Geo Week News

November 23, 2011

Faro gets mainstream spotlight

11.23.11.FARO

Popular Science names Focus3D part of “Best of What’s New”

LAKE MARY, Fla. – When the December issue of Popular Science hit newsstands this week, the cover contained what is becoming a familiar sight for people in the 3D data capture business: a Faro Focus3D scanner. December is always PopSci’s (as it’s known) “100 Best Innovations of the Year” issue, and there was Faro’s newest terrestrial laser scanner, one of just eight products to get cover placement, along with the headline: “Rapid Laser Mapping.”

Inside, the Focus3D finds itself in the security section, alongside a hummingbird-shaped UAV, an unmanned oceangoing vehicle, and a hazmat robot, among other security- and safety-oriented products.

“In May, PopSci ran a small blurb that was about a company in England that was doing accident reconstruction for insurance purposes,” explained Greg Richards, supervisor, public relations and events at Faro. The company happened to be using one of Faro’s older Photon scanners, “so I emailed one of their writers, letting him know the technology has come so much farter, and the applications are so much broader now.”

There was talk of an article, but the magazine ended up slotting the Focus3D into the “Best” issue. Why focus solely on the forensics application? “Maybe it’s the most accessible application for the technology,” Richards said. “People doin’t know what BIM is, or why people would want to scan industrial plants, but they understand scanning a crime scene and why that would be useful, especially the price point and how that might make it more accessible for smaller police departments.”

In fact, Popular Science actually prints the price tag, $30,000, which gets you the shorter-range version of the Focus3D, right along with the write-up.

Still, what does this do for Faro? It’s not like your average Joe can run down to Home Depot and buy one (at least not yet). “No, that average Joe isn’t going to get one,” Richards allowed, “but the smaller business owner might. The insurance adjuster, the heavy contractor, users that might not be huge corporations, but the Focus3D is more accessible to those smaller operations. They read Popular Science, too.”

Further, Richards agreed with the sentiment Autodesk expressed in releasing its 123D suite of software, that building a brand with consumers can pay off as they move into professional life. “Frankly,” Richards said, “the idea is to position ourselves as THE laser scanner. It’s easy to use, it’s inexpensive, and we do want to plant that brand image in their head as early as possible, so when they do move on, we’re that first choice. You’ll never see us advertise on MTV, but certainly we’ll go where that convergence of industry and technology and the consumer marketplace happens.”

As another example, Faro signed a shop support agreement with Orange County Choppers, the customer motorcycle shop in the American Chopper TV program. “The people who watch that show, they work in machine shops and AEC firms, too, and they’re potential buyers, too,” said Richards.

Next up for Faro is its first-ever 3D documentation conference in the United States, which will be held Feb. 21 and 22 near its headquarters here.

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