3D Myth Busters

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“We’re laser scanning service providers”
Not really. You are more of a data collector, and if you’re any good, you also convert the data into a 2D or 3D deliverable a client can use. Remember, your job is to capture conditions and create digital representations—how you collect the data is irrelevant to your client. Successful providers do not focus on the how, but the what. They solve the client’s problems and don’t get caught up dazzling them on how they did it.

“It’s easy to get a return on investment”
Not true. It’s very difficult to make money as a provider or as a business that just “bolted on” an in-house 3D division. Most businesses have no idea on how to measure ROI, and worse, most have no actual written plan either. Instead they have been romanced by 3D technology.

“Everyone else has been romanced by 3D technology, too.”
The early adopting clients “get it,” but most others are afraid to actually implement new technology. Do not confuse “technologists” for entrepreneurs.  

“The world is going 3D”
Perhaps to a degree, but the fact is most are too set in their existing ways to want to change. Disrupting the status quo is very difficult. Overwhelmingly, people want more simplicity in their lives, and moving an operation to a 3D platform takes work.

On top of that, 3D is still emerging, which is to say that it is not yet simple and it remains completely optional. Nobody likes change, at least if it’s optional. Remember, Apple doesn’t add buttons to the iPhone.

“Accuracy—the greater the better”
Excluding metrology (contact scanners, reverse engineering, and similar), most applications do not require highly accurate models or scans. So while the hardware manufacturers push for tighter tolerances, the end product is very rarely validated by the user and ½”—3/4” is almost always usable. A quality deliverable doesn’t always require extraordinary detail.

“You need the latest technology” 
Software/hardware vendors want you to believe you need the latest/greatest, but they’re trying to meet their quarterly sales projections. The cutting edge is very bloody. Mastering proven technology and making promises you can actually keep is of far greater value to your client—and better for your business.

“If I bring it in-house, we’ll impress clients!”
General contractors and others who’ve recently purchased 3D technology as a form of differentiating themselves from their competitors are about to have a giant wake-up call when the data they provide to their subcontractors is inaccurate and they face litigation.

I know I said that you don’t need the latest technology. But you do need to have the resources to keep up with the technology to some degree, or you will be stuck quickly with antiquated means/methods. As a self-performing owner, unless you subscribe to continuous training, you’ll quickly become obscure and risk providing bad data. Some business functions are left better outsourced. 

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About Author

Kenneth Smerz

In an attempt to shine light on the rather significant question that service providers throughout the U.S. have struggled with, I’ll be authoring a series of articles that address some challenges service providers face and hopefully offer some constructive advice gleaned through my work running Precision3D Scanning. I want to emphasize that my opinions are just that—and nothing makes me more qualified than anyone else trying to earn a living in an emerging marketplace. I encourage your feedback.

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