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Innovative Tech: Riding Coattails

By: Michael Bleau

Saturday, May 01, 2010
 
With the April release of Apple’s new tablet, one should expect to see these popping up in a variety of settings as people leverage the real estate on this large, relatively inexpensive touch-screen computer. Positioned nicely between smart phones, smaller laptops and netbooks, this latest Apple gadget already has managed to create pandemonium with analysts and consumers. Adapting such innovative technology in creative ways can have a positive impact on your business, even if for just riding the coattails of Apple’s coolness factor.

Few would blame your company for wanting to take advantage of Apple’s allure. Consider a creative approach employed by Hyundai as it recently announced that it will present a “free” iPad to buyers of the company’s new flagship luxury sedan, the 2011 Equus. While you may question whether the iPad included is actually free, the fact remains that the vehicle comes with an interactive, iPad-based owner’s manual. Hyundai’s App on this tablet also will serve as an interactive showcase, highlighting the features of the 378-hp V-8 powered sedan.

But it doesn’t end there, as the inventive marketers at Hyundai tuned the App to also be used by owners to manage and schedule service appointments.

Any edge that you create within your product category that adds real value or causes decision makers to gravitate to your offering can improve your position over competitors. So, while I’m not suggesting that including an iPad is an appropriate component of your deliverable, you can leverage other technology to creatively elevate your customer’s perception of your brand.

Sizzle aside, the advent of smart phones and devices like the iPad afford industrial manufacturers the means to collaborate and communicate like never before. These devices, the prevalence of Apps and the relatively low expense in creating your own custom Apps make it easy to pool information, analyze data and collaborate. Early adoption of such devices provides a distinct advantage over those who choose to wait and see.

Case in point, last month I visited a client’s videoconference room for a meeting with a European division. The room featured a wall of high-definition monitors, multi-perspective cameras and a sweeping conference table adorned with laptop docks and microphones. When the call was initiated, something wasn’t working. In our impatience, we launched a WebEx meeting from our laptops, invited our European friends to join in and held the videoconference, shared desktops and moved forward using a far less glamorous system.

While it’s unfortunate that such a superior system failed, if not for our having a portable system in our briefcases we would have walked away with wasted time instead of completed action items. My point: As costs and learning-curve hurdles for acquiring and taking advantage of communications technology lessen, we as manufacturers need to adopt and adapt quickly to gain every edge possible over competitors, especially those in overseas, low-cost countries.

If you have plans to step up the way you present to prospects while streamlining communications within your organization, then consider adopting technologies that do so while sparking intrigue and “wow” factors with your customers. MF

 


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