Lecture 9: Market Segmentation with SensAble Technologies: Part I

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Descriptions: Bill Aulet discusses how he and his team at SensAble conducted market segmentation for their novel 3D imaging technology.

Instructor: Bill Aulet

BILL AULET: In regard to market segmentation, let me give you a very concrete example. One of the companies that I started with, Thomas Massie-- it was actually his technology started with sensible devices then we created SensAble Technologies-- was a revolutionary 3D interface into the computer. Basically, it was a robot that allowed you to feel things in the computers. It was like a 3D mouse next to it. But I could feel it as I've moved in here. I could feel what I saw. And I could lift it up and down, I could twist it around, I could move it-- extraordinary technology. And I could actually deform what I saw there.

So for the first time people could-- they could see things in the computer. They could hear things in the computer. But for the first time, they could touch it as well. Extraordinary breakthrough. It allowed all types of things to happen. You could now play games, that way you could feel things, you could do medical simulations, you could do-- interact with 3D objects in ways that people couldn't imagine-- have imagined before. Blind people could now use it.

There was just-- it was a target rich environment of things that we could do. And we made a list of all the things we could do. It was extraordinarily long. Crazy ideas. Ideas that were inappropriate. But we had to come up with a way to move forward that was aligned with our passion and our values.

So what we did is we made a matrix that listed at the very top the top markets that we were going to be involved with. And for instance, one of them was an animator. That was the customer. So in this it was the--the industry was the entertainment industry. And I apologize for this being too small, but we'll put online an example of this matrix because it's going to be very detail.

But while the industry, entertainment, was relevant, what was much more relevant was, who was the end user? Who was the end user? And in this case, the end user was an animator-- be it Pixar, be it Industrial Light and Magic, be it Disney. All these people had a real need to move three-dimensional objects around. And we decided not to focus on a 2D, but strictly the 3D.

So within that, we had to say, that's the end user. What exactly are they doing? And in three dimensions, what they were doing was, what was the application that they were doing? And the application was they were sculpting, they were painting, and there might be some dynamics.

So you've seen 3D movies. So they have to create the short shapes. They have to sculpt them. They then paint them to be a certain color, and they paint them in three dimensions. And then they move them around. And so all of these things were things that our animators we're doing in a very non-intuitive way. But as soon as I could have our three device, they could do that.

And so when we go down to what were they going to use it for, now, we could have the specific benefits that they were going to be achieved from this as well. And we could-- we gave a detailed description of the benefits that they would get from this, then we would say, what does the market look like-- market characteristics? Then we talk about who are the current players that are out there doing that, so we can see the as-is state-- so why we're better. And you can see through this whole matrix that we layout.