Sir James Dyson puts on Dyson product launch with a difference: Sydney, Australia...
Sir James Dyson, the British billionaire industrial designer (not to be confused with Tony Stark from Iron Man - Marvel Comics fame) who invented the dual cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, has just finished hosting his fabulous launch event at the Sydney Theatre Co Ltd, Pier 4.
It's understood he took a fair swipe at "competitor) robot vacuums as "pathetic" with poor suction and no navigating skills. Yes, the others suck - but not in a good way.
A lot of the (product) attention was on his latest product, a tap that can also dry your hands in about 12 seconds. Dyson, who rocketed his company to nearly 4000 staff and $1.5 billion in annual sales, advised he would only launch a robot vacuum when he got it right.
New product snapshot - the Dyson hybrid dryer-tap...
Robot models launched in Australia recently include the $399 Robomaid, LG's Roboking range ($549-$1149) and Samsung's $999 Navibot. Dyson didn't name and shame but was dismissive of the current lot, criticising their navigation and efficiency which meant they offered poor battery performance and cleaning ability.
"They've got whiskers sticking out of them – whiskers don't clean anything they just disturb the birds," he told Fairfax Media.
"It's a difficult job and I'm not rushing out a gimmick robot to pretend to people we're cleaning the floor, we're not doing that we're doing it properly."
Robomaid is one of the robot vacuums on the market.
Despite coming up with his vacuum cleaner breakthrough in the late 1970s, it only reached the British market 10 years later, and Dyson is now a global market leader. A third of British homes now have a Dyson.
The company has also launched other innovations such as bladeless fans and an "Airblade" hand dryer that uses jets of air to scrape the water off the hands. The same sort of technology but with a far more advanced motor ("three times faster than any electric motor has gone before") powers the new hybrid dryer-taps.
Dyson has wrestled for years to prevent companies copying his designs, winning a $5 million damages award from Hoover in 2000. Now, the main offenders are out of Asia and Dyson thinks intellectual property protection is weaker because people are getting away with copying.
"Koreans and the Chinese are copying things and I think it's very bad," he said. "It's said by certain people that that increases competition, actually it decreases competition because all they're doing is copying the market leader."
He said the copycat companies could produce cheaper products because they haven't incurred all the development costs and associated risks.
"It's morally wrong, I think it's legally wrong and I think it hurts the consumers because the consumer doesn't get a choice," he said. "Intellectual property should be supported better; the law should be made stronger."
In October last year Dyson filed a lawsuit alleging a "spy" employee stole the blueprints to a £100 million ($149.7 million) technology and passed them to rival Bosch.
Dyson said western countries such as Australia and Britain need to focus on educating more scientists and engineers, as they are increasingly being overtaken by countries in Asia.
"40 per cent of all graduates from Singapore are engineers," he said. "For Britain, Australia, the US and other European countries to compete in any way they've got to heavily arm themselves with technology."
Classy event in Sydney...
It wasn't a cheap and nasty event, as is too often the case with product launches. Dyson impressed with wit, goodwill and loads of great food and drinks, which looked and tasted 5 star. It was a great vibe and news media was treated with respect, friendliness and delicious treats. How could we not share the story and photos far and wide across media and internet - which was no doubt another masterstroke by the colourful billionaire and his brains trust. If you have the budget - Dysons' are well worth a close look.
Eva Rinaldi Photography