How do you stay ahead of the competition and make sure you stay that way?

 In R&D Strategies

Whether your company operates in a perfectly competitive market – competition is at its apex, or you are a lone wolf who stands out in the industry – alleged monopoly, you know one thing for sure: you need some strategies up your sleeves so that you stay ahead of those “others”.

You will be lost in the sea of similar companies providing similar products/services, otherwise.  One day or the other, they WILL catch up. If an organization wants to be consumers’ first choice, its products/services have to be top notch. If it wants to become bigger, the margin for improvement has to be at least 10 times.

To do that, you need to know your market in and out. This could include factors like:

  • What is already being provided?
  • Is there a scope for improvement?
  • What are the areas where no one is working on?

Further, to understand the market inside out and to remain at the top of the business, a company needs to have strategies that make sure it doesn’t become (quoting Pink Floyd) “Another Brick in the Wall”. Today, we will be sharing one such strategy with you. So without further ado, let’s start:

A way to stay at the top

One way to stay at the top is to spot growth patterns way before others by shifting from one technology to another. The answers to the three questions we discussed above can help decide whether it is the right time to start a shift or whether it is a time to improve the already existing tech.

To get an answer to these questions, first one need to judge at what growth stage, the technology of his interest is and its impact on business. Wikipedia has simplified it quite well –

Instead of going into the knick-knacks of the figure, I will simply summarize that D is the point where you decide you need to bail out and build something better. For some D may arrive too early. For some, at just the right time, and for the rest, its money munching time.

Apple started off with the idea of designing a compact PC. Do you think they captured a significant share of the smartphones or the music player markets by a mere coincidence? Google started off as a search engine but is it just a search engine now?

The Smartwatch industry is an excellent example of this switching theory. Apple came with a bang and swooped the already established traditional watch industry! The traditional industry never saw it coming!

But what if I told you the signs were there. Easier said than done, right?

The three questions written above, it is easy to jot them down when you are writing an article on your laptop. But what about their answers? Getting an answer to those questions is not as easy as writing the questions. But those can be derived by aptly connecting the dots laid out in the pool of technologies.

Let’s see –

Patent filing in watch domain has been more or less stagnant over the years whereas in smart watches the interest picked up around 2008 marking the onset of the research activity in this domain. This is the first signs of life that something is about to happen in the industry.

Now let’s see take a deeper look at it and identify which type of companies were giving early fire to it.

Before 2012, the innovations in smartwatches (however big or small they may appear) were led by the watch manufacturers like (Seiko, Casio, and Citizen). Post-2012, the mobile devices manufacturing companies such as LG, Oppo Mobile, etc. have drastically increased their contribution.

Also, the big players of mobile phone world such as Apple, Samsung, Motorola, have a presence in Smart Watch market, but their patent activity is lesser. Big names like Swatch, Tissot, Tag Heuer, etc. started late or are not having much presence in this area. One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest though, Fossil started late but collaborated with Intel to penetrate in this market.

Had the shift been seen and explored by traditional watchmakers near 2008, or even for the next couple of years, they would have still found a viable entry point into the market and perhaps, captured the market and earned the major share of the pie now being eaten by non-watch makers.

What more could have solidified the indication to move towards smartwatch market –

The huge potential of this domain attracted many new companies to enter the domain in last 5 years and contribution from these companies has risen exponentially. Keeping a watch on such an activity can help make a decision about entering into this domain. In case of a smartwatch, an average of 50% rise is observed in the patent filings of new entrants which clearly indicates an increasing interest in the domain.

In case you are wondering what else could make you sway in the direction of making the shift, well, I have got just the facts for you. In smart watch domain, it was observed from the research interest where many different applications were covered around smartwatch. See it yourself –

Expansion of Smart Watches to other areas –

Most of the inventions are focused on the integration of smartwatch with other devices where some of the most important ones include health monitoring features, navigation, and automobile control. Considering present day scenario, with the onset of IOT and smart homes, the possibilities seem endless.

Among top 100 new entrants in the market that have filed patents in this domain, very few traditional watchmakers can be seen.

Apple alone managed to sell between 12 million to 13 million watches in one year. You can imagine what could have been the total unit sale of the smartwatch in a year had all the companies were taken into consideration. Needless to say, companies like Swatch, Tissot, Tag Heuer, Fossil, etc. missed the train.

Smartwatch is not the only one though. If we observe, there are such stories everywhere around us. Ebooks, for example, affected the traditional book market, publishers went haywire with the onset of the ”kindle” era, but, like I said, the signs were always there.

There might be many areas where the industry is still in the infancy though and it is not too late to jump the boat. Smart switches, for instance, hold the potential to disrupt traditional switch industry, 3D printing, and many others.

If you plan to take your company to next level, want to achieve 10x growth and don’t want to be late in the market then NorthStar (proprietary tool) is your best bet and your best mate. NorthStar uses a variety of complex algorithms to capture the technology as per user requirement and presents the outcomes in a manner that it can be understood in one glance, which otherwise would be difficult to observe, relate and analyze.

Further, since not all decisions can be made without having the facts first, it also offers a variety of statics to support the decisions that help users to differentiate between the booming areas in a technology and the stagnant ones.

If you want to know more or want to see NorthStar in action – ask for the demo.

*(Because if done rightly, you are practically building something which is not 10, but infinitely times better)

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