April 23, 2013

SPAR 2013 Takeaways

CO Spgs

With SPAR 2013 behind us (and consuming the past week of my life) all that’s left is to wrap up the takeaways.

  1. Google should have its employees stress the whole “Don’t Be Evil” thing a bit more. At any conference you will eventually find yourself in a conversational lull with someone you don’t know very well. Every time this happened to me the other person’s fallback topic was the keynote by Google CTA Michael Jones. Obviously, what he said was sticking with people but whether the topic was how Google creates the service I use or how they might take over the service I provide the overwhelming sentiment was, “God that’s kind of scary!”. I don’t know if stressing Google’s philosophical motto (Don’t Be Evil) would have helped but it couldn’t have hurt. 
  2. Only 4% of Autodesk’s users routinely use point clouds. First of all, hearing this fact put into focus just how many users Autodesk has. When you look at how much money they have spent on point cloud technology and development over the past 3 years this also points to what Autodesk must believe the eventual growth curve to be. It’s also an indicator of just how much education is left to be done if we are to get all of those users turned on to point clouds. 
  3. One of the biggest issues of merging ILMF and SPAR may be managing expectations. We exhibited at both ILMF and SPAR this year. While I agree that the cross over applications exist and are growing, the expectation of the participant in each conference are quite diverse. Aside from the differing costs to attend and exhibit at each show, the value placed upon items seems to be quite different. At ILMF I had quite a few people mention that they were surprised at how accurate and inexpensive the Viametris iMMS is. At SPAR the same technical specifications and list price got a couple of “That’s pricey considering it’s not sub-centimeter accurate”. I don’t envy Diversified Communications’ task of trying to keep all of us happy in the coming years. 
  4. The new goal is, “under $10k”. Not counting the Dot Product hand scanner or the Kinect (both of which exhibited at SPAR),  I had about five guys approach me to look at scanning/imaging systems that they had in development. Every one of them stressed that they thought they could bring it to market with a retail price under $10,000 USD. 
  5. BIM is booming. The Broadmoor was quite beautiful and it was nice to have so much room for all of us to spread out. However, that didn’t change the fact that coming in less than 10 minutes early for a session on the BIM track meant that you were standing as every seat was already taken. I’m not sure what the ratio was between service providers looking for work and asset owners looking for answers but the BIM track was the hot ticket all week. While this seemed to be the best attended track I have to say that attendance was strong throughout. I presented results from a mobile scanning demo during the last speaking slot on the last day to a room that was more than 80% full! That “final day drop-off,” the usual drying up of attendee traffic on the last day – typical for most conferences and trade shows, didn’t seem to happen this year.


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