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The Electronic Watch Dog Project

Background

  • Battery-operated lawn movers 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. In-built sensor technology enables them to maneuver easily in narrow spaces and around trees and bushes. They can cover several thousand square meters. They navigate home to the base station when recharging is necessary. They can operate for weeks without any maintenance.

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

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

  • The compact design will make them very difficult for buglers or introduces to discover with the right coloring. You can program the EWD for random patrolling patterns or standing still in a predefined number of positions for specific periods. You can use them for silent alarms or use sound and lights to scare introducers off.

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The company

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

IGP has it headquarter in Taipei and sell the products through a global network of distributors. 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 mover to an EWD. 

Status

IGP has made a simple mock-up which is now patrolling the R&D department during nights. Last week an international security company visited IGP, and the CEO showed them the EWD-prototype. The company said they could buy 500 units per year provided the requirements and target price was 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 35.000 USD each.

Customer value

Hiring a security guard is estimated to cost between 50 -100 USD/hour in Europe and the US, the primary market for the EWD. Assume 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, roughly 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 guards can be reduced. EWD alarms could be followed up from a central control room, and decisions are taken if a security guard needs to be sent or not. Thereby significantly reduce the number of guards required.

The project

The IPG CEO 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. 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 platform.

 

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%

Price is the net price after discounts. Target cost includes all costs, including manufacturing and marketing.  Price minus Target cost is equal to 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 need to be tested. IGP already operates a cloud solution but has limited experience in sensor technology. Probably must an experienced sensor expert 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 the 25 units delivered to the security company (US field test in stage 3). Time-plan is based on the assumption that the motion and infrared sensors technology is solved. A core team of five people (full-time) is needed.