Dec 16, 2015 | By Alec

Though electronics developers are increasingly looking into and even adopting 3D printing technology, both as a product and as a production tool, it looks like one of the best known companies will be conspicuously absent among that list. According to reports that have surfaced in Korean media sources, Samsung Electronics was looking into a number of possible priorities for its product development plans and has decided that 3D printing will not be a part of their immediate future. The reports say that 3D printing was one of the technologies under consideration, but was deemed unprofitable in the short term.

According to the reports, Samsung will instead focus on two other next generation technologies, namely the Internet-Of-Things (or IoT) and drone products. Both areas are deemed growth categories, unlike 3D printing. Both of these new hot innovations will be significantly studied and commercialized by the company’s strategic R&D departments, with the goal being to release products as early as market conditions will allow them to.

Samsung presentation at the CES.

According to the source, an anonymous person who is supposedly familiar with the inner workings of the Samsung high command, these areas have huge marketing potential. “Led by IT and Mobile (IM) Department, Samsung Electronics saw drone, IoT, 3D-Printing as candidates for future businesses and examined their possibilities in detail.” The source claimed. “Although it decided to commercialize drone and IoT in 2016 on full-scale, it decided to postpone 3D-Printing at the moment. It already established drone labs and is already test-producing drones after going through R&D and design of products.”

The decision making process focused on the issue of whether or not profits were on the horizon in 2016 and beyond. While long-term growth factors were also under consideration, the short term successes were deemed more important. In that respect, the choice for drones at least is very logical, with the global market for drone technology already being worth $5 billion in 2014 (expected to grow $10 billion by 2020). A number of other global businesses are also actively focusing on drones, with Google, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba among them. With their high tech experience, Samsung expects that they can have a real impact on this market by combining it with smartphone and VR technologies at their disposal.

IoT, meanwhile, has been on the Samsung radar for a considerable time. It is also one of the areas in which Vice-Chairman Lee Jae Yong is personally involved, with the goal being to develop an open-type IoT platform called Artik in 2016. Plans of integrating household appliances into the IoT are also on the Samsung agenda over the coming years (90 percent of all Samsung devices by 2017, is the goal). “It’s not science fiction anymore,” Samsung President Yoon told CES attendees in January. “It’s science fact. Actually I would argue that the age of the Internet of Things has already started. But to unlock its benefits, we have to prove it works in real life. It must be centered on humans and fit into their lifestyles. We have to show consumers what’s in it for them.”

The only question is: why not 3D printing? Especially as Samsung was already a considerable player in the 3D printing business. The report suggests, however, that they expect 3D printing not to be profitable on a short term. What those estimates are based on is unknown, but the actions of such a big player will definitely influence the market in some way. Commercial, consumer-oriented 3D printing, it seems, isn’t quite ready for the spotlight.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Bob Loblaw wrote at 12/18/2015 1:46:50 PM:

“It’s not science fiction anymore,” It's not a dystopian fantasy, it's a real life nightmare come true. Instead of giving consumers what they ask for (3D printers) Samsung is making everything they sell a surveillance platform with TVs that record you etc. and THEN they will try to sell you on it. You don't need an "IoT" as much as they need to con you into paying to have them breach your own personal security. ProTip: Buy from companies that give you what you need; not ones that tell you what they decided you need based on what's most profitable in the short term.

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