Countless grand ideas have been dreamed up by developers and entrepreneurs, only to be released as products before consumers were ready to embrace them. Just look at Nintendo's Virtual Boy, which attempted VR technology decades before Samsung and Sony entered the fray, only to end in disaster.
Just as mass-market adoption of automobiles took a couple of decades after the first cars rolled off the factory floor, adoption of new tech trends often takes a little time before the culture and economy are ready for it.
But sometimes the stars do align, and the right technology arrives at a time when the market is ready for change.
InGen Dynamics CEO and sci-fi aficionado Arshad Hisham is hoping to make that next leap, this time in the world of robotics.
As Hisham puts it, "One of the things that I wanted to do from an early age, being a big fan of Asimov and other science fiction, is to bring some of the science fiction to reality."
Hisham's team has brought his dream to life with the creation of Aido, a state-of-the-art machine whose mission is to accelerate the improvement in human quality of life with affordable and user-friendly robotics.
Aido is built on open platforms to encourage rapid evolution through community involvement, including a critical blockchain element that has been planned.
Hisham explains, "Being on a blockchain network will ensure that there is security, redundancy, and an automatic ability to upgrade skills. This solves some of the critical problems that stunted the widespread adoption of robotic platforms in the past."
The only question that remains is whether trends have evolved as much as they need to, and whether the market is ready for a robotic near-future.
Changing With the Times
As technology improves, it has become more dependable: Nearly half of all jobs in retail may be automated within the decade, and mobile assistive healthcare robots are projected to become a $590 million market by 2024. The market has finally reached a point where these sci-fi dreams seem attainable.
Before attempting any sort of major launch, Hisham and the InGen team surveyed more than 700 users worldwide to determine the market interest in Aido. Factors included preferred height, key functionalities, user interface, and price point.
All of this feedback informed the product's design, essentially creating a product that customers already said they wanted rather than pushing an invention on an uninterested public.
Having already enjoyed an Indiegogo campaign that raised almost 600% of its target, InGen Dynamics has proven that its creation has a willing consumer base and a workable product concept.
This increasing trend in crowdsourcing is a strong indicator of a product's viability in the greater market, as it brings real consumers in on the ground floor.
Is the Market Ready for Your Product?
For other tech companies that think they have the next big idea, here are a few steps to take to ensure that a product truly has mass-market potential:
1. Solve a real problem. Thoroughly scope out the industry. Does your tech solve a problem that's been plaguing the space, or have you invented a solution to a concern that people don't actually have?
Just because your friends and family are blown away by your fabulous product doesn't mean the rest of the world will be -- so do real testing on a small scale to determine viability.
2. Dangle the price tag. One poll doesn't prove that your product has a market unless there's a dollar sign attached. Instead of showing potential customers the product and getting their feedback, take things a step further by asking them to buy it.
If respondents balk at the idea of opening their wallets, you may still have a viable product, but you're missing an essential ingredient that proves its value. If they reach for their pocketbooks right away, you'll know you've got an innovative product that's ready for the market.
3. Scope out the competition. Unless you're going into deep space, chances are good that someone is already making some noise in your industry. Even if there's a void, and your tech is truly groundbreaking, you have to consider that competition will quickly follow after you've pioneered the way.
Don't get complacent -- be ready to stay relevant when your first-mover advantage evaporates.
Taking an idea through the development stages all the way to production is a lengthy process. Before you invest the significant time and energy into creating a product, do your due diligence, and make sure it has the market potential that the investment demands.
Once you know you have an idea worth pursuing, consider using crowdsourcing to put it on the development fast track and take it from science fiction to reality faster than you thought possible.