Incorporating Market Research in Forecasting New Telecommunications Services

By Sokol, Bruce R. | The Journal of Business Forecasting Methods & Systems, Summer 1993 | Go to article overview

Incorporating Market Research in Forecasting New Telecommunications Services


Sokol, Bruce R., The Journal of Business Forecasting Methods & Systems


Two general predictions echoed by telecommunications futurists are listed below:

1. The next decade will be associated with personal communications services, where one telephone number will allow you to be reached in the office, in the car, at a mall, or at home, anytime of the day.

2 The next decade will be associated with a new level of video services to the home with two-way communications. This will allow such services as customized home shopping, movie rentals without the VCR tape, the video telephone, and interactive video games between people miles apart.

These predictions assume two technological breakthroughs: One, technological development related to personal communications services (PCS) and the other related to fiber optic technology in local telephone infrastructures. The net effect of these technologies could result in the appearance of these services even sooner than expected.

With this sort of eminent change in potential lifestyle, industry players such as long distance companies, equipment manufacturers, local telephone companies, cable TV companies, and cellular companies, to name a few, are jockeying for a position to take advantage of the ensuing opportunities. As expected, though, this makes life very interesting for product forecasters at these companies.

DILEMMA

As one would figure, historical data related to these products is hard to come by. As such, forecasters around the industry must rely exclusively on primary research, secondary research, and the observations of market trials. This sector of forecasting which I refer to as new product forecasting (NPF), or "forecasting without a safety net," entails a strong background in market research techniques, resources, and applications. In some ways, the NPF discipline requires more of a background in market research than in traditional forecasting techniques. In this article, I will describe a market research technique adopted at Sprint which assists in forecasting personal communications services and other new product concepts.

CONJOINT ANALYSIS

Conjoint analysis is a statistical research tool which attempts to simulate customer choice based on a given set of market conditions (i.e., price and product selection). Using the PCS example, the following describes the data collection process of a conjoint study. Although several forms of Conjoint analysis and software exist, most will ask a series of questions with the objective of determining the utilities of various attributes of a product such as price and quality. …

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