Technology is an incredible field to be working in at the minute. Six months from now something that would previously have been impossible suddenly becomes feasible as hardware and software progress at unprecedented Financial Planning rates. Just such a development led me and my colleague to fly to Vienna this week to meet a potential hardware supplier.
For some time now we have been looking at developing a system for the tracking and monitoring of shoppers in shopping malls. Other systems do exist within this sector using a variety of other technologies. We have felt that there is no product currently on the market that has addressed the issues that our customers are experiencing while they also ignoring major issues that as a company we were unwilling to comprimise on.We believe in our current work we have found a solution that is both statistically significant whilst respecting the privacy concerns of both our business partners and their consumers.
One of the first systems we looked at developing, using Radio Frequency Identification, was originally ruled out due to external factors. Emitters require a constant power source and were ruinously expensive, the infrastructure required to track over an entire shopping mall was simply too time consuming to install and such a system couldn’t give us the level of information we required.
Months later, having followed numerous leads without any coming to fruition we came back to the drawing board and looked again at all the solutions we had originally discounted. We looked at how technology had progressed in that time and re-assessed some of our original solutions. We found the biggest change to be in RFID solutions, an industry that has existed for decades but which was starting to reinvent itself in new and exciting ways.
So we followed it up, we chased new leads and eventually found a solution that could fit. It gives us the detail we require whilst protecting the privacy rights of the individuals whose information it collects, something we absolutely refused to compromise on.
Contacts were made, emails exchanged, concepts brainstormed and budgets checked. Eventually flights were booked and we found ourselves in Vienna, baking in 37 degree’s heat, speaking halting English to potentially our first international hardware supplier.
Market Research, like RFID, is an old industry. We are always looking for methods of reinventing ourselves, to do things in new and exciting ways and change the expectations of our clients and their customers.
Technology allows us to do this. So we hold on to all our ideas, no matter how strange, unrealistic or off the wall they just might be. Who knows what will be possible six months from now, or where we will find ourselves. Hopefully somewhere slightly cooler next time though.