Silicon Fen Cambridge (UK)
Silicon Fen is an area around Cambridge, UK that is also referred to as the "Cambridge Cluster" among other things. The area has been given this nickname due in large part to the significant presence of biotechnology, electronics and software companies in the area. Through a partnership between these companies and the famous Cambridge University, the area has become one of the most important technology centers in the United Kingdom. This also makes it one of the most important technology centers in the world. The nickname is derived from the geography of Cambridge, which sits at the southern edge of the "Fenland" in England.
Major Companies in the Silicon Fen
In the beginning stages of what is known as the "Cambridge phenomenon," more than 100 technology-based businesses set up shop in the area around Cambridge. Many of these businesses originally started out in the Cambridge Science Park, though many more developments have come along since that park was built in 1970.
Quite a few technology businesses from the Cambridge area have gone on to become large, multi-national corporations. These include Autonomy Corporation, AVEVA, Sinclair Research and CSR plc. Many believe that the proximity to some of the best-educated young people in the United Kingdom helps to keep pushing these businesses into greater and greater levels of success.
AVEVA started out as a part of a government-funded CADCentre, a research initiative into computer technology and computer-aided drafting technologies in the 1960s. Over the years, the research team behind this organization helped to create some of the top cutting-edge technologies coming out of the United Kingdom. When the CADCentre went defunct some years later, the people behind the innovations here found that their talents could still be of use. Today, the company has offices all over the world and employs over 1,200 people around the world. It is still headquartered in Cambridge, and is a vital part of the economic landscape there.
CSR plc was once known as Cambridge Silicon Radio, and it is one of the world's leading developers of the components that go into Bluetooth technology. In 2009, the company acquired a top firm in the field of clear voice capture technologies, and it has been innovating in the field ever since. The company is still headquartered in the Cambridge area, and it has a net operating income of $33.9 million. CSR plc is the 13th largest producer of fabless semiconductors in the world today, and it provides a large amount of jobs in the Cambridge area.
While no longer headquartered in Cambridge, Sinclair Research was founded in the Cambridge area and still maintains ties there. Sinclair research was once one of the world's leading consumer electronics developers. The company was responsible for the creation of affordable versions of products that many people would not otherwise be able to afford. While the company is not defunct by any means, it now focuses mostly on research and very little on production of consumer electronics. The company is actively creating new technologies, most of which now focus on transportation initiatives like electric cars and new bicycle designs.
Automation Corporation was conceived of in Cambridge in the mid-nineties and has continued to produce innovative concepts ever since. The company is still headquartered in Cambridge, but it also maintains a large presence in the Californian city of San Francisco. This is due to a recent merger with Hewlett-Packard, whereby the company is now a subsidiary of that technology giant. Most of the automation technologies developed through the company are based off of research projects that have come out of Cambridge University over the years. While the company is now owned by an American company, it still employs a number of people in Cambridge.
The Impact of Silicon Fen
Throughout the years, the Silicon Fen has been met with just as many pushes backward as pushes forward. Cambridge is something of a historical landmark in the academic history of the United Kingdom. As such, there is a constant battle between preservationists and the developers who want to bring more businesses to the town. Much of Cambridge's industrial heritage is based in manufacturing and steel, both of which are industries that have definitely seen better days in the United Kingdom. Branching out into science and researched-based technology development is seen by many as a necessary step for promoting a healthy economy in the area.
As a part of this economy, the businesses that comprise the Silicon Fen do quite a lot to promote growth and prosperity in the area. As the popularity of work in this area has grown, so too have average property values. All in all, it could be said that the Silicon Fen has ended up having a net positive gain on the community, heritage and economy of the Cambridge area.
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