Jan 4, 2016 | By Alec

The start of a new year is always accompanied by resolutions, hopes, goals and predictions, and the 3D printing industry is no exception. Virtually all experts agree that 3D printing could do very well over 2016, with new technological breakthroughs on the horizon and markets being set to expand rapidly. While not everyone out there is quite convinced that 3D printing will break into the mainstream this year, Windows’ search engine Bing (the infamous rival of Google) has thrown all caution into the wind. In a new prediction of the hottest and most successful trends of 2016, they have predicted that 2016 will see 3D printing going mainstream while virtual reality technology, fitness trackers and personal digital assistants will become the biggest technology trends.

This daring prediction is part of a wide range of predictions, featuring sport results, the most popular holiday destinations and even what films will do best in award ceremonies. Among its other predictions are that Budapest will be the biggest tourist hotspot of the year, that Novak Djokovic will win the Australian Open and that Arsenal will finally reclaim the Premier League title this year.

Of course, making such predictions isn’t easy but Bing has been remarkably successful before – especially when it comes to sports results. They have, for instance, successfully predicted that Germany would win the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. This time around, they have expanded their prediction categories to include things like technology, and have used a wide range of data points to do so – including web searches, social sentiment and statistical signals. According to Kevin Stagg, the head of consumer marketing at the Redmond-based search engine, their previous prediction successes have encouraged them to go a bit further for 2016. “Bing has a great track record with predictions; we've done this before for lots of sporting events and have been uncannily correct in the past,” he said. "This year we've expanded it out to include a broader range of categories which have thrown up some interesting results.”

Unfortunately, he did not want to say exactly how these prediction results were found. “We have complex but clever algorithms that analyse huge amounts of data to produce these predictions,” he simply said. However, in the case of 3D printing these predictions do match those of market analysts such as Gartner, who have all predicted that the 3D printing market is set to expand rapidly. “Technology is always really fast-paced. There are lots of very useful gadgets out there and it looks like 2016 might be the year for some of the more advanced technology to enter the mainstream - with the likes of 3D printing and virtual reality set to become the norm,” Stagg said of that particular prediction. As you can see in the list above, 3D printing has been recognized as a more powerful trend than virtual reality technology, fitness trackers and personal digital assistants.

While the coming months will show if Bing is correct, it is obviously a very intriguing prediction as a search engine has access to the right info. If we all search for Budapest hotels, it’s easy to predict what the biggest tourist hotspot will be. While it remains to be seen if all those 3D printer web searches result in actual sales as well, interesting times are obviously ahead of us.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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