector companies. They have too many skill positions open, and they can’t seem to fill them. Training their own people to do specific R&D jobs is an interesting approach that might set a trend for a new generation who are not interested in the status quo of a college education. If successful, this method might become more popular … just one more innovation Dyson is cooking up in its huge new digs.

William Doonan is a tax law and legal expert.

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