Ah, 3D printing: It held such promise in the consumer space—then took a nosedive in 2016, dragging some major players with it. But is it that surprising? After all, additive manufacturing is a professional manufacturing technology: If you can’t produce a 3D model, you can’t hope to print a 3D product. So it’s about time that industrial additive manufacturing has its day (or year).
In the forward march of technology, casualties are inevitable, but so are opportunities.
The advent of wireless communications, for example, means people no longer need Radio Shack—they need cloud service providers like Google and Amazon. With the proliferation of digital media, people no longer rent movies from Blockbuster—they stream them from Netflix. And the rise of social media means people no longer take pictures with Polaroid cameras—they take them with smartphones, then share them on Instagram.