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The Demise of FedEx?

A provocative article on Quiet Babylon proposes shipping companies such as FedEx may fade away as a result of new technology developments, including 3D Printing.

The premise is this: FedEx and similar carriers base their business on two basic needs:

  • Authenticated documents containing "wet signatures"
  • Movement of objects from place to place

We agree with this premise, but Quiet Babylon continues to suggest that the authentication need will likely be filled by technological solutions as has been done in other areas online. Then they'd only have the "molecule moving" business to depend on.

Quiet Babylon suggests that as 3D Printers enter homes even the molecule moving business will suffer, as consumers will simply buy designs from the cloud and print them on their home device.

Our take? Ultimately, that may happen, but it's truly a long way off. At the moment it's just too hard and expensive for most consumers to use either a home printer or even an online printing service. At some point, however, the services, software, hardware and design repositories will be sufficiently simple and inexpensive that a larger portion of consumers will attempt using them. At first it's likely to be for unique, low-quality commodity items, such as replacement parts for already-owned items. As capabilities improve, we'll see more items being printed by consumers - but that really isn't going to happen for quite a few years yet.

Via Quiet Babylon

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