We spoke earlier this week about Biometrics and the benefits it could yield for Device Management, as well as Wearables in the age of the Personal Cloud and the benefits of ever-shrinking wireless technology. This week, we conclude our evaluation with a look at 3D Printing, and a recap of what all these trends mean for consumers and enterprise in the year moving forward.
While the process has been around for decades, only in the last few years has the cost of 3D printers decreased to the point where they can be adopted for domestic and hobbyist uses. "The emergence of relatively inexpensive 3D printers aimed at home users holds the promise for user-driven innovations that will disrupt, remake and spawn businesses," says MIT's Sloan Management Review. Already, there exist websites for 3D printed jewelry and phone cases, with consumers taking matters into their own hands and designing and printing purpose-built parts.
While the bounds of 3D printing, both physical and legal, are relatively unknown, many businesses have adopted 3D printing to streamline their design and prototyping processes. Nike, for example, used 3D printing in the design process of its Vapor Laser Talon football cleat, while New Balance is using the process to form-fit custom shoes for runners based on data from impact sensors inside the shoes. Even healthcare is will benefit from 3D printing in the form of printed tissue, with the first 3D printed liver being expected in 2014.
While the potential of 3D printing is still relatively unknown, the process has so far proven to be a cheap and effective way to transform ideas to reality, whether it be clothing prototype or life-saving organ. This process, coupled with data inputs from the aforementioned technologies, is sure to shake up manufacturing and design as we know it.
What does it all mean?
It means 2014 will be a year marked by a mass influx of data storage and transfers. From vending machines phoning home with inventory levels, to ingestible sensors phoning our general practitioners, to the growing libraries of 3D models ripe for printing by the masses, humans will produce and consume more data than ever before. The challenge ahead will be managing who gets that data, and what they do with it. At Netop, we cannot state the importance of data security enough, and we're excited to see how the aforementioned trends evolve the world of big data as we know it.
Thank you for tuning in to our 2014 tech trend analysis. As always, be sure to follow us @NetopTech for more discussions on Tech Support and Customer Service Management!