Story image

Resellers must "act now" to gain 3D printer advantage

14 Jul 2014

Resellers need to act now to take advantage of the window of opportunity provided by 3D printers, says Paul Francois, Comworth Technologies 3D product manager.

The pace of development in technology is often measured using Moore’s Law.

The gist of it is that ‘the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit approximately doubles every two years’.

But there is another yardstick which is becoming apparent with the rapid consumerisation of 3D print technology. Just a year ago, a 3D printer in the home, small office or every school was an unlikely prospect.

That’s because a $3000-plus price tag made it too dear. However, today a good quality, reliable and capable device can be had at a retail price point of below $1000.

If we apply the concept of Moore’s Law to printers and dollars, you can buy more than double your 3D printer after the passage of just 12 months. What a difference a year makes!

What this means for resellers is two significant things:

• Inexpensive 3D printers mean the addressable market has expanded enormously, moving from niche- to mass-market.

• As this emerging market matures (and it is likely to do so quickly), the initial hardware opportunity will quickly shift to supporting services and expanded offerings.

3D printing has arguably achieved something in hardware that was last seen with the introduction of the smartphone: a device which has captured popular imagination, and along with it, headlines everywhere.

This reality considerably eases the task of marketers and those who are reselling 3D printers, particularly if:

• The device is affordable

• Delivers quality output

• Has the reliability expected of any consumer IT device today

The widespread public fascination with 3D printing even extends to the Green Party, which is promoting the use of 3D printers in schools, universities and business to position New Zealand as a global technology leader.

Take advantage of the window of opportunity

A window of opportunity has opened for resellers which hasn’t been seen in printing of any kind for the better part of two decades.

But that window will only remain open for a relatively short space of time (and remembering that this is the fast paced technology environment, predictions on that timeframe should be made with caution).

Resellers interested in adding 3D printing to their inventory only have a handful of recognised brands, such as Makerbot, XYZ Printers and UP, to choose from and therefore need to focus on the basics in selecting a suitable product line.

Choose a proven distributor who offers good sales and technical support to educate your team and local end-user support to minimise post-sales issues. Make sure the product is up to the task in terms of reliability, performance and quality.

For devices priced for schools, small and home office, and hobbyists, be certain it is as easy to set up and use as a regular printer, therefore providing customer satisfaction and reduced requirement for first line support.

But probably most important of all is to act now.

After all, practically brand-new market segments don’t open up every day, and the opportunity won’t last forever as inexpensive products will soon saturate the market.

Gartner: AI to reduce project management workload
80% of the work performed project management teams will be taken over by AI by 2030, starting this year.
Microsoft Teams’ eight new and upcoming features
After taking Best in Show at Enterprise Connect, Microsoft Teams will be seeing eight new capabilities over 2019.
IDC: NZ's PC market surprise growth will not last
Despite the growth witnessed at the end of 2018, IDC predicts that New Zealand’s traditional PC market in 2019 will decline by -4.4% YoY.
OutSystems and Boncode team up for better code analysis
The Boncode and OutSystems alliance aims to help organisations to build fast and feel comfortable that the work they're delivering is at peak quality levels.
Vector penalised $3.5 million for excessive levels of power outages
''Given the impact electricity outages have on consumers and businesses it is crucial that lines companies have systems in place to identify and manage the risks present in their networks."
Digital spending to hit US$1.2 trillion by 2022
A recent study by Zinnov shows that IoT spend reached US$201 billion in 2018 while outsourcing service providers generated $40 billion in revenue.
Microsoft offers Government free digital skills training
Upwards of 60 workshops will be offered, aimed at giving staff a vital grounding in cloud technologies, artificial intelligence and other skills.
Google certifies Panasonic rugged devices for enterprise
The Toughbook T1 and N1 handhelds meet all requirements for Google’s rugged Android certification.