The goal of commercialization is to implement the key elements necessary to transform good technology into meaningful products that can fulfill customer needs while remaining cost effective. Specifically, can the technology be the basis for meeting a defined customer need? Can it be reproduced consistently, and can it be manufactured cost effectively?
Most entrepreneurs have expertise in one or more of the critical areas of commercialization, but may lack key elements necessary for success. Commercialization Basics for the Photonics Industry serves as a roadmap for the commercialization process, helping identify and address roadblocks on the path to commercialization. Evaluation techniques will help determine the strength of a business opportunity and guide its development toward the best chance of success.
In the mid-1970s, I was working for a rather large photonics company whose market focus was defense and biomedical applications. In the development center, two teams were working on advanced materials for the fiber optic product line. At age 31, I headed up one team. The gentleman who headed up the other team was 61 years old. A business slow down occurred, and my counterpart got laid off. The key question was, how do I protect myself when I’m 31 so that I don’t get laid off at 61? As I look back over 38 years, the answer is straightforward: understand the commercialization aspects of technology. This will help focus your product development activities in a manner that greatly increases the probability of business successes. The impact is twofold: the company benefits from better, more relevant products, and you benefit by being more valuable to the company.
From a photonics standpoint, Commercialization Basics for the Photonics Industry looks broadly at technology commercialization using photonic-specific examples. In general, the basic commercialization elements for technology also apply to photonics technology. Unique to photonics, market segmentation will also be an important part of the discussion.