IR Microsystems developed a unique technology to produce a detector array for infrared light that could be used–once integrated in a spectrometer–in a number of industrial sectors, most notably for composition analysis of gases and liquids. The market for low-cost broad-range infrared (IR) spectrometers was completely open, but the team members were slowly realizing that an empty market segment was not necessarily waiting to be filled. The resistance to new technology was high, the industry very conservative, and industry investments in new technology after the year 2000 were down. Their positioning as a component and sub-systems producer did not help to create the demand, especially in the face of entrenched OEMs. The USP of IRM’s technology was its ability to measure a full infrared spectrum at a low cost. The optimal positioning from IRM’s point of view was thus one in which infrared spectrometry provided superior value but low cost was also critical. The challenges facing the team were now much clearer: How could they break into that novel market space, which they would have to create from scratch? How could they transform their IR detectors into products that would fill that new market niche?
• Market entry in high technology fields, managing the early phases of growth
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