The Business of Laser Scanning: Where It’s Broken

A 259Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

My crystal ball has a few cracks and smudges, but here’s what I see in the 3d imaging industry today…and tomorrow.

Solutions Looking for Problems
We have too many technologists…and not enough business people. The 3d imaging community is filled with techies who are passionate and create fantastic products, however their humongous blind spot is that they’re not solving problems. They’re focused on improving a process, pushing an application, or integrating new technologies to create something that hasn’t previously existed…but may not have an immediate need. They created a bag of solutions in search of problems. If only they could/would start by saying "This is your problem [insert], and here’s how we solve it." Instead, there’s a lot of, "…think what you could do with ______."

If we could cross pollinate the tech-heads with more entrepreneurs we’d accelerate the integration of new 3d technologies. You’d accelerate growth and adoption as companies would be more bound by business principles rather than cool `what ifs’.

Paranoid End Users
Too much of the early integration in 3d technology has been a race to see who could be the best, only to want to then keep it a secret. There’s far too much old school thinking that you will outperform your competition by keeping your new ideas confidential. We’re in an age where those that educate, share, and actively collaborate are the ones who ultimately succeed. Why? Because they can’t control the spread of information; and ultimately they believe their team will not only outperform the competition, but it will keep them sharper and make them better. [Yes, it’s ultimately about people] It also allows them to develop new ideas and provide impetus for continued growth.

Many businesses create silos that inhibit their organization and don’t allow them to take advantage of new technologies. Many national companies think their competition is another division within their same company and often won’t share best practices. Sucks to be those guys.

Get a Pair
We need more folks out there who are truly committed to the concept of saving money and not saving their job. The adoption of 3d imaging technology–that has been proven many times over–has had a painfully slow implementation. There are too many old guys in the room who are too adverse to change, or too many young guys who can’t articulate the mesh between business objectives and technology. So long as it’s implemented by competent individuals, the integration of 3d imaging technology is literally a double digit savings value proposition.

To that point, let’s look behind the curtain at what 3d imaging is really all about–and put it into one word. Measurement. Our industry provides non-contact, highly accurate, 3d measurement. Our world is built on measurement. So coffee-up and get in the game or risk your obsolescence.

"I See Dead People"
There is nothing more frustrating than those that self-promote and look down their noses at everyone else in the room. There’s a handful of VDC/BIM proponents who think because they can speak industry jargon, or understand how to create a Revit model, believe they’re experts in 3d imaging. Newsflash–the end will come because as the adoption of 3d technologies becomes more mainstream, they’ll have more competition with people who are competent. It will be harder for them to hide their deficiencies because their management will see through them.

Owners…Still King!
Just about all we do in the A/E/C world can be driven back to the life-spring of our business…CASH. The owners make us jump through hoops because they’re the ones feeding us. So, as it relates to the integration of new 3d technology, we are ultimately at their mercy. Extrapolating that concept, when the owners realize their project can be `built right the first time’ instead building it "close enough" the game will change.

We provide an extraordinary value in the QA/QC process and as such 3d measurement technology will be required throughout the construction/renovation. The savings potential on labor and materials will be too large to ignore. And the focus of our business will shift from providing accurate as-built information (reactive), to an upfront incorporation (proactive) workflow. But the owners haven’t figured that out… yet.

Ken Smerz is the President of Eco3d ( Comments are encouraged at or on Twitter @KenSmerz.

A 259Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE