First Hand Experience
All pilots are mandated to have charts and maps while they fly. In the past, pilots would carry heavy and cumbersome bags filled with paper charts in their planes, which needed to be constantly updated to maintain their relevance. With the advent of mobile apps like Garmin and Foreflight, these chart bags became obsolete. However, a major issue with using tablet-based applications is that the iPads overheat in airplane cockpits, rendering a pilot’s primary navigation source unusable.
Darren Saravis, President of Nectar, is a pilot who frequently flies out of Long Beach, CA. He was actually on his first solo flight from Long Beach to Camarillo when his own iPad shut down from overheating. Darren had no paper charts and was forced to land without coordinates. It was a frightening moment for a first-time solo pilot. This inspired the idea of an iPad cooler that would prevent other pilots from having a similar experience.
The first step in designing the iPad cooler was to create a proof of concept. The team simulated a hot cockpit by putting the iPad in a tank under direct sunlight with a sustained temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We were pleased with the testing results and found that using fans to cool the iPad would significantly and consistently mitigate the overheating issue.
One major challenge was creating a cooler that could be compatible with multiple versions of the iPad. Through prototyping and ideation, this issue was addressed by creating a set of spacers and bumpers to allow the iPad cooler to adjust to many different iPad sizes. We also chose a water resistant finish and created a quick snap-in latch that improved usability.
Finally, our engineering team conducted quality testing on the final concept. Upon approval, we were able to begin shipping them to our customers.
Marketing, Branding, and Selling
We started our marketing efforts by identifying our target users, focusing on aviation hobbyists. The team brainstormed ways to reach out to our target group to get them interested in the product before the launch. Through our marketing push, we happened to catch the attention of some aviation businesses and consequently made strategic sales partnerships.
Next, we created a consistent brand and style guide for X-naut. The team arrived at a tech-inspired look based on our aviation design research. Packaging was finalized
We developed an e-commerce site to sell our products directly to consumers. Perfecting the process from supply to customer fulfillment has been a challenge in logistics, but we are constantly adapting and improving.
We are focused on continuing to improve the brand and product. Some of our initiatives include:
- Improve customer service solutions.
- Utilize chatbots and CRM to answer common questions asked by users.
- Strong social media presence
- PPC ad campaign
- Continue to develop strategic partnerships
- Expand the brand to create solutions for humans in rugged environments and increasing human potential.