I just returned from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and what a show it is - thousands of exhibitors, tens of thousands of visitors, and at least that a million TV’s on display. I think the Samsung booth alone had 5,000 TV’s in it.
In case you missed the news, 3D Systems new Cube™ 3D printer was named a Finalist for the CES Best in Show award. This culminates the heaviest concentration of main stream press articles about 3D printing since I have been in the industry. Mainstream press like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, have all covered a variety of 3D printing angles in the past year. The mainstream technology press has dug in as well with CNET, Engadget, and PCPro all carrying articles about 3D printing. We even had our first viral video on YouTube. It would certainly seem that 3D Printing has arrived, so will this be The Year?
Who knows? To be honest, I don’t know if we will know. 3D printing is a technology that already touches millions and millions of people. From athletic shoes to hearing aids to jewelry to dentistry to aerospace and automotive, 3D printing has changed new product design and affected the lives of what must be hundreds of millions of people. How will we know when consumer 3D printing has really arrived?
Clearly media articles mean little. Plenty of ink has been wasted on novel ideas that disappeared onto the scrap heap of history. The home 3D printers are very cool, but do thousands or even tens of thousands of those really mean anything? It still feels like 3D printers are extremely cool tools in the hands of a small group of pros. Barry Collins at PCPro opined that 3D printing needs a killer app. I think the pros will find their own killer apps, but I suspect the regular consumer is going to need some help. Hopefully the application layer on Cubify.com creates space for the pros to share their killer apps with regular consumers. Other sites out there like Shapeways and MyRobotNation are also showing what regular consumers can do with a little help.
Will all the media attention and some new killer apps lead millions of regular consumers to buy 3D prints and 3D printers in 2012? There’s never been a better time.
I am responsible for leading 3D Systems content creation and capture activities and, in partnership with business and functional leaders, developing new opportunities for the company. I have held a variety of leadership positions in marketing and business development and most recently ran a $150MM division of Church & Dwight, a leading consumer goods company. Prior to receiving my M.B.A from Harvard Business School, I was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal company commander for the U.S. Army. I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
- ▼ 2012 (11)
- ► 2011 (54)