I remember a saying in the 1990′s that went something like this: “everything that can be digital, will be digital.” Now, almost 20 years later, we see that’s very much come to pass. Industries whose products could easily be delivered as bits are now digital, such as music, movies, and publishing. Many more industries have moved processes to digital, including banking, tax reporting, and bill paying. And almost every business has a digital component, whether through web marketing, e-commerce or just a simple website. All of these examples mostly deliver bits to screens and electronic devices. In some cases the final output is printed hard copy from a digital source. What we haven’t seen, however, is printing to 3D space, ie: printing real-world objects. Until now.
The following article briefly surveys a technology, called 3D Printing, that has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing. Imagine being able to design objects digitally, and then utilize machines to render those plans as actual objects. Anything from simple boxes to unibody computer casings to electronic parts to homes and even buildings are possible. Mass quantities or one-offs (mass personalization) can all be delivered. Such capability may even begin to reverse the loss of manufacturing to overseas competitors.
… think about what the laser printer originally did for the graphic design profession. Rather than having to rely on a team of production technicians to render the designer’s artwork, suddenly, it was only necessary to hit PRINT and a camera-ready master would emerge from the printer. Today, it’s possible for a product designer to create an intricate three-dimensional solid model in a CAD system and likewise press PRINT. This time, however, what emerges is not a sheet of paper but a fully-formed 3D object.
If 3D Printing comes to fruition as a viable technology it could eventually have a huge impact on society, making basic necessities such as housing, clothing, and efficient transportation much more affordable. If that happens we’ll also have to shorten that phrase from the ’90s mentioned above to something more like this: “everything … will be digital.”
Read full article: http://bit.ly/aMgCui
This is interesting. Back in the ’90s it was being said that, “all things that can be digital will be digital.” This makes perfect sense in an Internet world since “bits” are said to be “weightless” when compared to “atoms.” There are little marginal costs in their production, they are cheap and easy to ship, they can often be sold without typical intermediaries, and information (text, photos, audio, video and movies) can easily be converted. It would be the “democratization” of information where anyone could be a publisher / movie producer / rock star, with direct access to audiences.
And of course, in a large way we’ve seen this come to pass, with blogs, YouTube and social media leading the way, along with a great deal of consternation, too, eg: Napster leading to lawsuits against music consumers, the decimation of newspaper revenues, and Hollywood’s foot-dragging as it clings to antiquated business models despite Apple’s best efforts to coral them into the iTunes store.
Add to this today’s revelation that, at least for Amazon’s Kindle, digi-books are outselling paper ones. This should not be surprising as we’ve already seen the same shift from physical product to digital in the music industry. But it’s telling that consumers are preferring digital in a growing way across all media. The prophecy is coming to pass.
But also telling is that this conversion is not always consumer driven. Online banking, digital tax filing, medical records and more are also proliferating because businesses understand the cost savings that digital provides. Whether consumer like it or not (think phone menus and computerized customer service — “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that …”) we’ll see more and more of our lives going digital, especially with smartphones making it possible for almost everyone to be connected relatively cheaply. If you are looking to leverage these advantages for your business just be sure to look past the bottom line. Implement digital in ways that benefit — make that delight — your customers, as Amazon has done with the Kindle. But beware of saving money at the expense of the customer experience — the other side of the two-edged digital sword.
Read full article: http://bit.ly/mCgsDQ
Functioning interactively; hyper-connected; adapting, changing. An electronic world that empowers digital business is upon us. Don’t lose focus for a minute or you’ll be passed by.
Exciting, challenging, demanding, intriguing. Lots of new ideas to understand, even as this new world is itself being defined (and redefined).
Can we grasp technology? Leverage it? Make it pay?
In this space I’ll post lots of tidbits and ideas that I find in my regular research, all related to doing business in a modern, connected world. Most posts include a note explaining why I think the subject is important. Some, unfortunately, come without proper citation since they were hastily copied into a file from long-forgotten sources. If you recognize something and can provide a reference, please post it as a comment and I’ll be delighted to give credit. And by all means, please enrich the posts by expressing your views and experiences. In the interactive world we’re all learning, and inventing, everyday. Enjoy!