3D Printing Trends 2014

Now that the media hype of 2013 has settled . . . somewhat, 2014 will be a pivotal year in which we see small, tangible steps towards reality. Below are a few trends and commentary on what we’re seeing in the market:
 
1. Ecosystem components begin to marry. Investments, acquisitions, partnerships, and new developments will focus around unifying printers, software, and services for seamless 3D printing experiences. For example, Adobe recently announced direct integration with MakerBot and Shapeways to close the gap between 3D modeling tools and what printers need to physically produce objects. Other major software vendors like Autodesk will play an evangelist role in bringing ecosystem players together to enable interoperability across proprietary platforms. 
 
2. New startups stretch our imaginations of business model disruption. 3D printing is a catalyst for rethinking inefficient analog processes. Startup SOLS aims to disrupt the entire orthotics value chain with an end-to-end digital service for custom shoe insoles. Customers scan a 3D model of their feet, input data on weight, lifestyle, and activity patterns, and send to print.
 
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Framing The Discussion On Cloud Visibility And Encryption

According to recent Business Technographics data, half of US enterprise technology management professionals report that there is 1.) no way to gain a single view of status and availability across their portfolio of cloud services, 2.) that they don’t have a clear way to assess the risk of using a third-party public as-a-service offering, and/or 3.) that they have no way to manage how providers handle their data. 

An interesting debate is ensuing regarding how to best protect cloud data, given the market landscape. So far two modalities are emerging: 

·A.  Inserting in-line encryption between the enterprise and the SaaS provider that encrypts and/or tokenizes all data before it goes to the cloud to ensure safety interoperating within public cloud systems. 

·B. The human-firewall model, in which IT closely monitors activity with context/content analytics and anomaly detection tools. 

The truth lies somewhere between the two. By carefully applying Forrester’s data security and control framework, clients should incrementally encrypt data deemed sensitive to compliance or regulation, such as credit card and Social Security numbers, and closely monitor all activity across users and cloud applications. 

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3 Personal Cloud Startups Worth Watching

[Written with Nate Fleming, Research Associate]

We all use a multitude of personal cloud apps, both at work and at home. But getting meaningful tasks accomplished can be frustrating, particularly on mobile, as files, data, and workflows fragment across the various services we use. Take for example finalizing and signing a contract on iOS. This would involve fetching a document from email, annotating it, signing it, and sending it back to the client. Today, no one app can do all that, and iOS and Android offers very limited data-interoperability functionality with both Open In and Android Intent features.

We’re seeing three types of personal cloud startups emerging to offering capabilities to link across apps, services and devices:

  • Access: search, unified visibility, and portability for files, photos, and information. Younity networks and delivers content across your devices using P2P technology. And Otixo facilitates data interoperability across cloud services within a virtual file system-type interface. Simply drag and drop to move files from one service to another.
  • Interconnection: tasks and data flows that use info from multiple services. Ink facilitates workflows as an alternative to iOS’s Open In.
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