Geo Week News

August 27, 2013

FARO gunning for 3D forensics market


2nd Annual 3D Documentation Conference slated for Oct. 16-18 at Disney resort

FARO Technologies, Inc. on Tuesday announced the dates for its 2nd Annual 3D Documentation Conference. And, if the event’s lineup of speakers and workshops is any indication, the portable measurement and imaging solutions firm is aiming for bigger business from the forensics market.

The Lake Mary, Fla.-based publicly traded company (NASDAQ: FARO) said the conference takes place at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., Oct.-16-18. Highlights of the networking event include keynotes from industry experts, an exhibition area for 3D imaging technology providers, and the premier of a new FARO product.

(Or, maybe it will be a new company acquisition. Doubtful, but FARO CEO Jay Freeland did say earlier this month during a call with analysts to discuss second quarter financial results that the firm was “continuing to look aggressively at acquisition opportunities to help us broaden our portfolio, while simultaneously strengthening the offerings we provide to our customers. With close to $180 million in cash, we have substantial capacity for growth through M&A.”)

While the conference caters to professionals in several verticals, including architecture, civil engineering, facilities management, surveying, and historical preservation, among others, forensics dominates the conference agenda.

Just take a look at some of the topics discussed during keynote and workshop sessions:

  • “The Impact of the Focus 3D on Accident Reconstruction and CSI,” presented by David Dustin, president of Dustin Productions and director of the International Association of Forensic Security and Metrology (IAFSM).
  • “It Looks Great – But Will the Court Admit It?,” presented by Victoria Longfellow, principal at Longfellow Law Group.
  • “Crime Scene Scanning, A Multi-Model Approach,” presented by Eugene Liscio, owner of AI2-3D and also president of the International Association of Forensic and Security Metrology (IAFSM).
  • “3D Scanning Technology in Courtroom Presentations,” presented by Thomas Langley, president of Thomas Langley & Co. 
  • “Forensic Diagramming: Analyzing, Animating, & Presenting with Point Cloud Data,” presented by Derik White, co-founder and vice president of R&D at The CAD Zone.
  • “FARO 3-D Scanner Use in Major Collision Reconstruction,” presented by Dave Stopper, owner Stopper & Associates, LLC, which specializes in the investigation and reconstruction of tractor trailer, motor coach and motorcycle serious injury and fatal collisions throughout the United States and Canada, and Juanjose “JJ” Soto, president of Epic Scan.

Given the short window of time and the sensitivity of physical evidence, documenting investigations of crime and accident scenes can be a real challenge for investigators, especially those using very traditional evidence-gathering tools such as tape measures, sketches, or through single point collection using a total station.

“Providing a comprehensive snapshot of a crime scene, 3D laser scanning improves workflow efficiencies, from the collection of evidence at a scene to post-processing and courtroom presentations for forensic investigations,” FARO said in a previously published Forensics technology white paper, describing how in a typical 360° scan of an indoor scene, investigators can collect details of the scene down to the millimeter, capturing 10 million points in about 5 minutes.

“The speed and compact nature of the laser scanner allows investigators to quickly document entire environments without any subjectivity – everything can be documented in its original position,” according to the white paper. “A permanent record of the scene is captured, and accurate measurements can be calculated using various software programs designed specifically for crime scene analysis long after the crime scene is gone.”

Forensic technologies worth $17.7 bil’ in 2019

A recent report by Transparency Market Research pegs the value of the forensic technologies market at $8.3 billion in 2012, forecasts annual growth at more than 12 percent with the market worth $17.7 billion in 2019.

“We’re hearing the voice of that market much louder, while architecture and civil engineering remain strong, there is definitely a switch [to forensics],” FARO Marketing Manager Jerry Hardy, Jr., told SPAR. “The forensics industry is now really understanding the technology as a formidable way to capture data,” Hardy said.

The conference is only in its second year, but Hardy told SPAR an expanded roster of workshops and more variety to the content makes him optimistic attendance will double from last year. Hardy did not know the attendance number for last year but said 200-300 attendees “would be a huge success for the conference.”

In related news, FARO reportedly signed a 10-year lease for two-thirds of a 90,000-square-foot building in Exton, Pa., about six miles from the headquarters of 3D infrastructure software firm Bentley Systems. Hardy was unaware of the news and could not provide comment. Construction starts next month on the new building. FARO already has a presence in Kennett Square, Pa.

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