Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

November 11, 2014
Going Vertical

November 4, 2014
A New Wearables Forecast

October 28, 2014
The Next Evolution for Wearables: Business

October 21, 2014
Size Does Matter...When it Comes to Screens

October 14, 2014
Insider Extra: Does Windows Stand a Chance With Enterprise Mobile Apps?

October 14, 2014
Does Big Data Equal Big Brother?

October 7, 2014
Is Windows Still Relevant?

September 30, 2014
Tablet and Smartphone Futures: Specialization

September 23, 2014
Is the App Ecosystem Sustainable?

September 16, 2014
The Wearable-Identity Connection

September 9, 2014
The Password Dilemma

September 8, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk--Driving Flash Forward

September 2, 2014
Smart Connected Devices: A New Forecast

August 26, 2014
Phablets—aka Pocket Computers—Drive New World Order

August 19, 2014
Device Usage Diversity

August 12, 2014
New Life for the PC

August 5, 2014
Hot Items for the Holidays: Large Phones, Notebooks and Smart TVs

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

November 18, 2014
Making Makers Mainstream

The maker movement—that group of innovative folks who like to build or customize everything from musical instruments to 3D printed electric cars—has never been a mainstream phenomenon. Nor has it been something that’s been a threat to most businesses. Generally speaking, it’s been about passionate hobbyists having fun building things they enjoy and leveraging all the amazing technological tools they have at their disposal.
What has started to happen recently, however, is a series of innovations across a wide range of technical, social, and even business-related areas that I believe will set the stage for a potential explosion in completely new kinds of products and maker-driven companies over the next few years.

At a technical level, you’ve got things like low-cost 3D printing, single-board computers (a la Raspberry Pi and Intel Galileo), drones, sensors, easy-to-use programming languages, and even companies building low-cost circuit board printers. In fact, Raspberry Pi recently announced they expect to ship their four millionth board by the end of this year.

On the “social” front, there’s the enormous growth in popularity of things like the MakerFaire (over 130,000 people attended the last San Francisco Bay Area event and 1.5 million have been at Maker Faires around the world), where people are getting introduced to these new ideas. In schools, competitions like the robotics-focused FIRST events have become very popular. There’s also the growing success of maker-inspired toys, like Lego Mindstorms. Finally, the new workforce generation—the millennials—are showing strong interest in working for themselves and on their own terms. These maker-inspired companies are likely a perfect match for many of these new workers.

On the business side, we’ve seen the development of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which allow individuals or very-small companies to get funding to develop their products/ideas in very effective ways. Alongside this, we’re seeing increasing consumer interest in specialization and personalization across many different types of devices—a perfect fit for makers who can succeed by focusing on specialization. On the marketing side, the innovative use of social media is completely redefining how products and ideas are coming to market, enabling very low-cost ways to quickly and effectively reach wide-scale audiences. Finally, given the widespread acceptance of e-commerce, it’s very easy for individuals and small companies to sell directly to their end customers without having to worry about the hassles of distribution, retail storefronts, etc.

Put all these things together and it’s hard not to imagine that we are poised for some truly revolutionary new products and new companies, all of which will be able to trace their roots back to the maker movement. Now, you could argue that many of these capabilities have been around for some time. While that may be true to some degree, each of these three areas—technical, social and business—have evolved significantly over the last few years. As a result, the level of sophistication and reach that’s now possible for these kinds of concepts easily moves this from being an interesting hobby to some incredible new businesses. Want to design and burn your own custom ASIC, place it on a custom printed circuit board, program it, and then house it in a 3D-printed enclosure of your own making? No problem…

We’ve come a long way from simple weekend soldering projects. The fact that you can now come up with an idea for almost anything and then go create it shows you how far this movement has come. In fact, we’re even seeing the creation of businesses, like TechShop, that are allowing people to prototype or build their own device ideas by giving them access to a range of sophisticated tools including 3D printers, machine shops, wood shops, and more, without having to make the substantial investment this would otherwise require.
I hate to sound clichéd, but the possibilities with makers are truly limitless. It’s exciting just to think about it, and it’s going to be even more exciting to experience the fruits of their efforts. As the makers start to move mainstream, they will completely transform businesses in all types of industries. It’s going to be incredibly fun to watch.

Here's a link to the original column:

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