Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Simple Solution

Few months ago, a factory owner complained to me that a CCTV installer had quoted him dearly for deploying a cctv camera at his factory's guard house to monitor the incoming and outgoing vehicles.

The guard house is 30 meters away from the factory building with tar road in between.

To pull a cable from the factory building to the guard house is no easy task, its involve the expensive water resistant armoured cable, hacking of the road, power and lightning surge protection and traffic obstruction during the cabling job.

Eventually the factory owner had adopted my idea which is cheap and hassle free; to deploy a box camera with a lens at the factory building which can zoom in the guard house entrance.

This experience reminded me of a NASA story.

In the 60s NASA had invested billions of dollars to make American astronauts first on the moon.

During the journey the astronauts need to use pens. Ordinary pens can not function in zero gravity as ink needs gravitational pull to move from pen to page, so NASA invested over $1 million to design a special space pen that works in weightless conditions.

At the same time, the Russians astronauts opted for a simpler, cheaper solution; pencil.

Great solution does not has to come at high price. It is often the cheapest solution that works best.

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