The auto industry has undertaken similar studies, with companies such as Delphi Automotive looking at how future trends will affect their business. One big trend is aging drivers. With droves of Baby Boomers reaching retiurement, the auto industry is looking to a bunch of new designs and technology features.
I agree, Greg. The vision for their group, "The Future Technology group is part of FST's Advanced Product Engineering. The group uses a strategic, multi-stepped process to evaluate trends, markets, customer needs, and opportunities to identify what technologies FST should pursue" sounds like an excellent course of action. The only problem is, for most companies, they can't afford to be that farsighted in the current economy - it seems that everyone I know is wearing multiple hats and working longer hours just to remain profitable. This type of effort they describe is so important - but falls by the wayside when companies are reduced to working in survival mode. The irony is that if they had been able to implement this type of strategy, they may not have had to enter survival mode in the first place...
"FST's Future Technology group is organized into two operations -- one that oversees and manages the innovation product portfolio to fill market-segment technology gaps, and one that conducts trend research"
Rob, that's a good strategy. Doing market research to know what the market needs and productizing the research results; can help to deliver the requirement to market.
I do appreciate the culture that this company is establishing on looking towards the future. So many other companies today only focus on the upcoming bottom line for the next fiscal quarter that they never look ahead to the mega-trends unfolding down the road. I hope that this company does well with this new strategy.
It sounds like this company has undertaken a divesification and growth program in a very wise manner, by carefully determining what will be needed in greater quantities in the future. So in that aspect they certainly are on the right track toward success.
Now the part about beaming energy from space by capturing the sun's output does seem reasonable, and I believe that there was a James Bond movie a few years back about some bad guys doing exactly that. Today it should be possible to do something a whole lot like the movie, and probably on a much larger scale. It certainly could be a source of a great deal of power, BUT it would also be a source of a great deal of heat delivered right to the earth's surface.
I do have a concern about that, though, which is in the accuracy and reliability of the aiming system. Consider what would happen if, with the sunshine collected from a square mile reflector focused on a spot ten feet across, the aim drifted away from the intended target. Instant incineration for whatever the beam hit, in all liklelyhood. In any hands it could be used as a very effective weapon, since it would not run out of power, or have to reload.
So perhaps a whole lot of thought should go into any mechanism for collecting solar energy in space to deliver it to earth.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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