3D printing is just about ready for its close-up. But will brands see it as a marketing opportunity, or a copyright nightmare?
3D printing marketplace Shapeways got a nifty $30 million dollar boost this week, which it'll use to help drive mainstream adoption. Meanwhile, brands and businesses will have to decide how they'll tackle a 3D printed world.
Aside from the near-limitless promotional opportunities, imagine brands and consumers collaborating on customized products that speak to the brand's voice and message and also integrate into consumers' daily lives. One simple example: earlier this year, Nokia released specs for two of its smartphones so designers could create their own customized cases to be printed. That's a real forward-thinking move that can help build long-term brand loyalty.
But there will be bumps on the road to the 3D printing future. For instance, no one really knows how copyright issues will play out. HBO sent a cease-and-desist notice to a designer who'd crafted an iPhone dock based on the Iron Throne from the network's hit, "Game of Thrones." An HBO rep reportedly called it "pretty straightforward intellectual property infringement," but are they missing an opportunity to engage with fans?