When a technology or solutions are new to customers, we will have a harder time to convince them unless the customers are the types we called the “innovators” or the “early adopters” – who are more willing to adopt and embrace even though it has not been fully tested in the field.

We might have seen these early adopters in Kickstarter or Indiegogo websites. They are more willing to test and be the first to use such products. However, the “innovators” and “early adopters” only comprised of 16% of the actual users – a small number of them but quite critical group to get an early traction and reviews.

The rest of the users will still require a “push” to get them convince. Once they “buy-in” to the solutions, they will become the “early majority” and the solution can become a success since it has crossed the “deadly” chasm.

But how do we get them onboard? That’s why we need to have a pilot trial. A small scale project that can resolve four (4) main issues.

  • Technology Maturity – Some products need to be fully tested and passed various tests such as interoperability, reliability, conformance, usability and compliance test.
  • Market Adoption – It’s critical to get a user to have a feel of the application or product. Customer validation will give a huge impact on the readiness of the product usability. Just imagine, calling a driverless taxi on a lonely place by a lady.
  • Business Model – How do you charge a drone services that send a parcel to your house? Shall I pay premium for a transportation services using a flying taxi that guarantees that it will arrive to its destination within less than 10 minutes. A good business model can transform whole industry. Grab, AirBnB or Netflix have create new business models which we have never thought before.
  • Policy and Regulatory – Although we understand regulatory need to be adhered because we want to protect the users, we also need to ensure it will not stifle new innovation. Some policies and regulatory need to change because technology has changed the way our product looks like – for example, how do we define a drone that can fly without a pilot and carry passengers? They look like a hybrid between a car and a helicopter. Can they fly everywhere or only specific routes.? Who can fly them? What licenses are required?

In the era of IR 4.0, we will be seeing fully autonomous vehicles without any steering or drivers on the roads. Will the autonomous car have driving ethics which are similar when crossing different countries?

Do we need to have specific landing pads or routes for drones that send parcels? Or probably need a container that can keep the parcels safe when they arrive at a specific location?

Thus, pilot trials are important to understand all the impact above. A specific site is required to test them and with the support of the government agencies to make the necessary changes in the new policies and regulatory.

The countries that are quick in allowing such trials to happen will definitely be in the lead when adopting new technologies. New innovations and businesses will be created.

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