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Number News

The numbers that leapt out from this month's engineering stories


In 2010 the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 70 per cent of worldwide revenue from 'virtual goods' – objects bought for use in online communities and Internet games – according to research by In-Stat.

Online gaming and social networking were expected to drive virtual goods revenue over $7bn in 2010. The emergence of social and casual games on social networking sites and mobile phones has created a 2D virtual goods market that exceeds $2bn.

Revenue in 3D worlds is expected to double by 2014.

3.6 billion

Research on the future of the global broadband market shows that by 2015 around 3.6 billion people will be able to access broadband services in one way or another – that figure should account for about half of the world's population by that time.

Analyst firm Ovum also predicts that 1.4 billion people globally will access broadband services via both fixed-lines and mobile connections, as usage grows rapidly and services converge. These 'dual-access subscribers' will mainly be in the developed markets of North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific.


Electric motors account for nearly two-thirds of electricity consumption at UK industrial sites, according to figures quoted by ABB. The company says a variable-speed drive used in conjunction with a motor for applications such as pumps and fans can reduce the energy bill by up to 70 per cent with a payback of less than 12 months. ABB has created a 50-strong dedicated Energy Appraisal Team to identify potential energy savings for operators of UK industrial and commercial sites.


Interest in Network Rail's apprentice scheme is soaring. Almost 8,000 people have pre-registered for the scheme, competing for around 200 available places in 2011.

Britain's railway infrastructure provider is reporting a 'massive' shift in the age profile of the apprentices. In 2007 nearly two-thirds were aged 17-18, but last year the figure had dropped to 35 per cent, with 43 per cent aged 19-21 and more than one in five older than that. The eldest was 35.

Women make up around 5 per cent of the intake, which Network Rail says is nearly twice the national average for engineering apprenticeships.


Annual sales for the global chip industry for year ending 2010 totalled $298.3bn according to figures from the semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

This represents a 31.8 per cent increase on 2009 as stalled orders were released by commercial customers, and demand among consumers for electronics began to show signs of recovery.

Asia Pacific now represents 54 per cent of the world semiconductor market, with the Americas accounting for only for only 18 per cent.


By 2014 there will be 300,000 electric cars on Britain's roads, giving the industry a £7.2bn boost as consumers look for greener ways to travel, a report by GfK Automotive says. The survey of 5,053 drivers found that 1.8 per cent of people would 'definitely' buy an electric car in the next few years, which works out at about 300,000 people across the car-buying population. Based on the new Nissan electric car – the Nissan Leaf – which sells for around £24,000, the total value of 300,000 electric cars could be £7.2bn, GfK says.

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