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The Electronic Watch Dog Project

Short introduction


  • Battery-operated lawn mowers equipped with GPS and Wi-Fi, which you can control and operate with your mobile, are available from several manufacturers at affordable prices. They are compact and lightweight and can navigate in gardens of all shapes and sizes. Built-in sensors enable them to maneuver easily in narrow spaces and around trees and bushes. They can cover several thousand square meters. They also navigate home to the base station when recharging is necessary, and they can operate for months without any maintenance.

  • Motion and infrared detectors have also become standard technology at affordable prices.

  • The business idea is to buy standard lawn mowers without the grass-cutting unit. Equip them with motion and infrared sensors for detection, a camera, and a flash for surveillance. The objective is to create an electronic watchdog (EWD) that can patrol a factory, industrial area, or the premises around a house.

  • The compact design and color make the EWD virtually invisible to burglars or intruders. You can program the EWD for random patrolling patterns or standing still in a predefined number of positions for specific periods. You can use the EWD for silent alarms or use sound and flashes to scare intruders off.


The company

IPG (International Protection Group) manufactures guard management systems. The GuardMan, IPG’s most advanced product, uses cloud and android technologies to monitor security guards’ movements on the patrol route. The GuardMan makes sure all checkpoints are visited.

The IPG’s headquarter is located in Taipei and sells its products through a global distributor network. The company has 450 employees, including manufacturing. The R&D department has both hard- and software engineers. IPG has enough competence to develop and convert a lawn mower to an EWD. 


IPG has made a simple mock-up which is now patrolling the R&D department during nights. Last week an international security company visited IPG together with the US distributor, and the CEO showed them the EWD prototype. The company said they could buy 500 units per year provided the requirements and target price are met. They signed a letter of intent for 25 units if the EWDs could be delivered within 18 months and at a target price of 12.500 USD each.

Customer value

Hiring a security guard is estimated to cost between 50 - 100 USD/hour in Europe and the US – the primary markets for the EWD. Assume that a factory wants a guard to patrol the premises two times per night and that each patrol takes 1 hour (driving to and from the factory and visiting the checkpoints). The factory’s total cost per year would be between 36.500 - 73.000 USD – more than twice the target price for the EWD. A security company using EWDs could offer customers a higher level of surveillance at a lower cost as the number of security guards can be reduced. EWD alarms could be followed up from a central control room, and decisions taken if a security guard must be dispatched or not. This significantly reduces the number of security guards required.

The project

The IPG CEO (Li Na) wants to have the highest priority on the project and will be the sponsor. She wants to try a new set-up for this project, and you have been assigned to the team. The following are her demands:

  • The development shall comply with the company’s gate process, which consists of five stages:

    • Stage 1 Conceive and plan

    • Stage 2 Develop

    • Stage 3 Industrialization and verification

    • Stage 4 Launch

    • Stage 5 Deliver

  • The project shall be defined, planned, and followed up using the Value Model approach in the iObeya or in the Miro platform.


  • The steering committee for the project will consist of:

    • Bill Johnson – Head of R&D

    • Wang Wei – Head of production

    • Susan Wong – Head of marketing and sales


Commercial feasibility

A thorough market study has not yet been done. The estimates are based on the input from the security company but need to be investigated and verified. 

Preliminary project budget until the final commercial product is estimated to about one million USD, split among the different stages as follows:

  • Stage 1 Conceive and plan, 10%

  • Stage 2 Development, 35%

  • Stage 3 Industrialization and verification, 20%

  • Stage 4 Launch, 30%

  • Stage 5 Deliver, 5%

Above estimates are transferred to a Return map

The price is IPG’s sales price to their distributors. They typically have a markup of 50%.

IPG’s estimated costs, excluding manufacturing, are 140% of the production cost in this example.

Price is the net price after discounts. Price minus Target cost is equal to (net) profit.

Technical feasibility

A first mock-up has now been successfully tested in the R&D department. However, no field test in the right environment has yet been done. The motion and infrared sensors are new technologies to the company and must be tested. IPG already operates a cloud solution but has limited experience in sensor technology. An experienced sensor expert will probably need to be added to the team.  

Time plan

At this stage, it is impossible to make a detailed and complete time plan. Based on previous projects with similar scope, IPG believes that the project can be implemented in about 24 months to stage 5. That includes 25 units delivered, with the assistance of the local distributor, to the security company (US field test in stage 3). The time plan assumes that the motion and infrared sensors technology are solved. A core team of seven people (full-time) is needed.

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