A recent post by John Vanston in VentureBeat proposes that 3D printing (or "Advanced Digital Manufacturing (ADM)" as they term it) is a Minitrend "particularly applicable to large companies." Vanston has written a book, "MINITRENDS: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover Profit From Business & Technology Trends". He says:
Advanced digital manufacturing (ADM) processes build complex, custom-made parts by the addition of successive layers of material rather than traditional machining processes that cut, bend, and machine a part from stock material. The processes allow quicker production of prototypes and small production runs at a much lower cost. Recent ADM advances, including improved yield rates, reduced time-to-market, increasing variety of materials, and advances in 3D modeling software, have made ADM processes increasingly attractive to many manufacturers.
While this may appear to be an introductory view of the technology, it appears alongside many well-known trends that also will be huge. His list includes:
- Virtual Worlds
- Working at Home
- AI-based Web Services
- Alternative Advice Services
- Servicing the Increasing Retired Population
- Advanced Electrical Uses
That's a pretty extensive list, and we agree that all of those could be huge areas in the next decade, especially "ADM". We're in good company.