How is 3D Printing Impacting IT in 2016?
After years of anticipation, speculation, and steady evolution, many experts predict that 2016 will be the year that 3D printing finally enters the mainstream. That means that offices large and small across industries will start to integrate 3D printing into their operations. Considering the technical nature of 3D printing, it’s important to consider the kind of impact this new resource will have on IT, particularly on the professionals tasked with managing it.
Increased Availability of 3D printers
The cost of 3D printers is dropping fast. And while it’s falling, the qualities and capabilities are rising at the same rate. That means IT departments that want to make use of 3D printers can do so in a cost-effective way. Potential applications range from printing something as simple as a broken clasp to something as complex as an internal hardware component.
Growing Implementation of 3D Printers
As 3D printing increasingly becomes a feature of all departments and processes, it will add a significant new technical layer to existing IT infrastructures. The implications of this are wide spread and still evolving, but what is clear is that IT professionals will have to begin accounting for a significant new piece of hardware, and a significant new demand for power, storage, and processing power.
New Demands for Staff and Expertise
Companies and industries that are particularly reliant on 3D printing will likely need to add staff and introduce expertise if they are going to mitigate the IT challenges. Some of this staff will need to be focused on the technical challenges of 3D printing specifically, but others will be needed to monitor and manage its impact on broader networks.
Changing Expectations for Speed and Efficiency
3D printing is not just a flashy new technology. It’s a way for companies to cut costs and introduce new benchmarks for speed and efficiency into their operations. As those gains begin to be felt, expect similar expectations to develop for other technical processes. IT professionals may have to develop radical new ways of doing things that reflect the on-demand, waste-free nature of 3D printing.
Evolving Security Concerns
As with any disruptive technology, 3D printing creates new security concerns and remains largely unsecured by broader IT standards. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand why this hardware and the information it processes would be an appealing target for hackers. IT professionals will need to take serous steps to ensure priceless intellectual property does not fall into the wrong hands.
The potential of 3D printing is such that the onslaught of the technology is all but certain. The best IT departments will start planning for this change now before the first print jobs get processed. If that means making adjustments to your IT team, contact TekPartners today.