The TCT Show + Personalized took place over the last few days at the NEC in Birmingham UK. I was only able to reach the first day on Wednesday, but, being my biggest enemy at the moment, and with no responsibility on the show for the first year, different priorities meant what it was like. Had to happen. Although I made the most of it. Got there early, left quite late and squeezed in as many meetings as humanly possible.
While little has to be done to hide the scale and cold lack of “personality” of the NEC’s huge convention center, the organizers once again do their best in this regard, including notable upgrades over past events. The dedicated conference area, the curtain was removed from the show floor to reduce noise, but for those at the back, it was a huge success. I spent most of the morning there.
Duncan Wood, COO of Rapid News Communications Group (RNCG), kicked off the whole thing, and used the platform to introduce viewers – physical and virtual (the first season of each day also streamed live via the TCT Show website Gone) – RNCG is starting the program for something new.
This includes RNC’s partnership with TCT Asia and CES (both in London and the states) in November 2014, where TCT will host a 3D printing conference. The 3D printing industry introduced the first of three CEO keynote presentations for the morning, pointing to the tremendous growth over the years.
Anyone watching the program will see that TCT 3D printing has brought great and good from the land. And so of course Day 1, Session 1, Presentation 1 started with AV Recital. The unique CEO of 3D Systems was in top form and was apparently talking about the ‘future of 3D printing’ in his element. I am struggling to pick up some key points from the plentiful notes I have taken.
Avi’s gaze to the future began, pointing to the past. And that was also a good sign – Chuck Hull’s 30-year anniversary of the first stereolithography part was mentioned from his first instrument and Avi also put a slide showing headshots of the most influential people in 3D printing over the last 25 years , And included users and contestants. A very nice touch I thought.
As Mike highlights listening to Avi and talking with him in San Jose, education is central to what the 3D system is doing right now and what they will do in the future – Avi feels it should be industry wide . And at TCT, AV and 3D Systems put the company’s money exactly where their mouth is – they co-sponsored the Bright-Minds program with Black Country Atelier, which included a class room of 3D printing ecosystem equipment.
It was great to see it in use by a range of children, with great enthusiasm. But the kids there were not hiding all day, it was also great to see them on the show floor, playing with equipment and parts, whispering back to each other and asking questions.
The other two CEOs were distributed by Connor McCormack of Keynotes Macor, a vendor of Matrix and Iris paper and full-color 3D printing platforms, whose passion for the industry only matches their innovative vision; And Alice Taylor, CEO of MakeLab.
The rather prolific and original woman who is a pioneer, in my opinion, is by far the best 3D printing related business model in the world and, even better, it is centered around toys – quite amazing Maki.
You know, one of the things that I like a lot about the industry I work in is the really brilliant and yet outspoken number of people I meet.
These are the people with whom I could happily spend the day discussing, occasionally debating, and learning more about 3D printing and their involvement and personal experiences with it. Truly inspiring humans – at levels above and beyond 3D printing. And this is an amazing opportunity that can be borne by events like TCT, although time is lacking.
As you might have guessed the people mentioned above fall into that category for me, along with Connor’s wife Diedre and of course her marketing director, Ms. Julie Rees. Others I see include Todd Grimm and Richard Horn who were both presenting in the second conference session, one dedicated to “myth-busting”. Both of them had caught fire even while battling through the veins.
For Todd, who is very passionate about this technology sector, and has been since the very early days, his primary send-off to this presentation was to convey ‘upbeat realism’. He did a wonderful job.
He also pointed to the many, many developments in 3D printing technologies over the past year that identify – and differentiate between – incremental developments and truly innovative developments. While both of these are valuable, and indeed are essential to the development of the industry, the difference is significant in terms of management expectations.