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Future Technology Marketing: We Pitch 5 Great Australian Inventions

Tracey James - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Australian Future Technology Marketing | by Technoledge

Future Technology is so new and mind-bending that, often, mere mortals can’t grasp the concept, let alone figure out if they need it. Where do you start with Future Technology Marketing? We show you how to un-complicate 5 great Aussie Future Tech inventions - Exelgram, Wi-Fi, Frazier Lens, Polymer Bank Note and Synroc.

The top 5 

These 5 inventions were all in the mind-bending Future Tech category when they were created, and some proved even more revolutionary than imagined. We'll look at what they are, what they solve and how we'd pitch them from a technology marketing perspective - using 4 main elements from the classic ‘elevator pitch’:

•Define the target market
•Clarify the problem
•Show why alternatives are inferior
•Describe how users will benefit.

We've also added notes about developments since. Clearly technology marketing doesn’t stop with explaining the technology to the first buyers. In some cases, intelligent crisis management could have done wonders. Find more about how we market Future Technologies.

(By the way, just because the latest invention is 1995, doesn't mean there weren't great ones since. Most of the others on Wikipedia's extensive list extend existing technology (e.g. Blast Glass and the Cervical Cancer Vaccine), fit into categories other than Future Tech (e.g. the Robotic Visual Horizon (electronics), the Quantum Bit and the Anti-Hacking Kernel (IT)), or are more low than high tech (e.g. the Heg). We think these 5 below are truly ground-breaking Australian Future Technology.)

Also, we can hardly wait until the Powerhouse Museum gives us rights to use some fabulous pictures of these 5 great Aussie breakthroughs.

TECHNOLOGY MARKETING EXAMPLE 1: EXELGRAM

Invented by Dr Bob Lee from CSIRO Micro-technology in 1995.

What is it?

A device placed into passports, visas, credit cards, banknotes and travelers’ cheques to prevent illegal copying.

What problem does it solve?

Illegal copying (including CDs and DVDs which copied by other means) accounts for about $US300 billion a year which is about 5-7% of world trade. It’s a very big problem.

How would we pitch it?

For authorized makers of credit cards, passports, visas, banknotes and travelers’ cheques who want to minimise the risk of counterfeiting, Exelgram is the ultimate anti-counterfeit device. Unlike holograms which can be copied cheaply and easily, Exelgrams are micro-patterns that are written directly onto the product, produce 2 different images and cannot be copied. Users of Exelgram technology will enjoy peace of mind, with dramatically-reduced losses from counterfeiting, replacement, compensation and, potentially, damage to reputation.   

What's happened since?

Exelgram reduced the rate of counterfeiting of American Express Travelers’ cheques by 89% and has since been embraced for Hungarian, Estonian and New Zealand banknotes; Vietnamese bank cheques, Ukrainian visas, and Saudi Arabian security products.

TECHNOLOGY MARKETING EXAMPLE 2: WI-FI

Invented by Dr John O'Sullivan, Dr Terry Percival, Mr Diet Ostry & Mr Graham Daniels at CSIRO Radioastronomy in 1992.

 

What is it?

It’s Wirelsss Local Area Network (WLAN) technology that connects electronic devices like PCs, video-game consoles, smartphones, digital cameras, tablet computers and digital audio players.

What problem does it solve?

Before Wi-fi, computers could only be connected to each other or the internet by wires (remember the plug in internet connection?). The Wi-fi protocol enables creation of Wi-fi hotspots, in offices and public spaces, as well as mobile modems including the smartphone itself. It was the enabling of the ‘mobile warrior’ which was ground-breaking in 1996. Where it has gone since, we take completely for granted these days.

 

 

How would we pitch it?

For anyone who uses a mobile phone, computer or other electronic device, and wants to connect with others without the restrictions of the wired environment, Wi-Fi creates 'the hotspot'. With Wi-Fi, users can login to a wireless network wherever hotspots are - in airports, public buildings, coffee lounges, even at home. Users of Wi-fi will experience unimagined freedom, connectivity and mobility in just about all areas of their lives.

What's happened since?

Wi-Fi sparked the revolution in mobile connectivity. All major communications companies were grappling with the problem at the time, but CSIRO pipped them at the post. Including successful high profile patents claims against AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile,  CSIRO reaped $420 million in royalties for its invention by 2012. It’s a great Aussie success story.

TECHNOLOGY MARKETING EXAMPLE 3: FRAZIER LENS 

Invented by wildlife photographer Jim Frazier in 1993.

What is it?

A cine-camera lens which provides great depth of field by enabling the foreground and background to be in focus at the same time.

What problem does it solve?

Before the Frazier lens, making the impossible look real (like dinosaurs or the sinking of the Titanic) wasn’t easy. Traditional lenses blurred either the foreground or background, so the cinematographer couldn’t record the reality that his own eyes could see. Solving the problem required multiple sets, cameras and angles, which was time-consuming and expensive to do, and still didn't achieve the desired result.

How would we pitch it?

For cinematographers who want absolute realism in close-up or distance shots, without spending hours setting up individual sets for different angles, the Frazier lens provides unequaled depth of field with horizon correction. The Frazier lens focuses the foreground and background simultaneously, so the audience sees what the human eye would see, but traditional lenses cannot. Users of the Frazier lens can record wide angled sweeps through to close-ups of insects, with exceptional definition, clarity and realism, and do it quickly and easily, with fewer sets and cameras.

What's happened since?

The Frazier lens ('the impossible lens') and its inventor were made famous when greats like Steven Spielberg (the Lost World), James Cameron (titanic) and Sir David Attenborough embraced it with gusto. However, Jim Frazier nearly lost the lot when competitors found holes in his patent process. He survived the ordeal, and has returned to his roots: spectacular wildlife photography around his home in Taree .

TECHNOLOGY MARKETING EXAMPLE 4: THE POLYMER BANK NOTE

Invented in collaboration by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), CSIRO and The University of Melbourne in 1998.

What is it?

It’s a bank note manufactured from polymers, rather than printed on paper.

What problem does it solve?

The original problem was forgery; the existing watermarked paper note was too easy to copy. Paper notes also tore easily, resulting in a short usable life. They were also made from paper, so affected the environment at the production as well as disposal ends of the process. All this added up to an inefficient, expensive solution. 

How would we pitch it?

For countries who print their own currency and are concerned about forgery, we’ve developed Guardian® a revolutionary polymer–based banknote which is counterfeit-resistant. Unlike paper-based notes, the Guardian banknote can build in sophisticated anti-forgery security features. It’s also made from non-wood sources, and is more durable and more cost-effective to produce than paper notes. Those who choose Guardian® can reduce their forgery risk and currency production costs, while reducing impact on their environments.

What's happened since?

Guardian® technology was sold to Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Zambia, Indonesia and many more countries. However its further spread to the UK and USA was stalled in 2011 by bribery allegations involving the RBA and its subsidiaries, Note Printing Australia and Securency. It'll be interesting to see if the Exelgram is incorporated into the Polymer Bank Note.

TECHNOLOGY MARKETING EXAMPLE 5: SYNROC 

Invented at Australian National University in 1978 with further research by ANSTO.

What is it?

It’s a synthetic ceramic rock designed for safe storage of High Level radioactive Waste (HLW).

What problem does it solve?

When stored in liquid form, HLW poses a huge environmental risk. It’s because the half life (time for the isotope to reduce its radioactivity by half) - from 30 years (Caesium-137) to 15.7 millions year (Iodine-129) – is a whole lot longer than the full life of any storage container. The inventors of SynRoc thought outside the square to immobilize the waste in solid form.

How would we pitch it?

For organizations who must store high level radioactive waste, yet are concerned about environmental risk, we’ve created Synroc, a ceramic-based synthetic rock which converts the waste to a compact, inert solid. Unlike long term liquid waste storage which is prone to container degradation, leakage and environmental damage, Synroc irreversibly binds the waste into the crystal structure of the ceramic. As a result, Synroc is a tough, dense solid which is cost-effective to make and safe to transport and store, even for very long periods. Users of Synroc technology can greatly reduce the cost and risk of radioactive waste storage, while demonstrating measurable environmental responsibility.

What's happened since?

Synroc is used around the world for storage of nuclear power generation waste and military waste. It’s also the basis for the controversial global nuclear waste disposal industry, proposed to be based in remote Australia. Another great Aussie success story.

Technology Marketing plays a huge part in the promotion of these great Aussie inventions, which have become huge global success stories.

Even looking at just 5 Aussie inventions, it's great to see the contribution of CSIRO, Australia's premier research organisation featuring in 3 of them - and in many more in Wikipedia's full list. Considering the continuously-diminishing level of government support for CSIRO, I'm not optimistic about seeing this trend for much longer. I hope I'm wrong.

Read more about how we market ground-breaking future technologies here.

Tracey


Tracey James
Chief Executive

Tracey used to be a bio-technologist but got sick of acid holes in her clothing. She switched to biotech marketing for companies like Merck and GE Health before taking a leap of faith into marketing IT.


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