Most companies still not taking full advantage of 3D printing, AI and IoT, according to survey of CEOs

Jun 10, 2017 | By David

We have seen countless examples of the ways in which 3D printing technology can improve the performance of a business and completely revolutionize the way it operates. A recent survey carried out by Gartner, however, has shown that company executives are not taking advantage of the full potential of this and other cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. The 388 CEOs and other senior execs rated these new technologies ‘very low’ in terms of the improvements they thought they could have on productivity in the next five years.

Rapid prototyping opportunities offered by 3D printing can speed up a business’s production cycle, and A.I allows everyday tasks to be carried out with improved efficiency. However, there seems to be no clear roadmap as to how these and other technological breakthroughs can be implemented, and maybe also a lack of awareness of the full extent of their potential benefits. According to a summary of the survey by Gartner analyst Mark Raskino, “There seems to be a big, unexplored future. That [future] amounts to a leapfrog opportunity for a new generation of brave and creative business technology thinkers.”

3D printing, the Internet of Things, A.I and Blockchain are collectively categorized by Gartner as general purpose technologies (GPTs). Their potential for reinventing a business’s operating model have led Gartner to carry out this survey and recommend their adoption. When asked what their top enabling technology for improving productivity was, only 2 percent of CEOs declared that it was the IoT, and just 1 percent declared that it was 1 of the other 3 GPTs. Older technology like ERP (10 percent) and cloud computing or analytics (7 percent each) fared much better.3D printing technology was described as potentially transformational to their business by 26 percent of the executives surveyed, a relatively low figure, with 49 percent declaring the same of the IoT.

Raskino claims that a lot of CEOs are stuck in the older industrial manufacturing era in terms of how they think about their business and the markets they compete in. “CEOs lack a major new theory,” he wrote. “The really big management ideas of the past like business process management (BPM), total quality management (TQM) and lean [management] are less helpful in an ephemeral product and services world where social networks, business model innovation, design thinking, brand values and customer experiences are at the center of value creation.’’

Almost half of the CEOs in the survey said that they rely entirely on revenue as a measure of productivity. This is limiting, as these kind of revenue metrics fail “to focus management attention squarely on how many units of value are produced per amount of input.” Relatively few of the businesses in question, about 15 to 25 percent, did any measurement of the specific impact newer technologies like 3D printing were having. Jack Gold, an analyst for J. Gold Associates, said that most execs were relying on ‘seat of the pants guessing’. “Most companies, including high-level execs, hear about all the new technology coming and expect it to affect their companies,” he said. “But most also have no idea how” to bring about an impact.

Forbes has recommended that companies start small with implementation of GPTs, so progress can be measured in more detail, with advantages and disadvantages identified every step along the way. Raskino’s conclusion was that creativity and openness is going to be the most important thing for executives who want to improve their productivity through 3D printing and other technologies- a “new generation of breakthrough, creative CIOs for the second half of the information age.’’

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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Toy shop giant Hamleys has revealed what it reckons will be this year’s must-have Christmas presents for kids.

And it doesn’t look like it’s going to be cheap.

The 2014 must-haves range from a doll named Cayla who uses speech-to-text Google software to look up answers to questions online, to the Doh Vinci 3D Deluxe Styler which mimics the principles of 3D printing.

The £75 My Friend Cayla answers questions ranging from her likes and dislikes to general knowledge and sports results, but only after she has been synced with a smartphone or tablet.

Cayla, who is suitable for children aged four and over, comes complete with “lovely hair and a cool outfit”.

The £25 Doh Vinci Style and Store Vanity allows children to become a 3D designer, while the Kiddizoom Smart Watch comes with a colour touch screen and motion sensor, can take photos and edit them, record videos and play three built-in games, for £50.

Even Barbie is embracing “state-of-the-art technology” with the £40 Colour Change Bag which allows youngsters to hold it against any item of clothing and press a button to match more than 100 different shades.

The Teksta T-Rex walks backwards and forwards, moving his head from side to side, while sniffing and chewing on his favourite bone, and spits it out with a “giant burp” when he has had enough.

The most expensive toy on the list is the £135 Leapfrog LeapTV, a gaming system for three to eight-year-olds that features Wi-Fi and a camera which captures movement “for perfect pre-school gaming and activities”.

The £115 Transformers Chomp and Stomp Grimlock is a 20in robot with a mighty sword to take on enemies, and the £65 BoomCo Rapid Madness blaster features single-shot for accuracy or 20 darts in seconds that fire up to 50ft.

Fans of the Disney film Frozen can look forward to Ice Skating Anna and Ice Skating Elsa dolls, while the £100 Xeno is a “cute monster” that interacts with a dedicated app to “encourage hours of play” using eight touch sensors and audio inputs.

Hamleys said: “This Christmas, toys will become truly 21st century and for the first time positively reflect the amazing world we live in.

“They range from Cayla, the doll that uses speech-to-text technology to look up answers to questions online, to the state-of-the-art Barbie Colour Change Bag which enables it to literally blend with any outfit the child is wearing.

“There is also the Doh Vinci 3D Deluxe Styler that mimics the principles of 3D printing to inspire children’s creativity.

“This year’s top 10 will surpass even the most savvy child’s expectations.”