(Xconomy, September 29, 2015, by Pieter van Rooyen) – I am a serial entrepreneur who has spent the past couple of decades advancing the front lines of technology in digital healthcare, wireless communications, and semiconductor industries. And I’ve been experiencing a déjà vu moment in genomics.
Back in 1994, when I was designing electrical circuits as part of my doctorate program at the University of Johannesburg, the first smartphone hit the market. It sold for a little over $1,000. Still, that actually seemed like a great deal compared with a decade earlier, when the very first cell phone cost nearly $4,000.
Consumer adoption was still very low in the mid-1990s. The mobile phones of the time were expensive and clunky—and the cellular communications industry hadn’t yet come to a consensus on standards for networks, radio access, and other key infrastructure.
The underlying issue was that each smartphone company was looking to push its own proprietary technology and homegrown tools. With a lack of commonalities among them, the market was fragmented and expensive, leaving the average consumer confused and leery about which technology to choose.