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How Ready Are You?

by | Sep 10, 2019 | Commercialisation, IP Management

An insight into T.R.L and C.R.L

Are you a researcher or a product developer or a student or a project manager? Are you anyone involved in developing a technology? Are you struggling in managing the essential requirements of your project? Are you able to convey the stage of your product development to investors and funding bodies?

How to determine if your technology is ready for implementation?

As a researcher or a product developer or a student, no matter who you are, it is important to determine the readiness of your technology by assessing a powerful business management tool called Technology Readiness Level (TRL). NASA introduced TRLs in 1974 to assess the technology readiness of the JPL Jupiter Orbiter spacecraft design. Since then, the different organisation uses TRLs to map the progress of their development and convey it efficiently to external and internal stakeholders.

TRLs are divided into 9 maturity levels, each denoting the readiness of your technology. By clearly determining the TRL for your project, a clear milestone can be established from each level and the future progress can be mapped.  

At what TRL is your project?
TRL 1 Concept Evaluation

Technology is evaluated and applied research begins.

TRL 2 Technology Evaluation

How effective is the technology and what is the market evaluation?

Commercial and nessecity of development is projected.

TRL 3 Proof of Concept Research

TRL 3 marks the beginning of the R&D and devleopment of technological solution. The necessary requiremnt to meet the technology development need is addressed at this stage.

TRL4 Early-Stage Prototype Development

The integration and testing of basic components in a laboratory environment. 

The protocol is validated to achieve maximum result.

TRL 5 Late-Stage Prototype Development

This is a the stage where the experiment is taken from a laboratory setting to a more simulated environemnt.

Potential risks and issues are evaluated.

TRL 6 Simulated Environment Pilot

TRL 6 marks the progress of finalising technology design and testing it on a larger scale.  

This is the stage which provides data essential to map out commercialisation of the project.

TRL 7 Operational Environment Demonstration

Using the prototype in an operational environment to understand how it performs in non-simulated testing. This provides data to develop and optimize the project to suit the operational environment need.

TRL 8 Final Testing and Evaluation

The prototype proves itself to work in normal non-simulated environment.

TRL 9 Successful Deployment

The application of a technology, in its final form, in real-life conditions.

How to correctly assign the TRL to your project

A TRL number can be assigned only when the activity of that TRL is achieved. For example if you have achieved TRL level 4, conducted and tested your project at a laboratory level, your technology does not move to TRL level 5. TRL level 5 is only achieved when you have successfully scaled up your project and validated it in simulated environment. Until this has been successfully demonstrated, the project remains at TRL level 4.

How Can you benefit from TRL? 

  • Communication – People of same research group can interpret project advancement differently. This hurdle can be overcome by determining the maturity level of the technology that can help the project team to communicate with the same frame of reference.
  • Setting target and success criteria can become easy by establishing start and end points of the project.
  • Additional required testing and roadmap could be developed by understanding the TRL level.
  • Proposal development can become easier knowing the correct level at which the technology is.
  • The TRL scale provides data to understand and communicate the spectrum of ongoing research and development (R&D) activities within a technology development portfolio and thus helps in portfolio management.
  • Cost can be estimated efficiently.
  • TRL can be a powerful Risk Indicator tool. Establishing TRL within the project portfolio can assist with the determination and assignment of risk within that project.
Are you ready to map out your TRL level?

Using TRL, I know at what level my technology is, but how do I determine the commercial readiness level of my technology?

TRL helps to map out the progress of your technology, Commercial Readiness Level (CRL) helps out to map out the business model.

What is your Commercial Readiness Level?


CRL 1 Problem hypothesis that needs market validation

Complete business model canvas and clarify your assumptions.

CRL 2 Market size/competitive analysis

Perform detailed analysis of market size and competition.

CRL 3 Problem/Solution Validation

Get out of the building and understand your customer.  

Validate that your solution solves their problem.

CRL 4 Low Fidelity Prototype

Prototype a low-fidelity minimum viable product.

CRL 5 Validate Product/Market Size

Are there enough people that want your solution for their problem?

CRL 6 Validate Money and IP Strategy

Validate the revenue model.

Does your innovation need IP Protection?

CRL 7 Deploy and Validate at Scale

Prototype a high-fidelity minimum viable product that you can test on a larger scale.

CRL 8 Validate Scaling Process

Can you deliver your product at a larger scale?

CRL 9 Validate Implementation Plan

Scale your business and the changes you’ve made focusing on the metrics that matter.

What does CRL Address?

CRL and TRL are not much different. They both go hand in hand with each other. CRL provides “how are we doing” metrics which helps in establishing communication with investors, corporates, innovation groups and entrepreneurs.

CRL addresses three main questions that are essential for the project to not fail:

  • What technical risk is associated with building my technology and what will be my revenue model?
  • Is there enough market and demand to develop my technology and
  • On completion, will it successfully generate revenue. 

Understanding the correct level of the technology will help to establish and immediate funding increment.  CRL is very subjective than TRL. The maturity level of technology can be easily determined on TRL, whereas, CRL requires a detailed analysis of the market for assigning the maturity level. CRL is more focused on “Is the solution needed?” by undertaking a detailed market survey (CRL 3). What a complete waste of time and money it would be to develop a technology that has no market and demand!

TRL addresses the technical background of technology whereas CRL addresses the real need of your technology.

As said by Voltaire “God is not on the side of the big arsenals, but on the side of those who shoots best”, expertise at IP active can help you determine the technology readiness level and map out the commercial readiness of your technology, helping you develop your technology with ease.