It will give adopters an innovation advantage over those that come later
Manufacturing processes are something that foundries and construction companies have a monopoly on, but 3D printers will soon begin to chip at their revenue sources, as people will gain the means to create their own toys, containers, household objects, etc.So far, not many 3D printers have been made, and the few 3D printing services that have been launched are still in infant stages.
It will take months to accumulate a wide customer base, so enterprises don't need to change the way they do things yet.
Nevertheless, Gartner feels that it would be ideal for them to adopt 3D printing early, thus becoming one of the potential creators of new products and ways of using the technology, rather than ending up as clients.
"3D printing is a technology accelerating to mainstream adoption," said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner.
"It is a technology of great interest to the general media, with demonstrations on science shows, gadget websites and in other areas."
3D printing has been showing up in many futuristic ideas, providing science fiction with a whole bunch of new concepts.
Real-world uses remain more relevant though, and we already know that consumers will access services and 3D-printed products via print shops and kiosks.
Gartner feels that enterprises could benefit greatly if they hurry to become providers of such services.
"From descriptions of exciting current uses in medical, manufacturing and other industries to futuristic ideas, such as using 3D printers on asteroids and the moon to create parts for spacecraft and lunar bases, the hype leads many people to think the technology is some years away when it is available now and is affordable to most enterprises," said Pete Basiliere.
It is still unclear how the world will go about protecting the 3D models usable with the printers, but multinational retailers are already selling printers and supplies, and 3D-printed pieces, so we imagine models will always be broadly available in some shape or form.