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Qi3 Insight

Alice: Through the Looking Glass

By Amir Mirza

I was recently reminded of the Lewis Carroll’s story of Alice: Through the Looking Glass. The term looking glass is a kind of poetic name for a mirror. In Alice’s case she was able to miraculously go through the looking glass, after wondering if there was another world on the other side of the mirror.

The reason I recalled this story is that in many ways companies, large and small sometimes need to go through the looking glass if they are to imagine new possibilities or even to understand better their own capabilities. I come across this kind of thing all the time when working with clients. Two recent examples come to mind, the first was a large international company for which we provided insight on opportunities in markets outside of their core business.  They had struggled to do this internally without an external agent. The second was an established smaller business, where we helped them to understand that their real value was not technology but their excellent customer service. This was a conclusion they probably would not have reached alone. In both cases by working closely with these companies we were able to help them convert their true capabilities into market opportunities.

I’ve come to think that in most cases, organisations do actually need independent and unbiased help to understand their true potential when developing their marketing strategy, especially for uncharted waters. So next time your company decides to make a major change, like Alice think about going through the looking glass.

Government Support for Technology Commercialisation

 

 

 

 

By Alex Cubitt

A year ago, I was submerged into the world of password security as part of a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funded Proof of Market project for our client Smart Architects.  Today, I received an email from the CTO saying how close they are to launch, having implemented the hardware, software and product surround development requirements highlighted during our engagement with the market.  Working with high technology start-ups, I always get a buzz when I hear positive news like this. Password security continues to be a problem requiring an “easy to use” solution, however, as our discussions with end users, IT departments and channels to market highlighted the solution faces complex challenges.

The TSB Smart Scheme Proof of Market grants provide a great opportunity for early stage companies to assess the commercial viability of a project through market research, market testing and project planning for commercialisation.  The next assessment date deadlines are 29th November and 24th January.  Our Qi3 Rapid Market Prototyping™ for fast growing technology businesses is described here. If you’d like help putting together a Smart Proof of Market application, please contact me.

Getting Involved with Satellite Communities

 

 

 

 

By Jane Leeks

I found out recently that the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) is conducting a survey of all companies involved in the Earth Observation services sector. The purpose of this is to help them gain a detailed understanding of the sector and significant trends and is essential to help stakeholders to plan their activities and to assess the effectiveness of their actions. The research outcomes of this survey will also ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is available which can be presented to policy makers and support development of the sector.

All types of companies in the EO services sector are invited to take part: from satellite operators, value-added providers through to downstream GIS companies; indeed any company making use of satellite data, however small, in its business. You may already have been contacted by EARSC about this, but if not and if your company makes use of satellite data in whatever way or form then EARSC would like to hear from you so that you can be included in the survey. Please contact EARSC executive secretary Monica Miguel-Lago

The power of a good idea

 

 

 

 

By Mark Littlewood

I’ve recently been working with Isotera – a Cambridge SME that has a novel system for powering LED lighting fixtures. LEDs are rapidly gaining market share, but have not yet achieved their full market potential as they are often let down by the systems which provide them with power. LEDs usually rely on either laborious manual wiring or expensive modular systems to link fixtures together, with DC power provided by units called drivers. These drivers are either expensive or unreliable. All too often, the drivers installed with lighting fixtures fail, long before the end of the life of the LEDs themselves. Isotera has come up with an elegant application of an existing technology. The Isotera system transforms mains current from 50 Hz to 50 kHz.  This high frequency current can then be easily and safely drawn off through induction – the same process which is used to power iPods and toothbrushes, with no need to damage the insulation on the wires, removing the need for time consuming wiring and expensive equipment.

I organised and attended an exhibition with Isotera in London this month. We had a range of companies visiting the stand – from LED manufacturers to electrical contractors. Everyone was given the opportunity to play with the system, so they could see how quick and easy it is to fit and power LED lights. One electrician complained that it was so simple, we were going to put him out of business. The Japanese spelling for the word “crisis” is actually made up of two other symbols. One is for “danger”, the other is for “opportunity”. Perhaps my electrician should look to the Japanese for his inspiration. Here is an opportunity for him – wire up a lighting system for a fraction of the price, in a quarter of the time. If that’s not a differentiator, I don’t know what is.

Qi3’s hands-on support for fast-growing technology businesses is described here.

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