Vendors attending the growing 3D print presence at the annual Consumer Electronics Show have started to release information, and two drop some strong hints about things to come.
CES has always been a gigantic show, with typically around 150,000 attendees present. It’s a logistical challenge for everyone, attendees and vendors. Nevertheless, 3D print vendors are gathering in large numbers in a specially designated zone for 3D printing. There’s around 70 companies attending, making it one of the premiere events for 3D printing worldwide.
We’re starting to receive correspondence from some of them and one vendor, 3D Systems, reveals some hints of what they’re going to show off. They say they’re going to “showcasing our full range of existing and new 3D printers, software and services”. Of course, we’re most interested in the “new” products. Here’s what they say about that:
Our expanding family of MultiJet (MJP) 3D printers that offer incredible speed and feature detail for high-quality, durable prints across a wide range of applications
This sounds like they may announce new ProJet models with enhanced capabilities. But will they announce a new version of their desktop 3D printing products? This is what they say they’ll demonstrate:
3D printing solutions for the engineer’s desktop and classroom, including Cube® and CubePro® 3D printers
This doesn’t sound to us like they’re announcing new desktop equipment, but instead refocusing their marketing towards engineers and educators rather than consumers. Their other hints suggest minor improvements in their many product lines, but perhaps they have something to surprise us that’s not yet revealed.
Meanwhile, MakerBot has revealed something about their strategy at CES already: they DO NOT HAVE A BOOTH. Yes, for the first time in many years, MakerBot is not producing a dedicated show booth. In fact, last year their booth was perhaps the largest in the 3D print area. Now there isn’t one at all.
However, their parent company, Stratasys, does have a booth, albeit quite a bit smaller than last year. It’s likely that MakerBot gear and representatives will appear there instead.
But what does this mean? If MakerBot itself is not prominently represented at the Consumer Electronics Show, does that say they feel they’re no longer a consumer product? We know the company has recently been refocusing on the education and small business market, and perhaps their diminished visibility at CES is part of that pattern.
It also may indicate they do not plan on making an announcement of a new 3D printer product, as we had suspected they might.
But we could be totally wrong on all this, as we won’t know the truth until we get there in early January 2016.