Technical Insights > Benchtop

Test Your Products and Get to Market Faster

2020-09-19  |  14 min read 

What is first-to-market?

First to market, a phrase that almost all companies love to use, no matter which industry they belong to. What exactly does “first-to-market” mean? First to market is when a company releases an innovative product to the users when no other similar products are available in the market. This timed effort will provide the company with a great deal of brand recognition all over the media and the minds and memories of consumers. An intelligent first to market strategy will provide the company with a good period of time without any competing products to worry about, reaching a point where customers will start to identify a specific type of product to the specific brand itself. For an example, most customers who wants to buy a tissue paper often will not ask for tissue paper. They will ask for a Kleenex subconsciously without even referring to the brand. The same case is for baby diapers where its often just referred to as Pampers. These are just some examples of a very effective first to market strategy where the product achieves great success.

Becoming the first to market a product is all about timing. Sometimes, releasing a product too early to the market can also mean a failure – especially when the market is just not ready for it. Companies need to understand all the potential advantages and disadvantages of becoming the first to market a specific product. In most cases, there are multiple challenges that needs to be faced and solved before a specific product are released out there to the market.

Advantages of being the first to market

1. Brand Recognition

Being the very first company releasing a specific new product, or even a specific performance product with no similar products in the market creates a solid market dominance. The initial product launch stage will provide the company with a strong brand recognition, and if done correctly, extended period of market dominance will allow the brand to be identified as the product itself. This may even continue even after other competitors has joined in the market. One great example of a recent success in automotive industry is Tesla, where they created a name and a brand directly identified to electric cars, even with multiple other electric car manufacturers in the market.

2. Market Impact

Market impact is where a first to market company has a strong penetration into the customer expectations. It provides the company a great deal of flexibility in how the business is run. First to market companies usually creates and defines the pricing ranges, product definitions, industry standards, delivery strategies, technical specifications and most other business decisions. The executed strategies and standards must be adopted by latecomers to stay competitive. Fitbit for an example decided to include mobile messaging and other additional functionalities within their health monitoring watches. This by default made many other fitness watches to also include those functionalities, just to ensure that they are competitive during product comparisons. These additional functionalities are in some cases not even relevant to the initial intent of the product – fitness and health.

3. Zero Competition

Less to no competition is the self-explanatory advantage of being the first to market company. It allows the company to capture a big portion of the market share and create market dominance during the initial stage of product release. The initial timeframe is when quick gains can be made. While that is great, the company still needs to have its own strategies to continue to dominate the market and stay competitive when competitor joins in. One example company that recently made success is Netflix, where they managed to pull in a huge customer base signed up for monthly subscriptions, before any other competitors joins in the market.

Challenges of being the first to market

While there are many advantages to be the first to market a specific product, there are a number of disadvantages that comes together as well. Some common ones are initial research and development (R&D) costs, market penetration and ignorance, as well as cheaper alternatives by competitors in the future. While all of these can easily be solved with a good marketing and business strategies, there is one challenge that needs to be addressed to even become the first to market. That is to create a product development planning timeline, and actually meeting the timeline as decided. That means a quick product development phase, right from the initial project kick off, all the way to the product shipment.

The project timeline in Figure 1 is an example of an end-to-end plan to complete a project. However, as the project continues, you will see changes for the time taken between tasks in each phase of the project. In most cases, the development, validation, and verification teams may take longer to complete their assignment. Some possible reasons could be due to errors that require correction before the next phase.

Figure 1: Planned project timeline versus the actual scenario

In most cases, the planned project deadline will not even be met due to the limited time available, resulting in a late product release. This may take away a company’s opportunity to become the first to market a specific product. They may easily lose to competitors who have a better planned timeline and a better project management team.

As a test engineer, the following are key points to think about to help you keep the project on track:

  • Reliable instruments because you need quality test data that meets high standards.
  • Workbench setup that makes it easy for you to find the tool you need.
  • Instrument integration for a single device under test (DUT).
  • Software to integrate various code modules in different languages from multiple engineers.
  • Legacy test instruments that may not have the capacity and performance you need.

Solve your time to market challenges with PathWave BenchVue

The million-dollar question now is, how do you solve these time-to-market challenges and become the first to market company and gain all the market share as intended. The answer lies in the software you use. Your organization and the test teams need to be equipped with a standardized PC software that can help to configure a wide range of instrument controls and measurements. Your test teams need to be able to quickly create automated test sequences with minimal instrument knowledge. The software used needs to have an intuitive instrument control, automated tests, and in-depth measurement analysis capabilities. This is where most successful companies are strong at – making use of a software that increases the efficiency of the entire product life cycle, hence allowing for a quick time to market release. Keysight PathWave BenchVue software for the PC eliminates many of the issues around bench testing. By making it simple to connect, control instruments, and automate test sequences you can quickly move past the test development phase and access results faster than ever before.

1. Control Multiple Instruments

Connecting and controlling an instrument to PathWave BenchVue is as simple as plugging it in and launching the PathWave BenchVue instrument application. No programming or separate instrument drivers required. PathWave BenchVue will automatically detect GPIB, USB and LAN instrument connections accordingly for quick set-up and measurements. The best part about PathWave BenchVue is the fact that the single software platform has the ability to connect to and control many types of instruments including digital multimeters (DMM), function generators, DC power supplies, spectrum analyzers, signal analyzers, oscilloscopes, power meters, power sensors, data acquisition devices, network analyzers, frequency counters, signal generators, impedance analyzers, and many more. With this, PathWave BenchVue eliminates the tedious efforts to configure and synchronize multiple instruments together, allowing you to test and bring your products out to market as intended.

2. Automate Test Sequences

PathWave BenchVue also allows you to rapidly build custom test sequences with an intuitive interface to quickly create test methodologies - something that used to require days of traditional programming. The integrated Test Flow app makes it simple to drag-and-drop controls or measurements into a sequence for rapid test development. Additionally, Test Flow enabled apps help you drastically shorten your development of automated programs and further streamline your workflow. Instrument programming can be time consuming and laborious. With Test Flow enabled apps, you can build automated test sequences without needing in-depth instrument knowledge or programming. For added flexibility, several utility blocks are available in PathWave BenchVue Test Flow including step controls, loops, and the ability to run SCPI commands, integrated Command Expert sequence blocks, or external programs.

3. Access Integrated Apps

Keysight PathWave BenchVue software platform provides access to a wide array of instrument control, automation and analysis apps with different capabilities to enhance your productivity. These capabilities vary based on the functionality of the types of instruments, apps, and models that are connected to your PC running PathWave BenchVue software. The applications support hundreds of Keysight instruments and are continually expanding. These dedicated instrument apps allow you to quickly configure the most commonly used measurements and setups for each instrument family. All instrument control apps such as BenchVue Digital Multimeter or BenchVue Oscilloscope apps allow you to easily control and build custom automated sequences using BenchVue Test Flow. Technology-specific apps such as Solar Array Simulation software are dedicated apps for a specialized type of application or industry. Lab management apps provide centralized lab instrument configuration, ability to track assets, and more lab administration features.

4. Analyze and Export Data

With PathWave BenchVue, you can see your measurements across instruments in one place to quickly correlate measurement activities and obtain actionable insight. Depending on your measurement task, PathWave BenchVue provides extensive data, screen captures, trace and measurement logging capabilities all from within one piece of software. You can also export your data in multiple formats in just a few clicks. The Data Manager view is used to find past data logs. PathWave BenchVue automatically stores the data logs that you take; an especially useful feature if you have neglected to save critical data. This data repository allows you to filter based on either date range or app.

Keysight PathWave BenchVue – the key to becoming the first to market

Use PathWave BenchVue Apps to:

  • Configure the most commonly used controls and measurements from instruments
  • Visualize multiple measurements simultaneously
  • Easily log and export data and images in a few clicks for faster analysis
  • Quickly create automated test sequences with minimal instrument knowledge
  • Access deeper instrument controls and solutions with integrated Command Expert

And get to market faster by:

  • Analyzing results within PathWave BenchVue or with built-in data exports
  • Learning software quickly with common look and feel apps
  • Utilizing multiple instrument apps in one easy to use software platform

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