No one company offers everything needed to showcase a complete solution, so it's extremely beneficial for labs to have multiple participants. The key is to find companies that share your interests and partner with them to present your shared vision to clients.
In many labs, for example, hardware vendors work with middleware providers to demonstrate their products. When all participants bring product and talent to the table, it can dramatically enhance the marketing capabilities and significantly lower the cost of getting the message out.
RFID labs in colleges and trade schools can partner with hardware and software vendors, which benefit from supporting education. The student body is a great audience, because companies can ensure that up-and-coming RFID professionals have exposure to their tools.
Vendors also get to demonstrate their products to businesses, which turn to RFID labs in colleges and trade schools for research and development. But RFID labs in schools need to make sure the need for funding doesn't taint their "message." To maintain a good reputation, school labs need to remain focused on education, so they don't become infomercials for specific vendors.
It's harder for services companies to find the right partners, because if their labs are built for compliance testing or solutions design, they must be vendor-neutral. Typically, hardware and software vendors do not enjoy participating in a venture where they are side by side with their competitors. Services companies can solicit vendor participation by providing a level playing field and ensuring that all partners get value.
One option is to place advertising banners over logo-facing installed equipment. But it's more important for potential partners to know that the lab will attract the right clients. Services companies can demonstrate the value of their lab by issuing periodic reports, which include significant data, names of clients, active referrals and ongoing projects.
The bottom line: Design a lab with a message that clearly speaks to your goals and market segment, then find partners with that same vision and share the costs. This will allow for the lowest cost, while still meeting the objectives at hand.
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