The launch of Emergic Freedom with the EcoTimes ad in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore last Thu-Fri got us a total of about 20 inquiries. It has galvanised us and gotten us started in many directions.
So far, in the past 6 weeks, we’ve done 9 trial installations of our Thin Client-Thick Server solution, of which 1 has been in Delhi and 1 in Thailand. The good news is that in both these cases we sent across the software and the installation went across rather smoothly. In Mumbai, we’ve been doing the installations ourselves. [Anyone interested in trying it out can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
What’s becoming clear to me is that there are two distinct markets for Emergic Freedom:
1. The Sustaining Technology Market
This is where Emergic Freedom is viewed as an important but incremental innovation. This market encompasses the mainstream computers users today, especially in corporates. Here, we are providing software which can help bring down desktop software costs or eliminate the need for hardware upgrades. The Emergic Freedom users will be the ones who are switching from MS-Windows or dumb terminals.
For this segment, what we are really offering is a “Thick Server Software” – they install the software on a server, and then can add (Thin) Clients at will. There is always some resistance we will face since people will be moving away from a Windows-Office environment. In this market, other than cost savings, there is little value-add we are providing.
There are two ways to reach this segment: directly (via our sales people), or indirectly (through a channel). Initially, we will need to take the direct route because getting a channel is not going to be easy – they need to see an installed base before they will be convinced to take up our product as part of their portfolio.
Our target is that in this quarter we want to target our MailServ customers and others that our MailServ channel partners may know and get them to undertake a trial of Emergic Freedom. More than money, we want references. The early adopters will be the innovators and visionaries (to borrow a phrase from Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”).
In this segment, we need our Emergic Dashboard and Emergic Internet – that will be the duo that will “delight” end-users, make them much more productive, and hopefully, even get the other Windows-users to actually switch to Emergic Freedom. We are hoping to have the Dashboard/Intranet apps ready for launch by December-end.
2. The Disruptive Technology Market
This is where Emergic Freedom is a disruptive innovation, and creates new markets because it is able to bring down the cost of both hardware and software, resulting in savings of 75%. This is what has never been done before in computing. Here, we want to target new users, new applications and new markets. We’ve enumerated some of these potential vertical markets on our Emergic Freedom website.
These markets are what excite me, personally. It means selling a concept, making people imagine a future which is not easily visible. I have done it twice earlier – trying to sell an image processing product in the early 1990s (unsuccessfully), and then trying to sell the Internet as a business medium in the mid-1990s (successfully). Now, its once again time to paint a world which can be.
In this segment, we need to create a whole solution – we cannot go as just software sellers. Besides us as the software providers, we need two entities:
– the hardware sellers, who can provide the Thin Clients and Thick Server
– the vertical market specialist, who can eithe provide additional software and/or takes it to the end customer
For different vertical markets, we will need to have different partners. Some of the early vertical markets that we want to address include schools and colleges, hotels, residential buildings and service apartments, hospitals, call centres and cybercafes.
One can argue that this is just too much and we should be focusing on no more than one or two. That’s a good strategy once we know which of these markets will provide us best results – right now, we don’t. So, we will talk to organisations in each of these markets and see if there is potential.
(I will be expanding on much of the underlying ideas on disruptive innovations in this week’s Tech Talk series.)