- The 3D laser scanning industry is still being primarily driven by the technology.
- The technical orgs such as ASPRS and ASTM, although important, are not broad based enough to represent the much larger “pragmatist” portion of the potential market.
- The primary conversation has to shift from product features to user benefits.
I received a couple of comments on the SWOT analysis post from last week that I would like to highlight. The feedback was similar – the laser scanning marketplace today is primarily focused on the technology. Maybe “focused’ is not the right term, maybe it should be “dominated”.
In any case, this is typical of a technology-driven, early adopter market, but I am sure all of us would like to “cross the chasm” and move into the much larger, so-called “pragmatist” portion of the bell curve. The question is, “Who is going to take a leadership role in making that happen?”
Certainly the ASPRS, SME, ASTM and other similar professional organizations would like to be part of the user community leadership, but I am afraid these groups are too technically focused. They have a place as the foundation for the technical portion of the community, but that is too small a base.
The hardware manufacturers, who in most cases are also the key software vendors have been developing the market to date, but let’s face it, the cost of the hardware in many cases still “seems” to be too high. I am sure they would like to be able to lower the costs, in fact I have been told by one of the major players that his goal was to get the price of a scanner down to that of a total station, in the next few years.
But I still think there is a need for leadership from the end user communities. Perhaps GITA, or URISA, the AIA or ACEC, and certainly the construction industry needs to be involved. I don’t think the ideal org exists, and maybe its not an organization but a general awareness that needs to be nurtured and developed.
I look at the GIS industry as an example. ESRI has worked very hard to spread the GIS gospel for the past 40 years, and Google builds an online map application that ESRI could have built in a weekend, yet we all know who has done more to open up GIS to the masses. I hope it does not take that long for 3D laser scanning to hit critical mass.
The primary conversation has to be about user benefits not features.