For this assignment, I used Survey Monkey to gather my data. I wanted to make sure that the people responding to this survey actually experienced winter, and that is why I chose Survey Monkey over Mechanical Turk as I had control over who was surveyed.
I asked participants to identify the five products that they would be interested in purchasing and also the price they would be willing to pay for that item.
Here are the products and their corresponding numbers:
And here are the results from my survey of 15 people:
Based on my data, the top five products were:
Full-spectrum overhead lighting
Average price willing to pay: $218 per light fixture
Snowshoes that leave cool tracks
Average price willing to pay: $101 per pair
Black ice sensor for car
Average price willing to pay: $265 per unit
Boots with interchangeable soles for varying weather conditions
Average price willing to pay: $154 per pair
Mobility service for seniors in wintertime
Average price willing to pay: $132 per month
For each product, I created a 2x2 that compares my product to ones that are already on the market.
For full spectrum lights, there were many lamps available for the home. There were also overhead lights for an industrial setting, but not many that were meant for the home. Also, full spectrum light is only good in small doses so a user must have the ability to toggle between full spectrum bulbs and fluorescent bulbs. Therefore, there would be a market for overhead full spectrum lights that are aesthetically pleasing that can toggle between two types of bulbs.
For snowshoes that leave interesting tracks, there are none on the market. So, I looked at snowshoes in general. Modern-day snowshoes are moderately priced to very expensive. For old fashioned snowshoes, there are few available and are relatively cheap. There would be a market for a higher-end "retro" snowshoe. And, it leaves cool tracks too!
There were no boots with removable soles on the market. There are many boots available currently for a wide variety of prices. Users can customize their boots with different liners and insoles inexpensively. However, there are no boots available in any price range that allows a user to change out the soles for different weather conditions.
There are not any black ice sensors on the market. Some are in development, but none seem to be on the market at this point. There are some ice sensors and they are so expensive that prices are not listed. These sensors are also stationary as they are installed in yards/near driveways and cannot be attached to vehicles.The cheapest product related to black ice sensing would be a thermometer to see if it is cold enough for black ice or not. I believe that there would be a market for a moderately expensive black ice sensor that can be attached to cars.
Finally, I researched mobility services that are currently available on the market. There are a few mobility service programs around the country, but none that I could find in Minnesota that are specifically for seniors. These programs are inexpensive ($4 per roundtrip route) and do not offer more than the ride itself. Metro Mobility is available in the Twin Cities but is not specific to seniors. Seniors could also use taxis to get around but these services can be expensive if used frequently.
Full Spectrum Overhead Lighting
I found one patent that involves a light box used for phototherapy purposes. This light is full spectrum but is a small box for people to sit in front of when experiencing SAD or other disorders.
Patent #: 8,518,027
I found a patent for a metal snowshoe the includes information about fabrication. I could not find a patent for old fashioned snow shoes.
Patent #: 4,041,621
Boot with Removable Soles
I reviewed one patent that includes a shoe sole that is excellent for stability in changing conditions.
Patent #: 6,983,555
Black Ice Sensor
I found a patent for a car sensor that determines the construct of a roadway. This does not sense ice specifically but involves technology meant to benefit the driver.
Patent #: 8,538,667
I coud not find a similar service patented, so I chose an in-car system that allows for communication between vehicles in a fleet.
Patent #: 8,601,595
Full Spectrum Lights
My biggest concern with overhead full spectrum lighting is that it will be difficult to toggle between full spectrum and fluorescent light bulbs. Full spectrum is already a well-developed technology so the costs will not be as high.
Estimated cost per fixture:
Because of the glass, bulb, metal, and wiring, I estimate the cost of manufacturing to be about $20.
I do not have many concerns about my snowshoes. One potential problem might be that it is difficult to create the patterns on the bottom of the snowshoe.
Estimated cost per pair:
I think these snowshoes would be relatively inexpensive to produce. For the wood and hide lacing, the cost would be $5 per pair.
Boots with Removable Soles
I am mainly concerned about how the soles will be removed and how the soles will stay in place once they are inserted.
I used other boots for comparison and determined that the average cost to produce my boots would be slightly higher than other high end boots. So, $16 seems like a reasonable cost.
Black Ice Sensor
I am mainly concerned about the technology needed for this product. Other people seem to be developing this technology but it is moving slowly.
As this technology is very new, I think that it will be very costly to produce. I used the cost of silver to price this item as there are many technological features in this product. Based on silver prices ($24/lb), each sensor would cost $48 dollars to produce.
The only concern I have for the Mobility Service is the reliability and accuracy of the service. Also, I would be somewhat concerned about liability for individuals using the service.
The Mobility Service would require a vehicle ($40,000 or $1,000/mo), gas ($500/mo) and labor ($1,600/mo). So, costs would be $3,100 per month roughly.