In-depth research, across two separate markets, to guide product design, inform go:no go decision-making and support approaches to investors.
- Proof of concept research, to assess market potential and user requirements for an emergency self-rescue device, developed by J&M Inertial Navigation
- Qualitative depth interviews, conducted among technical divers and fire and rescue service personnel, supported by detailed desk research.
- The research established strong indications of interest within both potential target markets.
- Results have been used by J&M Inertial Navigation to help secure the follow-on finance required to develop prototypes and move towards market launch, and to guide a wide-range of product design decisions.
- Throughout the project, Marketwise Strategies worked closely with other members of the client’s commercialisation team (in North East England and South Yorkshire), including IP lawyers, product design company and the project co-ordinator – a consultant specialising in business planning and investor readiness.
A self-rescue device designed for those, such as technical divers and fire and rescue service personnel, who penetrate hostile environments where their lives may be endangered. The device is made up of two parts: a navigation unit and a display module. The navigation unit can be secured around the body, and will track the movements of the user. The display unit can be worn on the wrist. In the event of a life-or-death situation where standard approaches for return to the point of entry have failed or proven inadequate, the device would assist the user in retracing their route.
Proof of concept research requirements
At this stage in product development, J&M Inertial Navigation needed to:
- Establish one or more clearly defined market(s) for the device, both to inform go:no go decision making and provide re-assurance to investors
- Identify the most appropriate routes to market
- Determine users’ requirements for product functionality and design.
Working closely with the client, we developed a detailed set of research objectives and a methodology for research among potential end-user organisations and purchase influencers. Objectives focused upon:
- Market (size, structure, trends and changes)
- End users’ requirements and preferences
- Competition (identifying and profiling competitor technologies, products and organisations)
- Perceptions of the product
- Price expectations
- Most appropriate routes to market and promotional channels.
The core of the proof of concept project was a series of depth interviews with senior managers and technical/safety specialists within diving organisations (diver training companies and national representative bodies) and staff in R&D, technical and operational-support roles within fire and rescue services.
This qualitative, primary research was supported by a desk-based study, conducted mainly at the start of the project. The desk research provided a context for the study as a whole, for example by: identifying potential market size and structure; building up an understanding of potential customer groups; informing the development of the discussion guides for interviews; identifying and understanding comparator products and price points; and providing some initial indicators of user requirements.
In conducting desk research, it was important quickly to evaluate a range of industry sources and to identify those that could be relied upon. Building an in-depth understanding of the markets in this way, we also went on to identify key informants.
Through depth interviews, we then built upon the information from desk research, clarifying key issues, obtaining product perceptions and triangulating the data.
At all stages in the project, and particularly in the planning stages, we liaised closely with the clients, their project co-ordinator, design company and, when appropriate, with their patent attorneys. At a predetermined project milestone, we also provided interim findings to inform initial product designs.
Upon completion of the project, Marketwise Strategies developed a detailed report which:
- Demonstrated the potential offered by each market
- Set out clear recommendations for product design and for routes to market
- Highlighted implications for key elements of the eventual marketing strategy.
We then went on to review the findings and recommendations, in detail, with J& M Inertial Navigation and the company’s project co-ordinator.
Drawing upon our design recommendations (both ergonomic and for the visual user-interface), J&M Inertial Navigation has developed a pre-prototype product.
The company is now seeking second-stage finance and is using our research findings within its applications, prior to developing and testing a full product prototype.
Marketwise Strategies gave us incredibly detailed feedback from the market and, because the research was independent, the results were never going to be manipulated by our emotions. It allowed us to be pragmatic about the results and helped therefore to protect us.
The research has been so important in helping us to create the business model. It is also incredibly valuable when we approach investors and it gives us a huge amount of confidence in our business, because of the independence of the research and level of detail within it.