Products, Not Technology: Some Thoughts on Market Introduction Processes
Fuel cells today are on the verge of market entry. Tremendous technological progress has been made in the past years and the general focus in fuel cell development has been on testing fuel cell components and systems, proving their technology readiness level and adjusting the performance to the requirements of first (niche) markets. Nevertheless, in a consumer market, technology is rarely bought as such, but in the form of a consumer product or appliance. The article therefore looks into the ways new technologies enter the market and what factors influence success and failure of market entry. The fixation on technological progress is acceptable in the early phases of technology development, but general market introduction needs more than this, especially when the main benefit of a new technology concerns environmental aspects. Fuel cells have to be increasingly seen from the point of view of the consumer and offer attractive and intriguing properties in their applications.