Step 20 Commercialization

Once a simulator has achieved at least face and content validity, it may be considered for commercialization. A simulator may prove to be an extremely valuable training tool, but if it is too expensive for most training institutions to purchase, there is no chance that the simulator will be marketable. Effective implementation of step 2 will insure that there is a demand for a simulator and therefore justify development, manufacturing, and marketing expenses.

There are a variety of routes to take when commercializing a simulator. While a number of companies have been founded on new simulators, the most likely rout to commercialization is licensing the technology to an existing simulation company. There have been a number of academically developed simulators, which have been licensed to commercial entities.

Successful licensing depends on enlisting the help of an academic institution's department of technology transfer and licensing. A relationship between developers and technology transfer officials should be established at the onset of development so that plans can be made to protect future intellectual property.

Without proper legal documentation of the intellectual property, there is nothing to keep industry from reproducing what it sees discussed in publications and that which is demonstrated at conferences.

It is therefore important to follow university protocol when demonstrating the simulator to the public. Otherwise, commercialization potential might be forfeited.

Besides preparing legally for the licensing of a simulator, it is important to consider how a company might integrate a simulator into their current product line. Thorough documentation of methodology and software code is a must. Rarely will a simulator be used "as is" once a company licenses it. Typically, code and methods are adapted to fit within the architecture of a company's existing simulation platform and training protocol. The more difficult it is to decipher licensed code and methods, the more hours a company will have to invest in integration. The greater the integration effort required on behalf of a company, the less value they see in a license agreement.

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