Potential market

SECTION I: The product

1a The innovation potential of this product is related to:  

  • Technology-driven innovation (under the influence of the development of science – the market is not ready for the product)
  • Market-driven innovation (as a result of market surveys, the market expects the product)
  • Replacement of existing product
  • Product related to cost reduction
  • Radical new product
  • Other, what…
The innovation potential of this product is related to technology-driven innovation. Modern technologies as computers, Internet, affective computing, human-computer interaction and avatars have been used by the development team in order to create this system.

1b What added value for end-users does the product hold?
• higher quality
• Better technical characteristics
• Other …
This product comprises several modules which offer higher quality and better technical characteristics to the end-users.

1c What is the Unique Sales Proposition of the potential product?
The Unique Sales Propositions of the product are the following: 

  • It provides an integrated, realistic and efficient educational environment which is closer to the autistic child’s needs
  • It takes into account the individual characteristics of each person with Autism and adapts the educational procedure accordingly
  • It enables easy monitoring and analysis of the learning process, thereby enhancing and normalizing the educational procedures toward each person’s needs

SECTION 2: The Market

2a What is the target market for the product?  

  • National
  • European
  • Global

Please describe the characteristics of your target market.

This product addresses a large global market. For many years, the most cited statistic is that autism occurs in 4.5 out of 10000 live births. This was based on large-scale surveys conducted in the United States and England. Moreover, the estimate of children having autism vary considerably depending on the country, ranging from 2 out of 10000 in Germany to as high as 16 out of 10000 in Japan. The following are extrapolated statistics about the number of kids with autism : 

USA : 500.000

UK : 120.000

Canada : 65.000

Australia : 40.000

Greece : 20.000

 

2b How the product is characterized from the following options?  

Number of companies producing similar products in the field.

• Base – applied by all companies in the industry

• Leading – applied by a single or limited number of competitive companies

• Key –at a development stage, but has already proven its potential

The proposed system is considered as a leading product and is not produced by other companies. However, there are various competing educational systems for autistic children.

 

2c What type of market demand will be satisfied? 

• Existing demand – the market is already developed

• hidden (latent) demand – the market has yet to be developed

The market that this product addresses has yet to be developed. The means for its development is advertising the product in private schools which work with kids with Autism.

2d What is the current stage of the product’s market life cycle? 

• Implementation, implementation in production (leading to a radically new product offers)

• Growth (rapid spread within the industry or outside it)

• maturity (parameters of the technical characteristics of manufactured products reached their maximum, higher-grade products can be manufactured on the basis of technological substitution)

The proposed system is considered to be in the growth phase of the product’s market life cycle, since it entails innovative technology for the enhancement of the teacher-child educational process.

2e Strategic partnerships (existing or potential).
There is already a strategic partnership with Autism School ELPIDA

SECTION 3: The Competition

3a What is the competition within your target market?
The current competition is consisted by the following products: 

  • Boardmaker, from Mayer-Johnson company, is a database of graphic picture communication symbols (PCS) that can be searched on the computer.
  • Picture It, from Slater Software, is a tool for creating visually supported material. The program allows the developing of stories or directions that include text and accompanying pictures, in order to give emergent readers the chance to practice reading with visual clues.
  • Eye-CONS, from Kidaccess, is a database of over 800 realistic color graphic images that are more abstract than photos, but more concrete than the picture communication symbols.
  • Soft Touch aims to give educators and parents various choices that will help students learn. Their mission is to have the autistic students enjoy the learning process.

3b What competitive advantages will the introduction of the new product ensue? 

• lower prices based on lower production costs

• product differentiation (uniqueness of the product proposal)

This pioneering product, provided by the Lab Of Medical Informatics (LOMI) at Aristotle University, presents a number of advantages in relation to its competitors. The introduction of the new product will ensue product differentiation, as it entails unique technological characteristics.

 

3c Potential products relate to the following price range: 

• High price range

• Average price range

• Low price range

Considering products of the same power band, this system relates to low price range.

 

3d Potential products will be marketed: 

• To regulated markets (e.g. heat supply, water supply, universal telecommunication services, agricultural products, fishing industry, architectural services)

• To markets operating on the principle of free negotiation between agents on the market

Potential products will be marketed to markets operating on the principle of free negotiation between agents on the market.

SECTION 4: Indicators

 

Estimated cost of the new products Annual use of software: 

1000 € (for schools)

1200 € (for professionals)

150 € (for parents)

Expected market volume (potential / maximum number of users) Maximum number of potential users exceeds 200000
Expected sales volume Year 1: 100 

Year 2: 200

Year 3: 300

Year 4: 300

Year 5: 300

Expected market share of the company (proportion between sales and total company sales in the relevant market) 10%

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Description

Autism disorder is known to be characterized by a “triad of impairments” :

  • The primary one is the social impairment : an autistic person has difficulties in relating to other people.
  • A second one is the communication impairment : both verbal and non-verbal communication channels are hard to be understood and used by people with autism.
  • Finally, there exists rigidness in thinking, language and behaviour. It is agreed that the common traits of autism are abnormal reaction to input stimuli, lack of human engagement and inability to generalize between environments.

Autism is seen as a mental disability rather than a psychiatric illness and as such it requires a particular education process than can assist autistic persons in learning basic social, communication and reasoning skills. Education can be used as a tool to help autistic persons to cope with the “theory of mind deficit – difficulty in understanding mental states of others and ascribing them to themselves or others”. Successful autism “treatments” using educational interventions have been reported even a decade ago.

The proposed platform intends to enhance or mediate the teacher-child educational process. It is based on various interaction procedures according to the disability level of the autistic person in question. Several modules comprise the platform. Each of them represents a specific learning domain. Namely, there are modules where the child is asked to identify the correct image between two or more images, to put images in the correct sequence (according to time), identify emotions by visual expressions etc.

Furthermore, the more complex modules are in the form of semi-virtual environments. They provide the child with the ability to interact in a safe and controlled way. The theme of each module varies from objects in the normal surroundings, everyday use objects, colours, words etc. The instructions are given either by an affective avatar, synthesized speech in autistic person’s native language (in the specific example – Greek), written in the screen, by the corresponding makaton symbol or a combination of these.

Additionally, the avatar can express emotions depending on the situations, e.g. happiness when the correct image is selected, sadness if not. The instructions and the difficulty level can be personalised for each user. User input/feedback is facilitated by means of a mouse interaction, a touch screen or large buttons attached to the computer.

Equally important function of the platform is the recording of the interaction/education process in a database. Consequently, the educators are enabled with track record of the users’ progress and modify the difficulty levels accordingly. Additionally, an educator may register specific educational or personality data for each autistic person. The printable format of all the records enables easy monitoring and analysis of the learning process. In this way, a longitudinal record may be achieved indicating a ” learning curve”  for each autistic person separately, thereby enhancing and normalizing the educational procedures toward each person’s needs.

 

 

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