By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least US$100-billion per year in intellectual property globally, according to Analyst group Gartner.
Gartner says it is likely at least one major western manufacturer will claim to have had intellectual property (IP) stolen for a mainstream product by thieves using 3D printers who will likely reside in those same western markets rather than in Asia by 2015.
“The plummeting costs of 3D printers, scanners and 3D modelling technology, combined with improving capabilities, makes the technology for IP theft more accessible to would-be criminals,” says Gartner. “Importantly, 3D printers do not have to produce a finished good in order to enable IP theft. The ability to make a wax mould from a scanned object, for instance, can enable the thief to produce large quantities of items that exactly replicate the original.”
The prediction is one of 10 ‘Top Predictions for 2014’ made by Gartner at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 October 6-10, held in Orlando Florida and moving on to Australia’s Gold Coast next week. According to Gartner, we are in the beginnings of a “Digital Industrial Revolution” that threatens to reshape how physical goods are created and 3D printing is at the heart of it.
Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015, says Gartner earlier in their report. While very expensive “additive manufacturing” devices have been around for 20 years, the market for devices ranging from $50,000 to $500, and with commensurate material and build capabilities, is nascent yet growing rapidly. The consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
“Gartner’s 2013 CEO survey suggests CEOs feel that business uncertainties are declining and yet, CIOs awake each day into a world of technology uncertainty and change,” said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “The savvy CIO will get his or her CEO to recognize the change being brought about by disruptive shifts is coming at an accelerated pace and at a global level of impact.”
Gartner’s other predictions:
By 2016, 3D printing of tissues and organs (bioprinting) will cause a global debate about regulating the technology or banning it for both human and nonhuman use. Near Term Flag: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration or comparable agency in a developed nation that is charged with evaluating all medical proposals will introduce guidelines that prohibit the bioprinting of life-saving 3D printed organs and tissues without its prior approval by end of 2015.
Bioprinting is the medical application of 3D printers to produce living tissue and organs. The day when 3D bioprinted human organs are readily available is drawing closer. The emergence of 3D bioprinting facilities with the ability to print human organs can leave people wondering what the effect of it will be on society. Beyond these questions, however, there is the reality of what 3D bioprinting means in helping people who need organs that are otherwise not readily available.
Gartner believes by 2017, more than half of consumer goods manufacturers will receive 75 percent of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities from crowdsourced solutions. Near Term Flag: Consumer goods companies that employ crowdsourced solutions in marketing campaigns or new product development will enjoy a 1 percent revenue boost over noncrowdsourced competitors by 2015.
Engineers, scientists, IT professionals and marketers at consumer goods companies are engaging crowds much more aggressively and with increasing frequency using digital channels to reach a larger and more anonymous pool of intellect and opinion. Gartner sees a massive shift toward applications of crowdsourcing, enabled by technology, such as: advertising, online communities, scientific problem solving, internal new product ideas, and consumer-created products.
The report also says that there’s likely to be more social unrest and a quest for new economic models in several mature economies due to loss of jobs, caused by digitisation.
Digitisation means that a lot less labour is required to deliver goods and services. According to Gartner, this is fundamentally changing the way we pay for work. Long term, the research house says, this makes it impossible for increasingly large groups to participate in the traditional economic system — even at lower prices.
This, it says, will lead to more and more people using alternatives such as bartering, urging a return to protectionism or resurrecting initiatives like Occupy Wall Street, but on a much larger scale.
Mature economies will suffer most as they don’t have the population growth to increase demand nor powerful enough labour unions or political parties to (re-)allocate gains in what continues to be a global economy.
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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