QUESTION 1: TECHNOLOGY EVOLUTION
Evolution of Smartwtch
The smartwatch technology has evolved significantly in various stages since 1974 such as Nelsonic game watches of the 1980s, the Seiko message watch of the 1990s, and the Apple Watch of 2010s. SMARTWATCH TECHNOLOGYNelsonic game watches were first established in 1989 as incremental change to improve the value of watches by including games despite that these games were simple. In 1990s, the Sieko Company improved the value of smartwatches by introducing the Sieko message watch through incremental change (Kim 2017). This watch could receive simple text messages from a paging service. However, the paging service went offline on December 31, 1999 and hence the watch were discontinued. Currently, the watch is worn as a regular digital watch but cannot function as a beeper. Fifteen years later, Apple introduced Apple watch which came as a result of radical change. At this time, there was high demand for innovative watches in the market and hence there was need for developing a new product that would meet the customer demands. Unlike the Nelsonic game watches and Seeiko message watch, in order for the Apple watch to perform many of its functions such as texting and calling; it depends on a wirelessly connected iPhone (Dingman & Kennedy 2015).
S-Curve of Smartwatch
The S-curve above shows that smartwatch technology has evolved significantly since 1974. In the above figure, the s- curve was used to indicate that smartwatch technology’s performance evolved slowly in the beginning with very small improvement in 1980s. However, at some point (1990s) a breakthrough happened and it improved rapidly. The Seiko message watch was an incremental change from the Nelsonic game watch. In 1990s people started feeling the need for texting and communicating using their watches which was more valuable than playing games and hence there was the development of Seiko message watches.
This is clearly indicated by the sharp gradient of the curve during this time. In 2010s, the curve becomes a bit flat indicating that there was no much improvements. During this time, the limits of what is scientifically possible in the smartwatch technology are reached and the performance does not show much increase. Therefore, with the development of Apple watch which can be used like a smartphone, the smartwatch has slow developments in terms of performance. For the product to develop further, radical change is required depending on the nature of the technology level in the market and customer demands and preferences.
Disruption of Smartwatch Technology in Communication Industry
According to Larson (2016), the theory of disruptive technology was coined in 1990s by Clayton Christensen and since then everyone talks about disruption when a new business or a product emerges in the market. The smartwatch technology has disrupted the smartphone industry. The smartphone market has become increasingly saturated and there are chances that smartwatches may replace them in the market. This is because almost all the technology companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are in a race to develop new smartwatch products which are highly demanded in the market. Currently, smartwatches are already a $60 billion annually business globally.
With 70% penetration rate of smartphones, they have reached the saturation point in some global markets such as the United States and hence they can be replaced with more innovative technology such as the smartwatches. According to Clayton Christensen, disruption can be new- market or low- end market. In this case, smartwatch can be characterized as new- market disruption whereby it competes in the non- consumption lower margin sectors (Larson 2016). In the markets where smartphones are saturated, smartwatches will be seen as good enough. Smartwatch manufacturing companies pursue this new technology at the higher tier markets because this has historically helped them succeed.
Disruption in the Next Five Years
Currently, smartwatch cannot perform without connecting them to smartphones. This shows that despite that they have disrupted the innovation of smartphones, they still require them for functioning. Some researchers believe that smartwatch will contribute towards the renewal of smartphones in the most saturated markets. However, this may not be the case. In the next five years, smartwatch companies will experience increased competition in the market and the product will have penetrated effectively in the market. Therefore, customers will demand technological improvement in order to satisfy their needs.
As a result, new generation smartwatches will be developed which will not require smartphones to function. As mentioned by Larson (2016), innovation is a process and therefore there are plan on how to make smartwatches independent of smartphones. The next generation of smartwatch will have all the basic functions of a smartphone; they shall be easy to wear, will be trendy, and will be of a certain class hence making them most demanded devises in the market. The speed of smartwatch will be twice the speed of smartphones and will offer an enjoyable user experience hence disrupting smartphones.
QUESTION 2: ADOPTION AND DIFFUSION
Adoption of Smartwatch Technology
Apple is a successful company in the development of smartwatches. This section explains why the company is very successful in the adoption of the technology. In the current wave of increased competition in the watch market, there is a need to use innovation to meet customer demands and needs. Innovation is a process of generating new technological ideas and converting them into unique, useful and viable commercial services and products as well as business practices for their economic gain. Increasing innovation is one of the main principles of Apple. Apple is successful in the adoption of smartwatch technology because it has creative individuals. The company understands the importance of knowledge development and management and hence the company invests a lot in developing human resources and knowledge management.
Apple is very successful in the adoption of smartwatch because it values innovation. Due to the increased competition in the market especially from Samsung and Huawei in the smartphone sector, the company is left to invest in innovation in order to maintain its market leadership. The company’s operating functions and activities are aimed at developing knowledge and processing it into new products.
As mentioned by Chuah, Rauschnabel, Krey, Nguyen, Ramayah and Lade (2016) and Apurva (2016), the adoption of an innovation or new technology is determined by the external linkages of an organization. Therefore, the strong external linkages of Apple as well as its architecture play a critical role towards the company’s adoption of the smartwatch technology. Apple’s market especially in the developed world such as the United States, Europe and Australia has changed significantly and consumer and customer demands are changing hence putting pressure on the company to be more innovative. As customers demand for new technology, Apple has to ensure that their customers are satisfied.
The state or the government contributes significantly towards the success of a company. For instance, in Australia the Prime Minister launched National Innovation and Science Agenda. Therefore, the government supports adoption of new and innovative technologies.
Commercialization is one factor that makes Apple very successful in the adoption of smartwatch technology in Australia. The company has well- coordinated business decisions which are key in the successful transmission of a new technology. Employees in the company are well trained to ensure that they do not view a technology or a change as a strategy to replace them or to exert pressure on their jobs but as a strategy to improve the value of their products and services and hence increasing their competitiveness and competitive advantages in the market.
As noted by McCoy, Badinelli, Koebel and Thabet (2010) and Slater and Mohr (2006), diffusion of innovation fail in some companies because of the objection faced from employees. Apple understands this challenge and hence all the employees are well trained and the new technology is well communicated among the employees to prepare them well in advance. The company invests a lot in research to ensure that before adopting a new technology, its benefits and shortcomings are well known.
Recommendations for Forecasting Demand for Existing and Emerging Markets
Smartwatch technology companies should forecast demand in the existing and emerging markets by forecasting the drivers of the demand. The main driver of the technology demand is functionality. Customers in the existing and emerging markets demand products with high functionality. As the functionality of smartwatches improves the demand for them would take off because currently the demand has cooled waiting for the functionality improvement. For instance, when smartwatches become independent of smartphones, their demand would increase in the market.
The emerging markets are increasingly catching up the smartwatch technology as a large portion of the existing market has already adopted the technology. Therefore, as the technology diffuses into the emerging markets, companies will adopt them and hence customers in the market will demand them. Globalization plays a major role in the adoption of technology and hence globalization will ensure that the smartwatch technology is adopted in the emerging markets.
Smartwatch companies should divide demand for smartwatches technology into component parts. Currently, the demand for smartphones in the existing markets has reduced but is on the rise in the emerging markets. Therefore, since smartwatches are used together with smartphones, their demand has a potential of rising in the emerging markets. The global market for smartwatches is forecasted to exceed 110 million units by the year 2020 (Global Industry Analysts Inc 2015). This demand will be driven by the rapid penetration of smartphones in the emerging markets, demand for improved quality functional as well as efficiency of technological devices, and the high demand of wireless fitness as well as sports devices. The increasing spending power in the emerging markets is a clear indication that smartwatch technology will have high demand because it is a new technology (Global Industry Analysts Inc 2015).
QUESTION 3: TURNING TECHNOLOGY INTO BUSINESS
Human resource plays an important role when taking an emerging technology to the market. When taking the smartwatches technology in the emerging markets, the value for the market will be created by having the following people playing various roles.
|HR Manager||Recruiting new personnel in the existing and emerging markets, engaging employees in the process of launching the new technology, managing the new technology|
|IT Manager||Overseeing the management of the information and communication technology.|
|General manager||Overseeing the process of technology development and marketing|
|Marketing coordinator||Conducting marketing research in the new and existing markets, coordinating marketing activities in the existing and emerging markets, conducting customer awareness practices, spearheading the training of new marketing personnel|
|Quality representative||Ensuring high quality in the production and marketing stages.|
In order to effectively innovate, the team has an effective communication mechanism where they hold meetings and deliberate on the various issues that affect the process of launching the technology in the markets. The company will form strategic alliances and joint ventures with companies in the markets to make the launching process easy and effective. Through strategic alliances, the innovation will target a large market because the partnering companies will employ their marketing strategies to market smartwatch in the existing and emerging markets.
Joint ventures will effectively distribute the innovation to the new and existing markets hence increasing the penetration rate. However, there may be challenges emanating from the management of the innovation and how profits and losses shall be shared between the companies forming an alliance. As mentioned by Global Industry Analysts Inc. (2015), the demand for smartwatches has increased in the emerging markets and hence distribution should be increased. Forming joint ventures will increase sales in the international markets.
In order for any organization to successful transfer innovation in the market, the management practices should be very effective. For instance, employees should be highly motivated and informed about the technology and its impacts on the performance of the company. There should be effective communication between the managers and employees to ensure that employees understand their role and how they should relate with customers to increase their value. An organization culture is an important aspect to consider. Successful companies such as Apple and Samsung have innovation integrated in their cultures.
Employees are very creative and innovative and hence they market and promote their products and services in the market through their actions (Capatina & Draghescu 2015). Therefore, internal marketing is an important aspect of organizational culture. A successful organization should have adequate human resources. This can be achieved through joint ventures, strategic alliances, or employing experts. Employees interact directly with customers and they explain to them why they should buy their products. Without adequate employees an organization may not be able to achieve their intended goals and objectives such as reaching out a large number of customers in the market. The success of transferring a new product in the market is determined by the process of product development. For instance, there should quality assurance department to ensure that the innovation is not compromised and customers get high value for their money (Bhuiyan 2011).
Transferring Innovation to the Market
Based on the research conducted in this study, personal reflection, and skills gained; for effective transfer of smartwatch technology to the market, there should be external linkages, employees should be engaged and effective product development process. External linkages include the networks a company has in the external market which include strategic alliances and joint ventures to ensure that the technology reaches a wide market. Without external network, an organization cannot effectively reach customers in the market or it can be very expensive.
Engaging employees is very effective in transferring a product or an innovation in the market. Employees play a critical role in launching the innovation and hence they should be engaged in the whole process. For instance, employees should be aware of the market demand and should be allowed to make their own decisions based jobs. Engaging employees helps in motivating them and encouraging them to offer their services towards increasing market share in the emerging and existing markets.
Based on the study, it is clear that product development process is very imperative in transferring a product in the existing and emerging markets. Product development process involves ensuring the quality of the product or innovation transferred in the market. For instance, the quality of smartwatch technology should not be compromised in some markets in order to maintain the reputation of the company.
LIST OF REFERENCES
Apurva, A. (2016) ‘Factors influencing the adoption of smart wearable devices.’ Masters Theses. 7492
Bhuiyan, N. (2011) ‘A framework for successful new product development.’ Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 4(4): 746-770
Capatina, G. & Draghescu, F. (2015) ‘Success factors of new product launch: The case of iPhone launch.’ International Journal of Economics and Finance, 7(5): 61-69
Chuah, S., Rauschnabel, P., Krey, N., Nguyen, B., Ramayah, T. & Lade, S. (2016) ‘Wearable technologies: The role of usefulness and visibility in smartwatch adoption.’ Computers in Human Behaviour, 65(2): 276-284
Dingman, S. & Kennedy, D. (2015) ‘A moment in time: The evolution of the smartwatch.’ The Globe and Mail, 1
Global Industry Analysts Inc. (2015) ‘The global smartwatches market.’ Global Industry Analysts Inc., 1
Kim, K. (2017) ‘Shape and size matter for smartwatches: Effects of screen shape, screen size, and presentation mode in wearable communication.’ Journal of Computer- Mediated Communication, 22(3): 124-140
Larson, C. (2016) ‘4 keys to understanding Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation.’ Harvard Business School, 1-5
McCoy, A., Badinelli, R., Koebel, T. & Thabet, W. (2010) ‘Concurrent commercialization and new‐product adoption for construction products.’ European Journal of Innovation Management, 13(2): 222-243
Slater, S. & Mohr, J. (2006) ‘Successful development and commercialization of technological innovation: Insights based on strategy type.’ The Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23(1): 26-33