UK pioneers on the technology frontier

What do the makers of the world’s first hydrogen-powered motorcycle and the providers of a nationwide Wifi network have in common? They are both UK companies that have been awarded the title of a global “technology pioneer” at this year’s World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland.

The awards are an annual event and the list of winners makes encouraging reading for those looking to gauge the health of the UK’s technology sector. Out of the 36 “visionary companies”, 8 were based in the UK, which was second only to United States’ with 17 “pioneers”. The next closest EU country is Germany with 3 winners.

The awards cover the spectrum of technology, from biotechnology and renewable energy, through to information technology.

To be selected as a “technology pioneer”, a company must be truly innovative and have the potential to make a long-term impact on business and society. It is also expected to show the signs of a long-term market leader and its technology must be proven.

Mobile and wireless technologies would seem to be emerging as a real strength for the UK, with mobileATM, Icera and The Cloud Networks all working in this space. The fourth UK winner in the Information Technology sector, Tao Group, focuses on multimedia middleware.

The award should be a real boon for the latest batch of “pioneers” as, along with the kudos of being an award winner, the companies get a two year invite to participate at the World Economic Forum and mix with some of the world’s most powerful and influential people.

Past winners have included companies such as Autonomy, Silicon Radio and Google so the latest batch of winners having something to live up to but it's great to see truly innovative UK companies getting the recognition they deserve.