What it takes to make industry-grade technology accessible to ordinary consumers
By ROY YU
Continuous waves of COVID-19 infections have continued to ravage the globe. As of the time of writing, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 52.7 million globally.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, researchers have been struggling to identify the risks and the nature of the virus. Some, for instance, looked at how long the virus sticks to surfaces and materials. The results of one such study suggested that the survival time of COVID-19 is fairly lengthy, seeing as it can live on steel or plastic for up to three days.
Given this information, there’s plenty to suggest that the continuous increases in cases are linked to the expanding surface area of things we regularly touch and interact with, which may previously have already been exposed to infected people.
At the beginning of the epidemic, anti-epidemic disinfection products such as alcohol, antiseptic solutions, and masks quickly became necessities, and some localities even experienced shortages in these goods. As the pandemic continues without an end in sight, the general public is sure to have higher requirements for disinfecting products–both in terms of long-term quantity, and in efficacy.
In short, to satisfy market demand, a more reliable and professional medical technology for the prevention of COVID-19 is needed.
In terms of anti-epidemic disinfection products, those that are medical-grade are certainly the most reliable. However, medical-grade products often require professional supervision for use, and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Rashly putting medical technology to civil use may be counterproductive, bringing additional and unnecessary harm to consumers.
Therefore, when putting medical technology to civil use, we must add innovation and creativity, simplify its usage, and reduce its risk.
For instance, UVC disinfection technology has been used in hospitals for more than 40 years and has been recognized as a safe disinfectant for air, water, and surfaces. However, the potency of UVC and its strong penetration ability makes it hazardous for use on eyes and skin. Using it requires professional equipment and training, consequently limiting its use to medical-grade disinfection.
Some companies have worked out innovative solutions to this conundrum. Take, for instance, light bulb manufacturer and supplier LightSources. In the pandemic’s early days, the company developed a UVC germicidal lamp for civil use that could purportedly kill the novel coronavirus. Developers addressed safety concerns first, by adding a motion sensor to the product. With this addition, the lamp became capable of shutting down automatically upon sensing movement in the surrounding area. This cut down the risk of UVC irradiation.
Developers also kept in mind that they were catering to the consumer market. They made the product easier to use by adding a voice reminder function, and an option to pre-set a daily disinfection time.
Naturally, given the demand, competition in the market is getting fiercer. Brand name carries huge weight in the consumer medical market–when it comes to life and health, consumers are much more likely to go for reputable companies and products. Hence, brand building is especially important for companies targeting the consumer medical market.
Research data is also a significant selling point. Scientific research from notable universities and laboratories is likely to boost buying decisions. Further, the product’s value proposition also matters. Consumer medical products must be easy to use, practical, and fit into consumers’ lifestyles. The end goal is for consumers to be able to use the products without the guidance of professionals, and with fewer keys or buttons.
COVID-19 has changed the world. It has also changed the speed-to-market for solutions. This is especially true for critical industries, including healthcare. In this context, adapting professional medical technology for consumers not only empowers them, but also promotes a healthier and safer lifestyle to the public.
About the Author
Roy is an entrepreneur and subject matter expert on business strategy and pivoting. Roy is a business consultant for Skya Link Limited, Co-founder of 3S Global Foods Limited, and has held leadership positions at HK Unilever Co., Ltd., Carlsberg HK Co., Ltd. and San Miguel Brewery HK Co., Ltd.
Jacky is the Co-founder and CEO of Skya Link Limited, which has been trusted as the sole distributor of Philips UVC lamps, HUE and Lighting across Hong Kong and Macau. Jacky has over two decades of experience in FMCG and consumer goods generally.