Monthly Archives: June 2011

Successful Innovation

What does it take for a good idea to become a good product? To paraphrase one of the honorees at the TechAmerica 18th Annual OC High-Tech Innovation Awards held on June 9th, 2011, invention is about having fun and innovation is about creating value. So what is needed for a product or service to truly innovate and become a new standard?

Some inventions may hold the promise of value but require major changes to the existing infrastructure. While hydrogen fuel cells or electric vehicles may represent the future of the automotive industry, in order to replace the internal combustion engine, we need to figure out how to replace the gas station on every corner. This is going to be a costly endeavor as well as one that the entrenched industry (gas station owners and oil companies) may not be quick to embrace.

When we think of innovation much of what you think of are R&D breakthroughs and bleeding edge technologies that capture the imagination. But those technologies often take years of development and refinement in order for the cost of production to make it affordable to the masses. Innovations like those introduced by Apple in recent years are a notable exception in part due to their ability to source, manufacture, and distribute products on a scale that can keep their costs competitive.

So if you aren’t Apple, how do you create an innovative product that can make it in the market?

With ViridiSTOR, we looked at these issues and developed our solution to address these issues.

On the value front, we looked at the whole product ecosystem from all of the potential stakeholders in the technology. In our case, that includes trade show, event, and conference organizers/owners, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees. From an innovation standpoint, we look at how our solution will impact and improve the experience for each stakeholder.

Our product/service offering allows an event to replace paper-based materials with electronic media. Not only does our product have an environmental benefit, but it provides value to each stakeholder.

  • For event organizers, it makes their events greener, reduces costs by freeing up excess storage space, generates new revenue through sponsorship opportunities, and makes the content of their shows more relevant.
  • For exhibitors, the solution reduces the cost of printing and shipping materials while allowing them to provide videos, presentations, and other multimedia content to their prospects.
  • Finally, for attendees, they no longer have to carry bags full of paper brochures and materials from the booths they visit. Instead they collect information electronically on a USB device and have the ability to sort, categorize, search, compare, and share that information on their computers, a vast improvement over shuffling through catalogs and brochures to find that one piece of information needed.

On the infrastructure front, our solution uses existing technologies that have been re-imagined to create an innovative new process and approach to distributing content. Additionally as they are proven technologies that are readily available there is no need to be concerned over the stability and reliability of the product. So unlike a bleeding edge technology, our solution can be implemented today and at a cost that is lower than the existing method of distributing paper based materials.

With the Green Box Solution, we have looked at the hurdles of introducing innovative products and designed a solution that is efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly. And for that, we have been named to the OC Metro 2011 Green Team and honored by TechAmerica Orange County as the 2011 High-Tech Innovation Award Winner in its Hardware category.


TechAmerica Orange County Unveils 2011 High-Tech Innovation Awards Winners

ViridiSTOR was honored at the TechAmerica OC High Tech Awards for Innovation in the Hardware category.

What does it take to be green?

It seems everywhere you look the idea of sustainability, eco-consciousness, and going green are in vogue. Many shows and events tout their commitment to the environment or list the steps they are taking to be more green. A number of surveys have also been conducted that show that exhibitors and attendees are interested in or favor green exhibits. But what does it mean to be green? And at what cost are people truly committed to the effort?

To address the first question one needs to think about the entire event ecosystem and evaluate if the net impact is positive or negative on the environment. This includes items like travel, lodging, and shipping as well as single use items like booth carpeting. It also should look at whether the environmental impact is lessened or just shifted. Do you forgo distributing collateral opting to send it to prospects and customers? If so, does the cost and impact of mailing that same information outweigh the cost and impact of shipping it to the show? Is it a zero sum game? Or is it worse because your fulfillment house actually ships several copies instead of just one? Do you email materials or use QR codes only to have attendees print up your materials because they want to store those materials somewhere other than their inbox or smartphone? However, if you are able to provide a solution that actually reduces the environmental impact of a show and this can be replicated across multiple shows and potentially become a new industry standard, then you can make a real difference.

Addressing the second question is a bit more interesting. While green seems to be the latest buzzword, the cost or “inconvenience” of being green still presents a huge obstacle to mainstream adoption. At the recent Profit Plus Planet Sustainability in Business Conference conducted by the Merage School of Business, it was evident that in order to be “green” it was important that the technology, product, or practice in question needed to be economically viable. A certain element of the population will be willing to pay a premium to be eco-conscious as evidenced by the sales of hybrid cars, but in order to gain mass acceptance at a level that can significantly impact the environment, it will be necessary to be cost competitive or offer an entirely better user experience that warrants the difference in cost or price.

How sustainable is the idea of green events? Only time will tell. It is possible for the trade show and conference industry to make wide sweeping changes that contribute to a marked reduction in pollution. However it will be necessary for everyone involved (organizers, exhibitors, suppliers, and attendees) to do their part.