TCT @ CES — the conference
International CES is a show unlike any other for the TCT + Personalize team, not just because of the size and scope of the thing, but also the pace, the glitz, the glamour and the casinos. Not that TCT is a stranger to a casino or two, having previously held our post TCT Show events at the Ricoh Arena’s G-Casino… it’s not quite the same as The Bellagio I admit.
Yesterday saw TCT’s inaugural 3D printing conference at CES, and just like the 3D Printing TechZone we’re sponsoring it was massive success. We arrived at the room around 8am to set up the stage, check the sound levels, run AV tests and brief the speakers. Everything was working, the logo was right, the machine with the presentations on was stable and we were set to go.
First we welcomed Avi Reichental of 3D Systems to the stage to kick us off. It was back at Euromold in 2012 that Avi first mentioned to us that CES would be interesting to take a look at. A few hours’ research later and Duncan Wood and I decided it would be prudent to ‘pop’ to Las Vegas in 2013. For 36 hours… We loved what we saw, but wished the 3D printing guys could come together in one place. Our wish was granted, and after some conversations with the surprisingly start-up-like CEA, we were locked in to sponsor the TechZone and run a deploy a conference programme. Welcoming Avi to the stage felt like completing the circle.
Just before the end of the keynote address, I noticed someone ushering me to leave the room. Internally I panicked; what have I done or not done? Thankfully I was led out of the room to be shown the queue that stretched back around the hall in a patiently snaking line. With the 160-seat room at capacity, there was no way the amassed crowds would get to see any of our stellar line up. The solution? Simple, lift the whole conference halfway through the programme and drop it into a bigger room! It’s that sort of agility that makes the CEA a joy to work with.
The bigger room was hastily set up but lacked the logos, the lectern, the speaker seating, the AV setup and the lighting we had in the smaller venue. But — and kudos to the speakers — everyone soldiered on in high spirits as the room continued to fill up to its 320 seat capacity. With hand-held microphones and no sight of their presentations (except for the 16:9 screen behind them displaying their 4:3 slides…) each presenter did their thing and did it well.
In fact the first speaker, Todd Grimm, was happier with the new set up! Anyone that has seen Todd present at TCT (if not, the HD video is here) knows he likes to own the stage, move about and gesticulate animatedly. With his brand of ‘enthusiastic realism’ in full flow, I wondered how the crowd would receive some bitter truths about the 3D printing world. When Todd finished up I asked the crowd for a show of hands: “Who took positives away from Todd’s presentation?” The vast majority did so — mission accomplished!
If Todd was the cautious realist, the next speaker, Jason Lopes, was the unwavering optimist — and with the incredible creations he and his team bring to life it’s not difficult to see why. In Lopesland there is no such thing as ‘we can’t make that’, but there’s a helluva lot of ‘I don’t even know if it’s possible, but we’re going to find a way!’ With the loudspeakers primed Jason took the stage with his trademark relaxed style and intense videos. I’ve seen Jason present all over the US and Europe a number of times, and every time I am in awe of the way traditional craft, artistry and technology are combined to immerse viewers in a world that is both entirely alien and utterly believable. Sitting in Las Vegas watching Jason present is just one of the moments when I realise I love my job!
Following up from Jason is never going to be easy but Under Armour’s Alan Guyan took to the stage with gusto to continue the ‘can do’ theme. Under Armour are a fast-growing sports apparel, shoes and accessories company in which Alan heads a team of designers and engineers that help to produce cutting-edge consumer products. From the recently released Armour 39 to a revolutionary new design for the humble zip, Alan showed how 3D printing was a significant part of how the company continues to fuel it’s incredible growth.
IBM’s Paul Brody was next on stage with a presentation that was as informative as it was entertaining — which is to say, very. Paul presented a paper borne of the research from within the The IBM Institute for Business Value. The paper, entitled Preparing for the disruptive transformation of Electronics design and manufacturing, showed how 3D printing combined with low-cost robotics and open-sourcing of design could revolutionize supply chains across manufacturing in the next couple of decades.
The final speakers in the session, Sculpteo’s Clément Moreau and Mcor’s Conor Macormack, were both talking about consumer access to 3D printing through digital and retail channels respectively — one of the hottest topics at CES this year.
Unfortunately we weren't able to film the sessions (which would have been more AV to move I suppose) but you can still catch the full HD glory of TCT Show + Personalize from September HERE.