With less than a week to go until the SPAR 2014 Conference, I think we are due for a little preview! I was thinking about my list this year and took a moment to revisit last year’s thoughts on the matter. Interestingly enough, the list is a bit less general this year although one item will always remain, I always love the “out of the blue” stuff no one (well, most of us) saw coming. With that in mind here are the things I’m most looking forward to at SPAR this year:
Low Priced Solutions. Faro really rocked the scanning world by coming out with a low priced scanner (Focus 3D) a couple of years ago. While they have added more expensive models to their lineup in the intervening years that sub $50k price left a mark that others seem to be aiming for. Leica released the ScanStation C5 and Z+F lowered the 5006 price (once the 5010 was launched) to compete at that $50k level. However, that’s it so far. Will another manufacturer throw their hat in the ring at this price point? Will one create a new model as opposed to stripping down an existing six figure unit? There are advantages to both paths but a quick look at the laser scanning forums will show you how many new users were brought into the fold because of that price point. As a manufacturer, I don’t think you can ignore it.
Ultra Low Priced Solutions. What? $50k doesn’t sound like a low price to you?! Everything is relative… We’ve had a few solutions show up that were so much below the cost of most of the exhibited hardware that it made them seem more like a toy than an investment. The first that I remember was the David scanner. Last year DotProduct certainly garnered a lot of attention hovering around the $5k mark. With the new Kinect heading into the market and a lot of apps for tablets and smartphones this area seem ripe for an explosion of solutions. Don’t let the price fool you, there is a great application for almost every tool out there and these units make 3D imaging cost effective in a lot of new verticals.
Gap Fillers. Last year I was completely stoked to see what Autodesk was going to do. As it turns out, they are taking the market by storm for those that were not already in 3D imaging but they are leaving a lot of gaps for those of us with established data processing workflows. Last year I was a bit concerned about companies like Kubit and Clearedge3D as I thought ReCap would make them obsolete. Boy was I wrong! As it turns out, filling the gaps provided such a direct line of expansion that both companies have produced a plethora of exciting products in the last year. I doubt they will be the only ones to jump on this middleware bandwagon.
Out of The Blue Stuff. I always love this. Sometimes it’s people that show you that there is a whole other level to what you thought you were doing quite well. Other times its products that make you think, “If only I would have had this on Project X. It would have been perfect!” I’m not sure what it will be but a quick look at the exhibitor list showed more than a couple of companies that have not been here before. One or two that I happened to see at SPAR Europe are headed to Colorado (One will actually be at my booth!) and who knows what new things will be presented by people that are familiar to those of us that go every year?!
Either way, we’ll find out next week. Be sure to introduce yourself if you see me, I’ll be the guy that’s happy to be in a room where I don’t have to explain what I do for a living…