April 19, 2014

Head in the Point Clouds

Why frivolous laser scanning is a good sign for serious users

Sam Pfeifle

When I express my enthusiasm for more practitioners of laser scanning and 3D data capture of all walks of life, I often get push back from some of the early adopters of the technology. They don't like that these scanners are coming down in price and that so many folks are now offering the technology. How are they supposed to keep their margins and daily rates in tact if every Tom, Dick, and Harry is out there marketing laser scanning services?

It's a valid question, but I think it misses what I and others mean when we talk about the expansion of the marketplace. People using handheld laser scanners, 123DCatch, even some of the people coming into the market with Faro's less-expensive Focus3D, are not competitors to your traditional firm using laser scanning to survey roadways for civil infrastructure clients or create as-built documents for off-shore oil and gas platforms. Or, at least, the survey and engineering firms should be able to differentiate themselves in real terms from any brand-new entrants coming into the market with nothing but a laser scanner and a bunch of gusto. People will continue to pay for quality as long as that quality's value is correctly articulated. 

In fact, I think the rise of "frivolous" 3D data capture is a very good thing for the early adopters using laser scanning for industrial and other "serious" endeavors, and I use this week's SPARVlog to articulate why:


Resources mentioned in the SPARVlog:

Interview with artist Sophie Kahn on the Ponoko blog

• "Print Your Head in 3D" project on Make Projects - please note that the difficulty level is "easy" (also, I mispoke in my videoblog I now realize - it's 123DCatch they're using, which I knew, but couldn't manage to say)

My blog post on Richard Branson as ice cube


05/10/2012 16:38:51 Sam Pfeifle says:

I completely agree, Ed, but I can see why the service providers might be antsy about that. No one likes being "replaced." Service providers are going to have to evolve to meet new types demand as well as looking outside of traditional business sources. Just being able to show up and scan because you own a scanner isn't going to be impressive anymore. It's going to have to be a solution approach where you're offering a turn-key package rather than just scanning services and turning over the data.

05/10/2012 08:09:40 Ed Oliveras says:

i have one more for you... many service providers are not happy that their former customers, the owner operators, are purchasing scanners and feel threatened that they are being replaced. In actual fact, this is a very good thing. By your customer adopting scanning in-house, they will soon face the same challenges you did with processing the terabytes of data that can be collected with the scanner. We all know the bulk of the budget in scanning projects is QC and data processing, like 3D models. This creates an even larger pool of revenue to tap into when the company buys in to converting from 2D to 3D data collection and smart providers will "plug" themselves into the process. My $0.02


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