Creating new technology is a breeze for Dyson
The Airblade tap supplies water to wash the hands and air to dry them too - all from the one high-tech faucet
His latest product will clean and dry hands faster, says James Dyson
Inventor James Dyson likes to make things work better. He has built his company around improving on failures in design and coming up with innovative products, from the Ballbarrow – an update on a wheelbarrow – to the bagless vacuum cleaner.
The latest product is no exception. The Airblade Tap integrates the company’s hand-dyer technology so you will be able to wash and dry your hands in one place. It’s all done in seconds, with high velocity cool air “scraping” water from the user’s hands.
“You’ve got your own space, you wash and dry your hands and out you get. So it’s just a much nicer and quicker experience in the washroom,” Dyson says.
The Airblade Tap is the result of three years of development and £40 million (€47 million) in investment. The company has been investing heavily in research and development over the past few years.
“I think the point about a downturn is that it’s not necessarily that people have less money – although that is often the case – it’s that people are much more careful with it,” says Dyson.
“So they don’t necessarily buy the cheapest thing; they buy something that they really want that does the job well and lasts a long time.
“I think the winners in a recession are the people who produce new technology that does things better, which people really want. So when the recession happened . . . the answer we thought was to develop more technology and develop it faster.”
That meant doubling the number of research engineers Dyson employed as quickly as possible. The move has increased the number of new products the firm has been able to produce to 12 last year and, according to Dyson, about 50 per cent of sales last year came from products that were introduced in the past 12 months.
“The way the world is going, it’s technology-driven,” says Dyson. “And it isn’t just driven by the old superpowers, it’s driven by the Far East and new emerging economies.”
Dyson has his priorities laid out as regards cutting costs. “I think there is a tendency to look after today and not worry about tomorrow,” he says. “But I’d cut back on advertising and put more money into research and development. That’s not necessarily a very good thing for today, but I think it’s a brilliant thing for tomorrow, the next five years.”
Research and development is a long-term game. “You’ve got to look very long term. We’re doing research projects that won’t come to fruition for 15 years but you can’t get real breakthrough technology and transformative technology unless you look long term. It’s amazing how quickly long term comes about,” he says.