bearded-Spock

The competitive and market forces at work today
are causing vendors to move increasingly beyond their core competencies
in order to differentiate their products and meet market requirements. When creating new products, vendors have a wider array of technologies to choose from, and competition between vendors is increasing. In addition, product life cycles are becoming shorter, imitation is more rapid, and the time period a product enjoys differentiation is narrowing.

One of the challenges of medical device connectivity is that you don't know what you don't know. As a result, most embedded systems companies start with their existing business model and product requirements, and just assume they will work for networked systems. The experienced Connectologists reading this are all grinning - because that's were we started too.

The other day I came across a marketing report that caught my eye: "Entering New Markets: Talking to Yourself is Not a Strategy." Of course adding features to your core product that are outside of your (and your customer's) previous experience is even more deceptive - there's no "new market" here, is there? It is the same market, but its more like finding yourself in a 'bearded Spock" alternate universe, where everything looks familiar, but is not quite the same. Here is the risk, as described in this marketing report:

[...] companies enter new markets as a vehicle for growth. When doing so, they often use several analysis tools to determine whether a potential market is attractive. But employing such tools without gathering unbiased market data and intelligence only illustrates internal stakeholders’ guesses, which may be far from reality. This paper reviews a popular analysis tool for determining the attractiveness of potential new markets and explains how market research data can be used to populate the analysis tool to more accurately reflect potential markets’ realities.

If you're a medical device vendor looking to add value through connectivity or adding pharmaceuticals to your products, there are:

  1. Things you know
  2. Things you know you don't know
  3. Things you don't know you don't know

It's the third item on the list that will get you, most every time. Getting that unbiased market data and intelligence is critical. What happens when buyers find themselves in unknown territory. How many prospects looking at "smart" pumps have ever bought a smart pump before? (The answer, of course, is none.) They don't really know how it will impact clinical use, what features they'll truly value (and which one's they'll scream for after 6 months), nor do they really know how to buy a smart pump system.

Fortunately for vendors and hospitals alike, some have met the bearded Spock and understand the ways of this alternate universe.