When one of our clients, a start-up high-tech company, looked to exploit new engineering technologies (Combined Heat and Power systems), by developing a domestic micro turbine unit using natural gas or any other fossil fuel (apart from coal) to produce domestic heating and electricity, it looked to Baines Associates. The unit had a much higher thermal efficiency than existing systems, allowing customers to make savings in energy costs and carbon emissions. Because this innovation could create a new market appealing not only to the residential market, but also to oil, gas and utility industries, the company wished to understand who its potential customers might be; and their likelihood of investment in this product from big players in oil, gas and utility industries.
Baines Associates was commissioned to conduct research to help the company understand how customers would perceive this new system and its performance; when/where/how existing boiler (including services) are bought including the price that end-users are prepared to pay; and the relevant factors they consider when choosing a particular supplier. In addition, we undertook in-depth interviews with potential technical partners on what opportunities exist to invest time or money in this new system; and what features of this product were perceived to be the most attractive.