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Assistive Technology Transfer Update


Title: Innovation in the marketplace
Author: Brian D Kon
Published: 1999
Publication: Assistive Technology Transfer Update: Vol. 1 Issue 2 (Fall)

AZtech has innovative ideas that may be exactly what you are looking for. Whether you are a manufacturer, a product designer, or a person that uses assistive technology products, AZtech has refined an evaluation process called Innovations that will improve the usefulness and success of new products in the marketplace.

Based on work done by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Transfer (T2RERC) during its first funding cycle (1993 - 1998), AZtech's Innovations program is the conduit from product concept to the consumer. Just like the T2RERC, AZtech's research is based on first-hand experience in the industry rather than by observation. AZtech's staff has gained experience from clinicians, medical sales representatives, home care service suppliers, market researchers and business personnel who have added their practical experience and training to the process. Of course, AZtech still employs time-tested and proven methods of research to its evaluation. Only products that are able to withstand AZtech's careful scrutiny, and which can demonstrate market opportunity, are offered representation to potential manufacturers.

Benefits for the Businessperson

Manufacturers that review AZtech's portfolio of technologies are exposed to innovative ideas that have already been evaluated for their market potential, thereby eliminating the need for their own internal evaluations. And since AZtech's licensing agents know the assistive technology industry by its consumers, products, and industry trends, the manufacturers and inventors benefit from contractual arrangements that are mutually advantageous.

Once a technology has been licensed, AZtech continues to support the manufacturer with additional market research and industry information that will enhance the success of the product in the marketplace. AZtech's value-added approach with its business partners furnishes additional marketing support by taking the finished products to industry tradeshows, and through AZtech's promotion on its website or through other media opportunities.

Only new, worthy inventions make it

Not every product submitted for review is offered AZtech's agent services. In most cases, the items submitted already exist in the marketplace, but the inventors simply did not have the resources to track down that much-needed information. In this way, AZtech actually helps reduce the amount of money that inventors may spend by telling them of this duplication before they invest heavily from their personal funds.

AZtech's experience is similar to that of other technology transfer programs in other industries. For example, if one hundred inventions are submitted for review, only twenty will advance through the initial screening process. The reason? Once again, similar products already exist in the marketplace. Of the remaining twenty submissions, only twelve show commercial promise and are offered license agreements. Three of those products will ultimately make their way into the marketplace, and of those only one will remain "on the shelves" after one year. The steady decline in statistical success is usually related to the cost of developing the products, either due to the particular materials required or the manufacturing process itself.

AZtech Improves Your Chances

While the above example suggests there is only a slim chance for success, the numbers are based in real experiences, and inventors need to prepare themselves for the truth. On the other hand, a program such as Innovations will ultimately save inventors time and money. Plus, manufacturers can be assured that products represented by AZtech have had much of the market research done: they have been screened, verified to be unique, and have been shown to meet the needs of the end-users.

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