Make Your Next Technology Idea a Success, Guaranteed!

There is a standing joke in the technology industry that if engineers are left to their own devices they will come up with ideas that have great marketing potential for a market size of one. This one person who loves the engineer’s idea is of course the engineer himself. The reason why this happens is because most technology professionals such as engineers, software developers and some entrepreneurs tend to focus on the technology and not on the market the technology is intended to serve.

Engineers get most of their ideas about new technology from chip manufacturers and other component supplies for their next great idea. They tend to talk to and gather information from their suppliers because generally speaking this is the only type of people they talk to outside of their own organization. In fact suppliers such as Texas Instruments, Microchip, Analog Devices and many other Integrated circuit (IC) manufactures encourage engineers to develop evaluation boards, development kits and white papers so that the manufactures do not need to develop these tools themselves. The IC manufacture will often promote a competition to encourage many developers to create development kits. The winner is often awarded an agreement to be a supplier of the development kit for the manufacture who will list it on their website and catalogue for resale. This type of agreement works well if you win the competition but bad if you do not. Still for small independent developers, looking for a part time income this is a rather low risk opportunity but this model does not translate well for larger business.

Engineers who want to consider a bigger market risk falling into the trap of the one man market if they rely on suppliers for marketing direction. A different mindset is required in order to avoid this trap. The customer’s needs should be the focus. Market research is the area of study we need to consider. Primary and secondary research can be done on the cheap or it can be done with lots of money depending on market knowledge and the amount and quality of communication with the target audience. The figure below shows a scale of potential success, given the level of commitment guaranteed from the target audience.

Cash is king! Getting a customer to pre-pay or provide investment will guarantee success. This is not always easy but really successful business people will make deals before developing or producing the technology; often with as little as a paper study. So it is not impossible to get a paying customer before development. Doing so provides the developer less financial risk and since the customer will critic the development as it progresses the end result will meet the needs of the customer. Of course, there are many other factors that need to be considered include, cash flow, competitive strategy, production, quality, as well as marketing and distribution channel development in order to grow the business beyond a single customer. However, these areas of business become less risky when the development and start up costs have been paid for.

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A Closer Look at Unusual Birthday Gift Ideas For Men

To differentiate yourself from the rest in regards to finding unusual birthday gift ideas for men, you should look at the many existing things you can get. Don’t just go with whatever it is you’ve gotten your loved one for many different years. Don’t settle for a random dinner date either, give something unusual and they will remember you forever and ever. There are several routes that you can take in regards to moving forward with these things, and the majority of them are not that expensive to get into. Whether you go for entertainment, food, or technology, you can’t lose.

You can look into getting something like a stock car driving experience on DVD. If the man in your life likes Nascar this is a great gift, but if you turn the dial up a little this gift gives some amazing unusual results. Imagine the look on a man’s face who’s not expecting to get to drive in a Nascar stock car, fully decked out. Even the most docile of men will enjoy going upwards of two hundred miles per hour! Give the need for speed in such an unusual gift. They will be driving through in the comfort of their home.

Another unusual birthday gift idea for men is a little left of center. You can get them a gift basket. That’s right, not just your average mix of items either, we’re talking high end quality foods in limited flavors and styles. This is a great thing for men that love food and drink. These gift baskets include nuts and snacks as well as chocolate and are guaranteed fresh and tasty. You’re not buying or getting cheap items.

There are a lot of great unusual birthday gift ideas for men, including customized items. That’s right, you can make an existing item custom by adding your unique twist via photos or words. There’s so many great things overall, it’s an incredible idea that can create a long lasting impression. From custom Converse shoes, to making your own Monopoly game board, there are several ways to enhance existing products and this is one that is not only unique it’s somewhat unusual.

If those things aren’t really capturing your attention or imagination, try to look at the wide world of USB gadgets. In the realm of unusual birthday gifts for men, you are going to fall over backwards with great must have technology. You can get things like USB powered fridges, coffee cup heaters, small microwaves, fans, lighted Christmas trees, and all sorts of other novelties that will have whomever you give them to a smile. These are unusual because they come with so many different styles, that you can’t possibly go wrong. Not only that, no one really thinks of USB gadgetry in regards to giving gifts, and as long as it’s plugged into a computer the gift keeps on giving for years to come. Technology is not going anywhere, so give it a fair shake and move forward with technology that keeps on being relevant throughout the world.

Unique Home Based Franchise Ideas

The choices in franchise based businesses has grown and now you’ve got more choice than you could possibly imagine a few years back and the most popular of these franchises are the home based ones. These franchises are looking to expand and that means they’re up for sale for anyone looking to be their own boss or work from home and a lot of big time names are included in this list. It’s safe to say that the time of fast foods being the only way to own a franchise are long gone.

Of course just because you’re running a franchise from home doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with anything, as long as you’re doing business, you’re going to meet a lot of challenges and facing them is the only way to guarantee your franchise’s success. Owning a franchise however does give you two huge advantages, you know what works for that business and what the proven ways of getting a head are and then there’s the support you get from the franchisor. The safest thing about any franchise is the guarantee that they’re built on a proven and successful business model.

Not all challenges faced when running a home based franchise are business related; some have a lot to do with the technology you will use. It may surprise you to learn that technology is becoming the way to run most businesses which has led to an increasing popularity in home based franchise ideas. Working from home has become a more practical option with the idea of an internet based franchise. It’s enabled a franchisee to not only get all the benefits of working from home but also earn more than they normally would’ve performing online services. In addition to internet based franchises, there are also lots of franchises that offer online training. This makes it easier for aspiring franchisee to learn the ropes of the new business from the comfort of their own home and at their own learning level. Different franchises that are working online are support franchises, tutorial franchises and marketing franchises.

One of the more popular home based franchise idea in the market is the cleaning franchise. A lot of cleaning businesses are being run from the comfort of home and finding one is easy. Contact a local cleaning business and inquire about open franchise opportunities in your area.

A home based business has a lot of advantages and now it’s become a lot easier to find a franchise that suits your needs. A home based franchise means you get to spend more time with your family and you work for yourself. As opposed to starting your own business and building it up from scratch, a franchise gives you an established and well reputed business model which makes it easier to build your identity in the market. A little research about different franchise ideas will help you pick out what will work best for you.

How Can Event Technology Help Your Event?

The technological world we live in has left no stone unturned, and the field of event technology has changed and improved dramatically over the years. If you are planning an event or are keen to start organising one then learning about what event technology is available and how this can be used at your own event is a good idea. By using relevant and high quality audio visual equipment at your event, you can dramatically improve the experience of the attendees. Having audio visual equipment present can mean the difference between an average event and one that is never forgotten.

Slideshows and overhead projectors as you likely remember then are a thing of the past. Today projectors and projection screens offer an incredible quality and work brilliantly to provide a conference with visual materials. If you organising a conference or a meeting of some kind then the chances are good that your speaker will wish to point to information or provide visual representations of the ideas being discussed. Using a projector with a projection screen is ideal for this. It can be connected to a computer or laptop and therefore can be used to show graphs, slideshows or other presentations easily.

Another relatively new aspect of event technology is that of an interactive whiteboard. These are brilliant for large scale brainstorming sessions and can really encourage audience participation. If you want to particularly encourage interaction between delegates then ensuring you have an interactive whiteboard at the front of the room will help do this. If you are organising a music event or some kind of performance then getting the lighting correct is absolutely critical. Lighting displays are necessary to guarantee a good performance and to ensure the audience enjoy themselves. Lighting systems are more efficient, more effective and better for the environment than ever before. Whether it is a drama or music related event, planning the lighting system is one of the first and most important tasks that should be done.

Digital signage can also make a huge difference to the success of an event of conference. Video walls are available as are single screen displays and a host of other multi screen facilities. Depending on what event you are planning, you may wish to hire some digital signage of some kind to ensure the day stands out in people’s minds. If your event is being hosted outside then you are likely to need some kind or personal address system. These are perfect for making announcements and passing along information. The equipment available today is clearer than ever before and they can project a sound over a considerable area.

If you want to display and present information to a large number of people then hiring some kind of technology is important. The high standard of event technology that is available in the modern age means that business events or conferences can be more interactive than ever before. Musical and theatrical performances too have benefited tremendously over the years due the huge improvements made to lights and sound equipment. Now musical performances can enjoy crisp and clear sounds and theatre productions can make the most out of lighting displays.

Event technology is very important regardless of what type of event you are organising. AV furniture is also available to house the equipment and ensure it works well. Audio visual installation is often included in the overall cost of hiring. You should check this out though with the company you are using. If you are new to the world of event management then it is well worth looking to hire an event management company to organise the event on your behalf. This can save you a great deal of time, money and stress too.

Well, It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time – Business Decisions Driving Bad Technology Decisions

“But it sounded like such a good idea!” How many times have we heard this in the midst of battling the chaos monster we created for ourselves? In this article, I’m going to discuss an example of this from my time with a former employer, who shall remain nameless to avoid the shame.

As a network engineer for a former employer, one of my major assignments was the buildout of a large SONET fiber optic network. The SONET network used Lucent Metropolis DMX multiplexers to carry both TDM services (DS1/DS3) and fast and gigabit Ethernet. This was a major upgrade that replaced a variety of older Cisco routers and a web of point to point links in the core of the network. As the buildout progressed, a business decision was made that a portion of the network would not be completed or delayed in completion. This was a logical business decision that triggered a chain of bad technology decisions in an attempt to deal with it.

The nature of a SONET network is that it is intended to be used in a ring. This provides redundancy, in case of one break in the ring, traffic will still continue to flow uninterrupted. In this case, we’re left with an incomplete broken ring because of the missing portions. Now it’s time for the second chaos inducing business decision, we MUST close the ring and do it with minimal to zero cost.

So now we’re at the first try. There was existing fiber in place from an office part way up one “horn” to the end of the second “horn”. The fiber was out of spec to run the OC48 SONET links but it was adequate to run 100Base-FX Ethernet. So, the first try was to tie an Ethernet port on both ends together with this fiber link and close the ring. Unfortunately, this wasn’t such a good idea. Lucent, in their wisdom, had neglected to implement spanning tree protocol on the DMX Ethernet switch ports (only the virtual port connecting the Ethernet switch to the SONET ring had STP). This resulted in a massive and immediate STP loop and interrupted service for about 65,000 people for 10 minutes.

The second try was to insert a Cisco 2924 Ethernet switch in the link and allow the 2924’s STP to break the loop. This idea worked perfectly in testing and worked perfectly on installation.

Unfortunately, sometime later, the network once again experienced an STP loop with corresponding service outage. I attributed this to the fact that the 2924 wasn’t aware of the STP network of the DMX Ethernet switches and vice versa and they were making independent decisions that might conflict.

Third try was to chop up the SONET network, using scarce and expensive Ethernet ports on the DMXs and reinserting the old Cisco routers. At this point, I decided a mutual parting of the ways was appropriate, given where I could see this was heading. We had taken an elegant, state of the art, SONET network and mutilated it in an attempt to patchwork it, creating an ill performing and unsupportable monster. To say that this would have been a nightmare doesn’t say enough. The configuration was far from anything intended by Lucent.

This illustrates the danger of allowing mutually conflicting business decisions made without adequate consideration of the consequences to drive a a series of desperate patches to critical network systems in an effort to compensate. This caused lost revenue for the company, lost customer good will, and loss of reputation. Ironically, I believe that, in the end, it would have been cheaper to have finished the original project.

The moral of this? Consider carefully the REAL cost of technology affecting decisions, both in terms of money and effect on customer service. Don’t make assumptions about the capability of your network to absorb unconventional changes in configuration. Make sure you understand all the possible downsides. Consult with an experienced network engineer.

Don’t let this happen to you!