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When not to drop your product development… or the free canteen

By admin - Last updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Every so often, Cambridge Consultants comes up with a development of its own.   In the main, it’s a way of showing that innovative product development and the clever use of technology flows through our veins, and in part it’s a great way to get people talking about the art of the possible.

Our latest concept, Drop Tag, has clearly caught people’s imagination – registering almost 50,000 hits on Youtube within the first couple of weeks.  The idea is simple.   More and more of us are shopping online for things, some of which are intrinsically fragile.  However, we tend just to sign for them when the courier arrives at the door, and only discover that there might be a problem by the time the driver and his (probably white) van are at least a quarter of a mile away.  Tellies, cameras, iPads, and a whole range of other electrical goods tend not to react favourably to being accidentally dropped.

This is where ‘DropTag’ comes in.  A sticky ‘puck’ which contains a clever but low cost sensor platform simply measures what happens during the package’s transit from depot to doorstep.  If the puck senses that it has been put under any unreasonable ‘stress’ it warns you via an app on your smartphone to simply reject – or at least inspect – your delivery.

My first response to seeing the demo was, “wow, that’s brilliantly simple”, but quickly followed by “so why has no one else done this before?”   Of course, expensive complicated tags already exist.  But there’s nothing this cheap and this simple.  So how did we come up with the concept?  Pure accident.   Actually, no.  It all comes down to having a free canteen.

One of the advantages of having such a fabulous facility is that engineers from all across the business get together at lunch, swap ideas, challenges and the like.  DropTag is what happens when someone who leads our industrial product development service sits opposite one of our Bluetooth specialists over a curry (it’s always curry on a Monday).   Add in a healthy mix of industrial designers and electronics engineers, and hey presto.  Brilliant ideas like DropTag appear.

Food for thought, maybe?

 

ps:  if you are interested in seeing DropTag or a number of other recent innovations we will be demonstrating them at Hannover Messe on 8th-12th April; to register your interest, click here.


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