Geo Week News

December 11, 2012

Now What?

It’s been awhile since my last post and I’m happy to report that it has been due to an abundance of billable work! After six months of hearing, “We have it budgeted, but we’re just holding off on any major spending until after this election is over,” it seems that not everyone was lying to me…

So, where does that leave us heading into 2013? Here in the U.S., the news is all about fiscal policy at the federal level, but compared to our presidential election it does not seem to be stopping everyone in their tracks. Fiscal issues are still a concern worldwide, but I think we all realize that we can’t put off work forever. On some level people get tired of hearing about things that are outside of their control and get back to worrying about the things they have some ability to control. I think that time has arrived.

Another positive development is the plethora of new products that are coming out of university programs. I remember hearing that quite a few professionals and recent graduates returned to university studies due to the lack of good job prospects during the initial 2008-2009 crash. With many of them now completing graduate work, we are seeing many new hardware and software startups enter the marketplace. As you may recall, I reviewed one such system for dynamic scanning in an earlier post. Since then, I have been contacted by more companies with new 3D imaging solutions than I thought existed. We had a meeting yesterday about planning our booth for SPAR 2013 and one of the topics was, “How many new products are too many to introduce at one show?”. Not a problem I remember having in previous years. Every time new products (hardware or software) are released, 3D imaging gets better. Maybe it just gets faster, but often it becomes less expensive. Whenever that happens new markets cease to be cost prohibitive and that should be exciting to all of us.

The most recent additions to my list of reasons 2013 will be better came from a recent marketing trip I completed along with some Autodesk resellers. First of all, AutoCAD now supports point cloud use with a native point cloud engine. I think we may have underestimated just how much impact this could have on service providers. While it may cut down on some of the modeling work, it should open up a lot of new end users that would not have been willing to purchase new software specifically for working with point clouds. As we all know, one of the biggest obstacles to using point clouds is the question of “How do I integrate this into my current workflow?” An answer like, “Just use AutoCAD,” is now a great answer. Lastly, this trip reminded me that I live in a bit of a 3D imaging bubble. In short, there are still a lot of people out there who have never seen a point cloud. At some of my presentations, less than half of the people there had ever seen a point cloud and less than a quarter had ever used one on a project! These were not general population audiences, but engineers and asset owners of manufacturing facilities. Essentially, people that can see an immediate improvement in the management of projects and their facilities through the use of well-developed products from us in the 3D imaging world.  

So, I hope you share my optimism regarding this next year. The opportunities are definitely out there. I will be too!

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