If you read between the lines news from the rare metals commodities markets might have you thinking the march of technology has ground to a halt. A recent piece in the Financial Times flagged a collapse in the price of obscure metals to their lowest level in years. Ruthenium, Iridium and Rhodium are all taking a nose dive of the world markets. These are three of those ‘hard to get at’ metals sitting in a deserted corner of the periodic table which are vital components in the machines which run our lives. Computer hard drives; smart phone screens and flat screen TVs, to name a small few, all depend on tiny slivers of these metals to make our world go around.
Of course, the slump is partly down to the stockpiles manufacturers have built up. But, the market analysts do agree on one thing. The price fall shows the boom in some of these products – especially screen technology is now at the end of its current cycle. The hardware is taking a breather maybe. The software – which is what Transputec is all about – shows no sign of a let up and will probably drive the next boom in rare metals as its innovative nature demands the use of materials we have yet to imagine.
The clamour for new software products and the desire to build and improve on them was evident this week as the movers and shakers from our world gathered in London’s Earl’s Court.
Transputec shared a stand at this year’s IP Expo with our premier partner, IBM. It was a truly productive and stimulating two days of hard work for the team. We spoke to hundreds of people, met many existing customers, signed up new customers and made friends with people who will be customers in the future. That’s what expo’s are all about. But, for me, it is the details in the feedback we gather which is so valuable and so precious.
Transputec is committed to being at the cutting edge of our industry…continual innovation – create a product which customers need and then keep improving it. As the tagline on our logo says: THE FUTURE: INVENT IT.
I believe this innovation comes from our ability to listen to our customers and potential customers. No sooner have we developed, tested and launched a new product than we are back in the ‘lab’ looking to improve it. That makes commercial sense, of course, as keeping ahead of the market is a winning formula but so much of our fine tuning and innovation comes from customer feedback. Here’s a good example: At this year’s IP Expo we have been showcasing a number of products. One is called Intelefile. This began life as a web based app which we built specifically for one large client – Swissport – in the air freight business. Intelefile enables a user to store and access vast numbers of paper documents digitally – something which the freight business has to handle every day. We tested, improved and upgraded this very sophisticated bespoke product. The rapid and recent adpotion of smartphones for commercial use meant we had the perfect opportunity to roll out a mobile App version of Intelefile to a much wider range of customers. This fine tuning was only possible because of the way we are in constant contact with our customers. The more we know about the small details of the way they need to do business the better we can service them with new products. Producing our Intelefile App reminded me of how the Honda our Renault F1 teams innovate… and how that innovation percolates into the mass car market. But the advance is all about feedback.
Feedback is its own precious metal – gold dust.