Geo Week News

April 16, 2014

What's the game-changer at SPAR International 2014?


Now in its 11th year, SPAR International has the difficult job of appealing to a very diverse group of attendees including over 840 people from 20 different countries. On one end of the spectrum you have industry pioneers that have been in the 3D imaging business for multiple decades and are expecting to find that “game-changing” widget. On the other end is the “green” crowd – people that are relatively new, but a very relevant audience to cater to.

SPAR 2014 kicked off with a little different feel than prior years. The opening keynote speakers, while not the likes of past topics like 3D printing of human organs or a glimpse into the big-brother methods of Google, still had something to offer the general audience. The presentations from Volvo and the Smithsonian Institute demonstrated how 3D imaging has moved away from the once questionable and expensive solution to the preferred method of documentation. Magnus Rönnäng (Volvo) made an excellent point that even seasoned veterans were quietly shouting “amen” to, “The point cloud is our digital plant. Scan what we have and model what is new.”  Gone are the days of asset owners requesting costly modeling of their facilities. They are finally recognizing the value of the point cloud data itself.

While not directly related to 3D imaging, retired United States Air Force Colonel Leon “Lee” Ellis closed out the keynote session with a very moving presentation and inspirational words of wisdom that should strike a chord with everyone in our industry. Ellis shared his Vietnam POW experience with the audience and leadership principles that helped him and his compatriots resist, survive, and return home with honor. Those of us in this innovative industry are leaders. We are leading the way in how to utilize technology to capture the world around us and make better, more informed decisions and mitigate risks.

Now well into the conference, the question on the minds of SPAR regulars this year is, where is the game-changer? Where is the FARO from 2010 that disrupted the entire industry by introducing a product that was a fraction of the cost, weight and size? Where is that next widget that is going to help the industry deliver better results to their customers? I don’t want gimmicks, show me real-world solutions.

So, who will end up being the MVP of SPAR 2014? Be sure to visit for more exciting details on the latest and greatest from Colorado Springs!


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