Change is a reality, and one that is accelerating now more than ever. Change is also a challenge, and no one knows that better than Edward Davis, the Strategy Director for the Digital Manufacturing & 3D Printing Ecosystems at HP. Today, Ed joins Tom and Tracy Hazzard to talk about the megatrend drivers and emerging technologies that are shaping 3D manufacturing global trends. He also peels back the curtain on how HP is interpreting and evaluating megatrends to move their company and the whole 3D industry forward.
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Megatrend Drivers and Emerging Technologies Shaping 3D Manufacturing Global Trends with Edward Davis
I’m excited about all the stuff we’ve got going on and this is one of the early episodes that we’re going to be doing in this series. I was so excited when I got to talk to Edward Davis from HP because they’re working on some cool philosophical thinking process about Megatrends.
I didn’t even realize that they were doing this advanced work, but after interviewing Ed, I got it by the end of it. I’m interested to talk about that with you after the interview. It makes sense why they are doing all this research in Megatrends.
Change is a reality. Change is accelerating. Change is also challenge and no one knows that better than Edward Davis. He’s the Director of 3D Strategy, Chief Technologists Officer or the CTO’s office of HP. 3D and digital manufacturing strategy are the newest and fastest-growing of HP’s three global business units. Digital manufacturing strategy is at high growth and has over 30 years of experience in printing, technology investigations and product development. Its current responsibility is translating Megatrend and competitive analysis into the vision for the digital manufacturing industry and developing the execution strategy for creating this manufacturing ecosystem from design through production to use. Ed is recognized for his depth in product life cycles from design through manufacturing including part manufacturer, product assembly, distribution and use.
He previously held a series of positions in HP’s $20 billion estimated print business focusing on creating and scaling new business opportunities. The real big question as we go into this is how do we or any company decide to invest our time, money and energy? That’s where these Megatrends fit in. We talk about that all the time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at the low level in a small business, you’re doing it as an entrepreneur or as a big business size. We have to have a basis for making some of these decisions and choices. We also have to have a business model that helps us stay sustainable under disruption. I always thought it was ironic that we had many 3D-print companies that got disrupted by the disruption of 3D printing. They didn’t manage to make it sustainable and yet HP took that slow and steady pace. We talked about HP on the 560 shows a handful of times.
We heard they were interested in it and they were working on it, but we were all guessing. Nobody had any idea how they were approaching it and why they were approaching it. We’re peeling back the curtain on that.
We’re getting some insights in it and it makes me even more excited about the 3D print industry again. You and I had a conversation about that. I’m excited to bring you a conversation on Megatrends and a couple of other things that you’re going to find fascinating as well with Edward Davis.
Ed, we’re glad to talk to you. We’re super excited to talk Megatrends with you. Before we start, I want to talk of this little detail about we’re getting a lot of blips in our trends. We’re getting these other things that are giving us little waves in that. Do we consider that part of our Megatrend? Do they consider the shift? What’s the impact of things like sequestering, quarantining and buying habits that are changing because of what’s going on in the world?
Should we introduce what is a Megatrend first and then talk about what the implication of the current situation?
Let’s talk about that. What’s a Megatrend?
Megatrend is not an HP invention. If you google it, you can pick up PDFs. They’re major trends in the world, which are either social, economic or technology. We do our own version of Megatrends in HP because our intention is to be in business 10 or 20 years from now. We need to make the right decisions based on where the world is going. The Megatrends that we talk about are things like rapid urbanization. Everybody is moving towards the cities. This is going to happen. There may be a blip in it because nobody can move. The fact of the matter is that people go where the money is and the money tends to be where the cities are. The major trend won’t change but maybe some themes below rapid urbanization will change as a result of the current situation.
It’s worth watching in that particular case like thinking about rapid urbanization. We are all a little scared of this plan that we might move closer to the city. We might rethink that, so we have to watch it.
You see that if the world lives through a bad situation like the Great Depression, it changes behaviors. My grandparents never put money in the bank after the Great Depression. They put their money in the freezer. You know where the word ‘cold hard cash’ comes from. They put their money in a big freezer with a lock on it and the freezers back then weighed two tons. That’s a great thing. Nobody’s going to steal that. It’s going to change the way that we behave. What I see however is that more than going against the Megatrends, it’s going to accelerate certain things.It’s not just about #3DPrinting accelerating time to market, it’s now about the 3d manufacturing being accelerated due to the shift in #globaltrends. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
Let me give you the second trend that we identify in HP, which is changing demographics. The world is growing older. This situation may change the average age of the world for some period of time but generally speaking, the medical system permits that people will live longer and the themes below people living longer will be accelerated. The need for better medicine, accelerated diagnostics, local less expensive diagnostics and digital care. We’ve seen in here in San Diego. I forget which hospital, but before this happened, they were doing 50 remote physical therapy. Now, they’re up to 2,000 per day. All the physical therapy went remote. If you can teach and guide somebody through the exercises through Zoom, why not? These things will be accelerated and the adoption of different methodologies will be accelerated by the current situation, not necessarily decelerated
Do we want that? That’s the big question we see circulating around. Do we want to go back to the way things were or is this so much better? We have to consider that and it makes a rapid acceleration.
What’s going to happen is rapid acceleration. It’s worth that I mention the third Megatrend that we have identified in HP because this one we need to change the word. The third trend that we had was hyperglobalization. We need to change that to hyperconnectivity. It means the same thing. We’re all more connected with the world around us. Hyperglobalization gets me to the 3D printing point that I’ll make. Hyperconnectivity is happening. There have been a lot more people that are working at home. I was already able to work at home. HP is a technology company. We do a lot of things remotely. A lot of companies now have rationalized that you can do events remotely. You can do customer support remotely. You can do all these things remotely. The need for connectivity and software security, everybody knows about the Zoom bombing, becomes even more accelerated because we’ve gone through this.
That provides your fourth one, which is accelerated innovation. There isn’t a time at which we have to accelerate our innovation than when we desperately need a vaccine. We need parts and materials and that’s where 3D printing has been coming in big.
Where 3D printing is even worth mentioning is the use of new medical devices for local diagnostics. What may be not known in the world is that we also have a 2D printer that’s used to dispense microparticles for the investigation of pharmaceuticals or vaccines. The need for these things has never been greater. The need for local supply chains has never been greater. This is going to become a turning point for 3D in the world.
I’m excited about that and that’s something we were talking about before. The hype cycle of 3D printing seemed over. It was like, “Do we want to talk more about 3D printing?” That’s why the show had a little lag in there because we weren’t as excited about it anymore, but it’s coming back to excitement.
There also were false expectations and bad speculations by financial analysts that were trying to name it the next big thing. They didn’t understand the industry. The value of 3D printing has gotten a vehicle for proving the value proposition, which is the situation in the medical industry, the need for personal protection devices, the need for ventilator parts, the need for maybe new ventilator designs, There are two primary values that we can prove now to the world through this example of the medical industry, which is 3D printing can accelerate the time to market. The fact is you can’t skip a development and validation phase if you’re making something as complicated as a ventilator. You need to validate that the thing works. You can’t just go from design to production, which is a fallacy. You have to validate that the thing not only works, but it meets the requirements of a ventilator. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with ventilators. They’re not respirators. They’re assisted breathing devices. If you’re trying to blow into my lungs when I’m trying to breathe up, you’re suffocating me. The thing has to work.
Tom, you know this better than anyone on the design side of how fast acceleration can happen because of 3D print iterations.
It’s critical to the development and meeting people’s needs. What we’re seeing now, not just on the development side, which I agree with you, Ed, you cannot shortcut development of a product and have it meet the needs. I was very concerned when I heard about these ventilators. Hospitals were talking about splitting them and making one ventilator work for two people. I don’t know how you synchronize two people’s breathing in and out in distress. Maybe there’s a way, but that seems a tall task.
That’s a dangerous situation. They have to be perfectly matched conditions. A more complicated thing would be to split the air pressure with separate valving systems, but then you’re getting a complicated mechanism and you might as well make another ventilator.
Let’s not talk all about these things because I want to get back to the Megatrends.
Let me mention one thing, Tracy. There are two value propositions of 3D printing. The first is time to market. The other one is digital distribution. This is also coming in, the flexible supply chain. We and others have come up with some new solutions to things like these protective face shields. We come up with the design in Barcelona that met the requirements of the hospital. We passed the regulations in Europe. The distribution is digital. We put the file up on our website. People can download it and they can print it themselves wherever they are.
The distribution value proposition or flexible supply chain is the other thing. We’ve got now a vehicle to demonstrate the value proposition, which should accelerate the inclusion of 3D printing in a normal supply chain. The inclusion, I don’t mean to say, we’re not going to replace it. We’re going to be part of a hybrid supply chain model where you use injection molding for plastic when and where it makes sense. You use 3D printing in the same product when and where it makes sense. This will be proven out in the medical industry and then others will start to take note for their own industries.When #3ddesign can get quick proof that your design works without having to invest as much time or money, the critical benefit is there. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
It’s a necessity matching or there’s a need that happens in these extreme times. Think of it as a natural selection of sorts. There’s too big of a lead time on a certain part to make it the traditional way. What else can we do? Because we need these parts now and the solution presents itself. As you said, some parts will be traditionally manufactured and others will be 3D printed as needed.
It will be 3D printed for a period of time until the tooling can be completed because you need to ramp up or whatever that is. That’s showing you the value proposition as you put it, which is what we’ve seen for a long time.
What you mentioned, Tracy, is what’s called bridge manufacturing. You start with one to get to market and then when it makes sense and you have the tool ready, you convert to that because it probably got cost efficiencies that the 3D printer does not. The hybrid model takes that one step further and says, “If you’ve qualified that the 3D printed part is equal to the injection molded part, then why not use both processes in production?” As an example, use the injection molding for the stable production and use the 3D printing for either upside production because of unforeseen forecasts, spare parts or what they call pull supply chain. The other one is pushed supply chain. I’ll make them and then I’ll try to sell them. Pull supply chain is when you get a request and you make it. It’s the ultimate of just-in-time manufacturing.
We’re seeing that now because we’re seeing such a fluctuation in sales in the marketplace. The other part that I love about what this is also proving about is that validation phase. We talked about that a lot on our show in general. We talk about it a lot from market and design validation, not just validation of how it should be made and how it’s working. There’s a complexity to the types of validation that you need to do. Being able to use 3D printing through that validation process for us has been proven to be the essential accelerator in the innovation process. Otherwise, the market shifts while you’re in the process of developing.
When you get proof that your design works and that it meets the needs without having to invest as much time or money, that to me is the critical benefit.
All of these strategies always made sense. What we haven’t had is the opportunity to demonstrate to the world the value proposition. You guys know that as well as I do. We’ve been preaching to the choir amongst ourselves about all of these.
A lot of times, we’ll call it here, “We don’t have the killer app.” This is the killer application which is so horrible, but that’s the truth of it. We needed something that proved out how it would work in process and do all of those things. I’m thrilled because in a way, it’s highlighting those companies who have stayed the course like HP. You have stayed the course saying, “The hype cycle is not over. I’m not quitting this. We’re sticking with it because we believe this has a future.” This is where your Megatrend analysis comes in. I’d love for you to talk to people who are out there making those decisions about where to invest for their own time and money, not their own company’s time and money. It’s not just investing from a passive way like, “I’m going to invest in the 3D print company,” but how they think about the future and how we prevent this disruption or stay ahead of the disruption. It’s great that you have a team and you analyze all these Megatrends and you do it, but how do you use it?
If we’re thinking about being in business 10, 20 years from now, we need to think about what are the skills that people are going to need in the future. That affects hiring plans and talent development plans. We need to consider how processes and tools like 3D printing will be evolving for our own operations. We need to think about what different business models are possible because of the digitization and the automation of the world. Things are changing in such a way that the old business models of just selling products is not the only one that you can do. Finally, we need to consider things like where our products are going to be sold in the future. Who will be the people buying them and how do we design our products to meet those people’s needs?
One of our concerns is that we still see such a gap in design education for this future world. I clearly see that even as you were giving me the full presentation on the Megatrends, which I love because I’m a geek and I love the back research. I know that you guys see that too.
Let me talk about the challenges then. There’s a video that I referred to in our conversation chase, which if you google, “HP MJF chameleon,” you’ll see it somewhere in YouTube. This is a visionary video of where 3D printing can be not next year or five years from now, but 2 or 3 decades from now. This is what a lot of people speculated on that this might be tomorrow, but it’s not. What you could eventually do with 3D printing is print something as complicated as electromechanical robotic chameleon that has electrical parts, mechanical structure, skin and all different properties. You could print that without further assembly. This is from the Star Trek replicator. Find some buttons and then that’s what you get. We’re moving in that direction but that’s the long-term.
That’s because we’re still teaching siloed engineering, electronic, coding. Everything is still siloed.
That’s part of it, but part of it also is there are three big challenges to get there. The first is to even talk about all those voxel controls and multi-property, you first need to be a scale production process. If you could only print 1 or 2, you’re not competing for scale production. That’s the first challenge. That’s a shorter-term thing. The other two challenges are these. You have to invent all of that multi-property control. That takes time. This is a complicated multi-physics. It’s not that simple to manipulate properties on a material. Imagine you could print something as complicated as that. How would you design it? You can’t do voxel by voxel design.
It’s a ridiculous proposition to say, “Voxel number one has this color. It has this mechanical, texture and electrical property.” It would take you forever to finish a design. An evolution of the product design tools needs to happen along with the evolution of the printers’ capabilities. That evolution is what has been known as generative design. We’re seeing the initial generative design, which is the simplest form, which is topology optimization. That’s already happening. Siemens has got some software that enables that. Several others have software that enables that. Siemens came up with topology optimization for airflow. That’s just topology optimization. That’s not complex electromechanical robotic chameleon design, which is a whole different level of multi-physics complexity.
When you think about it, it takes multiple different people with education and different disciplines that are needed to create the entire product. If you’re going to make this happen in a machine like the one you referenced with the Star Trek futuristic replicator, you’re not going to have any single person that has all that knowledge. It’s going to have to have the software, AI and a number of things, but how much influence on that will the human be able to have in making something unique versus something pre-programmed?
There’s a visionary influence that still needs to happen. Someone has to say, “I need this. I want it.”
The long-term view is democratized and you don’t need so much specialization. That’s the same timeframe as the replicator. We’re probably talking 30, 40 years from now because the sophistication of the design tool, which needs to be integrated with the simulation tool of everything, has to be such that somebody without a formal education could make something complicated. That’s beyond my lifetime. So does the replicator, but that’s 30, 40, 50-year thing. There’s a step before that, which is the design tools need to enable professional engineers like ourselves to do complicated things. Such things as the embedding of electronics and mechanical parts, those are two different tools. There’s an electrical design tool and they’re not integrated. Even if you and I had electrical and mechanical degrees, that design tools are separate and there’s no way to integrate them. Before you get to this democratization phase, there’s a phase in which the design tools and the printers are very sophisticated for professional engineers and that is within our lifetimes.
Some of the other things that we’ve touched on here are the emerging technologies and trends that are going on within those emerging technologies themselves. Growth has to happen there. We get in this like, “3D print is the next industrial revolution,” and we get in the hype thing of it. What we don’t realize it’s all these other things that some of them you’ve been talking about. Even some that are not even in our control like big data has to come in and inform these things. They are at that sophisticated level yet or where they could be. We run into those. What are some of those emerging technologies that you see as essential for the future?
Let’s talk about automation and let me take the opportunity to introduce the concept of Industrie 4.0. You need to spell it like it’s German because Industrie 4.0 was defined by a consortium between government, university and the industry in 2010. They defined it as such. I’m going to translate it into English. The short and the abridged English version, which is Industrie 4.0 is the capture and use of the data across the entire product life cycle from concept, through manufacturing, distribution, sales, installation, repair and replacement. It’s using the data analytics across that whole product life cycle, not just manufacturing. This is not manufacturing 4.0. This is product life cycle which is broader than manufacturing. It’s using the data across that entire product life cycle to real-time make improvements across that whole product life cycle through data analytics. Data analytics is the generic version. Machine learning is a type of data analytics. Artificial intelligence is a type of data analytics. It’s using data analytics to automate the flow of information across that whole product life cycle by looking for correlations between items that humans won’t have the time to do.New #3Ddesigntools have to be such that somebody without a formal education in engineering and design can make something complex and sophisticated. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
That’s the one part that we were talking about is to share with each other.
What happens now in normal manufacturing is most things are not database-driven and proactive communication to the users. It’s a guy sending an email to a guy or a woman and waiting to get an email response back, probably not getting a response and then calling them and not getting an answer on the phone. The time delay of communication in this product life cycle can be as slow as 2 or 3 weeks.
I love the example that we talked about before. It’s thinking about you’ve got a printer that’s being serviced in a customer’s facility. The repair person needs to be in and out. There’s a problem he or she has never seen before. They could only send an email, make a phone call, try and do it. The next thing you know, they were like, “Let’s just replace the printer because we didn’t get an answer.” It’s not right.
What happens now is you repair too much. We do that too because if you’ve got a customer with a problem, you don’t want to spend a couple of days getting to the root cause analysis. You want to get the guy’s product working again. This is the thing that data analysts can do. It can look at failures in the field and look for correlations between what happened upstream for that specific product. Did something fail in the top-level assembly? Did something fail in the park fabrication? Did something break in the distribution? Even worse, go further upstream and say, “Did they know there was a design margin issue in R&D and they ignored it and the product by design has a design margin issue?” This is where recall has come from.
We’ve seen it on the product side, so we know exactly what you’re talking about. Tom and I are looking at each other going, “Been there, seen that and know it happens.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if the data would tell you, “This is the problem?” We’ve correlated it back and inform the guy that’s making the parts. If that’s where the root cause is, he needs to fix something right away and not wait for you to escalate it back to him. In the end, the Industrie 4.0 is not the manufacturing 4.0. The real winners in Industrie 4.0 are product owners. You can develop more complicated and more competitive products in less time with higher quality than you could without these analytics and less liability.
We talk about this all the time. We have no idea how the automakers can stay in business because every time we take our car in, we go in and they replace everything you turn around, and then sometimes they replace it 2 and 3 times. You’re like, “How are they even still making money off this car?”
They probably make money on services.
The service company is certainly making money. That’s what we decided.
It’s phenomenal to me how complicated automobiles have become and although we still have to take in the car for repairs, the reliability has improved so much over the last 50 years. It’s phenomenal that it can be as complicated as it is and still work. I’m impressed with the auto industry.
Industrie 4.0 is completely necessary for that model of business because they can’t sustain the price pressure down, the quality up and the reliability up. All of that is an unsustainable business model if you don’t improve the process around you.
All the while, it’s becoming more and more competitive. I’m a fan of the auto industry. The auto industry has much more capacity to build cars than they sell every year. It is hyper-competitive. The only way anybody grows is by stealing market share from everybody else. That requires that you have more and more competitive products. More and more competitive generally means more and more complex. That’s what we’ve seen.
You guys have seen that too.
More competitive sometimes means driving costs down and cutting corners. Take for instance the Takata Airbag situation, which was an engineering oversight or flaw or a supplier being pressured to deliver a part at a cheaper price. You’ve mentioned how complex these cars have gotten and they are incredibly complex car that I drove. When I first learned to drive, it didn’t have an airbag, it didn’t have antilock brakes, and it didn’t have computers. Now your baseline car has to have all of those things and more. I wonder what you think about this. It used to be that engineering part properly required some amount of failure to know where the limits of materials or processes are. How is our Industrie 4.0 going to be able to predict some of those things? Is it going to be able to?
In the center of this data analytics are what they call digital twins. You can google this and get a more detailed description of it. There are at least three digital twins in those analytics. One is a digital twin of the manufacturing supply chain. Another one is the digital twin of the product process versus product reliability. The third one is the digital twin of the product itself relative to what the product is supposed to do. This is complicated so let me use an example from 3D. The product digital twin in a 3D printer is a model of what are the printing parameters that affect the part quality. The manufacturing process or the process twin is, “What parameters do I specify in the assembly line including the part tolerances on the parts that affect the reliability of the 3D printer?” The other one is simply the manufacturing supply chain. There are two ways to generate those models.
The old-fashioned way, which still has to come into play, is that you do the calculations that the engineers developing the parts, and the subsystems have to come up with a correlation between the parts specifications and the functionality or between the process specifications and the functionality. That’s the way it’s been done for years and years for sophisticated manufacturing products. I’m not talking about singular part products like shoe inserts. I’m talking about automobiles. The other way to generate these digital twins is data analytics. You’ve probably heard of learning engines or machine learning. You have enough statistical data points to create a normal model and to create an anomaly model, and then to see the difference between normal and an anomaly. The problem with this machine learning creation of these digital twins is you need a lot of data for the machine learning to work. In reality, the shortcut is to apply the domain knowledge as the base for a normal model. Create your normal model based on what the engineer says, and then spend your time in the data analytics either correcting his normal model because you see what he or she thought was normal is not quite normal and focus on the anomaly model.
We talk about this sometimes because we did a lot of chair designs. We did a lot of five-star bases, which you’re all sitting on probably in your offices. If we let them do their normal plastic modeling, we’ll look at it and we go, “You got to find surveys.” Almost everybody is. We would look at it and the engineers would come back and they’d say, “The plastic needs to be beefed up and it needs to be done this.” We have twenty years of experience designing these things. We’d say, “You don’t have to because the design has this built into it.” You can deviate from the model of the PE analysis. We were like, “It doesn’t have to be like that.”
For us, it was still a process of make it, test it and find out where the breaking point is.
This is where the real data comes in. As you know, you can simulate something but the level of simulation now, depending on what you’re simulating, is an approximation of the truth. You always need to validate the simulation with empirical. What the machine learning does is that’s your empirical data. If I have in my 3D printer a way of measuring the part quality coming out of it, that’s the real data. I can come up with my theory of what printing parameters affect part quality, but it’s much better to correct that theory with real data. Your simulation goes from potentially 90% correct towards 100% correct.
I’ve got one last question for you. You’re being so generous. HP is being so generous with sharing your Megatrends with us and sharing this information out with the community in general. What can we as a 3D print community or as an industry learn from the fact that you’re sharing this data and information, and also from the continued investment that HP has been making in this marketplace?
The continued investment is there is an opportunity in 3D printing and the big opportunity is to participate in the final parts market. While we’re in prototyping, the size of the industry is the size that it is with some stable growth. If we can start to capture part of the final manufacturing, that’s big business. I’m talking about orders of magnitude bigger than prototyping. The sharing is part of maybe the philosophy of HP in particular in the 3D print industry, which is I don’t want to fight with other people over a small prototyping business. I don’t need to steal market share from you. You need to steal market share with me. This is not the game. What we’ve said is when the tide rises, all the ships rise. The sharing of information is to make sure that everybody understands the value propositions that we’re trying to drive awareness of for the rest of the world are very common, whether you’re talking about HP MJF or somebody else’s process. The value propositions of time to market and the value propositions of digital supply chains are the same. If we can get the world to start to acknowledge, then we all get some portion of this final part manufacturing market and we all grow together.If we're thinking about being in the #3dprintbusiness 10 to 20 years from now, we need to think today about the skills that people are going to need in the future. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
That’s been our goal here at the show and that’s why we’re excited by this partnership on sponsoring the series to get to talk to great people like you, Ed. Thank you so much for coming on the show. We appreciate it.
Megatrend Drivers and Emerging Technologies Shaping 3D Manufacturing Global Trends — Final Thoughts
Tracy, there are a few things that jumped out at me and I’m going to boil it down to three things. Number one, Ed talked about the big picture or the future is end-use part manufacturing, not just prototyping and sampling. The real huge market that will eclipse the size of where 3D printing has been living. It’s been living in this testing and prototyping world. While you and I always had the vision of using end-use parts and making final products, it’s not easy to do and most of the market has been in the prototype.
That’s what we found out and that was the whole premise for the start of this show. It’s to start to understand what those challenges were. What are we going to be able to make a successful business in it? Is this the right place for us? After 560 original episodes, we decided no. We had decided no a lot earlier than that, but we decided there wasn’t a place for us. After these conversations that we’ve been having on the series, especially this one with Ed Davis, I’m excited that there seems to be a lot of solutions and a path towards it. There’s a path towards it that says maybe within five years you and I ought to be reinvesting our time and energy into that and the new strategy we saw a decade ago.
It does take that time to get there. The second thing is seeing how HP has been approaching this with not only researching and identifying these Megatrends but openly sharing that information was very encouraging to me. It comes back to a term we have talked about called coopetition, which is they’re not worried about hoarding the information, keeping it exclusive to HP and keeping it to themselves. They recognize the industry is larger than HP. It’s for the whole world to advance. If they can share that information and help move the industry forward faster, then they’re going to do it. They’re going to be sharing it with some competitors, but they’re also cooperating. I hear the word, coopetition, but the third thing that screamed out to me is something that only a company like HP could do.
This garden industry that started as these patents expired from the ‘80s and fostered the desktop 3D printing industry in that surge of interest, while that is wonderful and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it in some small way and using all of these things in our own businesses. In order to go toward the future where someday we do get to that Star Trek level replicator vision, it takes leadership. Only a company like Hewlett Packard that is established and has the resources to do things at a whole another level and put all the research, it takes that kind of a company to take that leadership role and go and execute.
That’s what we’re talking about changing industry standards. We’re talking about incorporating data and incorporating all of the other things like the big data and the IoT. As you’re talking about, incorporating all of those things, the resources required to do that, the number of divisions, and to get them to work together, that’s how you’re going to accelerate the innovation. I’m glad somebody is still taking a leadership role and taking it as a mission. That’s what this seems like it. Megatrends seem like a mission in a way to say, “We make this out there for everyone to see. We’re going to help move this whole industry forward. We’re going to help them all see their place in that role.” They’re also not going to be fearful of all the investments that they’re making as they go because it has a place and there are other companies like HP of a bigger size doing these kinds of investments. That means there’s a marketplace for it.
Kudos to HP for putting the investment into it. This is not just an investment in one machine and one technology. This is an investment in the industry. It’s significant.
I liked the Industrie 4.0 thing. That’s one of my takeaways of it. When I first talked to Ed about it, I love the idea of this because for us, this is like when you’re scaling a business. As we mentioned in our last episode, while we’ve been on a hiatus, we’ve been scaling a podcast production business. While a lot of it is service, there are products involved in it. This is what has frustrated me in the sequencing of it. When we were small, everybody talked or overheard each other and we knew what was going on. You could be flexible and nimble. You could solve problems and design. We would get involved or we’d fix something, a flaw in the coding or something like that. We’d be able to fix that and go off that.
Now that we’ve gotten to a certain size where we don’t have fully automated systems in place to report back data or machine learning and AI systems in place, we’re at that in-between stage of where we have now teams and people. The report pack structure is so slow and it frustrates me from a designer standpoint. We want the data to flow faster through this process. You can even see it in a small microcosm. As you try to scale your business, you will experience these stages. What we ideally want to get back to is how it was when it was small. Only we didn’t want to keep small, we want to grow big. I could see how that Industrie 4.0 being able to create that process and system understanding for it and the incorporation of these emerging technologies. That’s going to help almost every company understand that scaling process better and create the flow for any type of complex product or system to be able to be manufactured, produced, and developed out there. I love that idea that takes so much out of it and keeps us in the invention and innovation role.
In that creative space, which is where we want to be.
That excites me as well to see that going on. I’m excited to keep up on that. One of the things that I want to make sure that everybody knows is you can go back to 3DStartPoint.com. There’s a whole SlideShare and all kinds of things that they’ve shared with us that you’ll be able to access. You’d want to go through it. It’s greatly detailed. The SlideShare on the 2020 update for the Megatrends was a couple of hundred slides. It’s big and there’s a lot of data and a lot of information on all the different little details and what he was calling the subcategories of sub-trends that are underneath it. You’ll want to check that out. You can do that at 3DStartPoint.com. We also have 3DStartPoint.com/HP, which will get you to all the resources within this series. You’ll be able to find them all in one place as well.
Get Even More!
Learn more about Megatrends from Edward Davis and find out how this is shaping the future.
- HP report on Megatrends
- Ted Talk by Alison Sander: Megatrends – the art and science of trend tracking
- Edward Davis
- HP Megatrends 2020 Refresh SlideShare
- 3D Strategy: Transforming Design & Manufacturing by Edward Davis
- HP 3D Printing Solutions
- Megatrends Video – Frost & Sullivan
- HP 3D Print
- Z By HP
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