Categories
Finance and Law

U.S. Immigration Policy is an Obstacle for Foreign Entrepreneurs

americanflagSince 9/11, U.S. immigration policy has experienced increased restrictions for foreign people entering the country compared to the past. Tighter security measures have taken place including fingerprinting, background checks and in-person interviews at consulates and embassies for visas. Although unlikely, immigration DNA testing can be a requirement in the future.

MIT’s Entrepreneurship Students

From a Forbes magazine column, Bill Aulet and Matt Marx teach an introductory entrepreneurship class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT. Both instructors envision a graduating class of American entrepreneurs. However, most of the students are foreigners with student visas. Thus, many MIT entrepreneurial students lack visas to work in the United States because they are not US citizens or permanent residents. Unfortunately, foreign MIT students are leaving entrepreneurship classes with academic insight rather than applying what they learn to the real world.

Work visas, especially the H-1B, are a sponsorship from companies to employ foreigners for open positions. Thus, Aulet and Marx argue that the current immigration policy does not support entrepreneurship for foreigners. Not to mention, foreigners cannot have majority shareholder rights in a U.S.-based company even if it employs 25 or more employees.

Aulet and Marx mention that Australia, Singapore and Canada have more welcoming immigration policies for entrepreneurs than the United States. Thus, Aulet and Marx are arguing that the United States needs to change and improve the immigration policy.

Three Suggestions to Alter the U.S. Immigration Policy and Sentiment

Based on their expertise on entrepreneurship, Aulet and Marx suggest three facets to change the U.S. immigration policy.

First, an entrepreneur visa, such as an EB-1 status, should be created as foreigners have innovative ideas and education to establish new businesses. Currently, the United States has a similar visa for scientists. Aulet and Marx refer to the UK’s recent creation of a visa for entrepreneurs as an example of what the U.S. should do to attract immigrants.

Secondly, the U.S. approach to immigrants should be welcoming rather than alienating them. Due to fingerprinting and background checks, foreigners may feel themselves being treated as crime suspects.

Finally, Aulet and Marx infer to the drastic nature of start-ups. Thus, both professors argue that the immigration policy should consider the needs of entrepreneurs by reducing bureaucracy.

Thus, Aulet and Marx prefer immigration as a tool to promote entrepreneurship, which will result in economic growth and new jobs in the United States.

Immigration is a Long, Complex Process

Due to bureaucracy, immigrant entrepreneurs will be required to submit various documents. Sometimes documents can be lost along the way, which can cause legal issues including overstaying and deportation. Additionally, visa status changes can be difficult due to different paperwork. Thus, immigration lawyers are around to help foreigners with visa and other issues.

Categories
Business and EDU Real Estate

Innovative Solutions for Office Storage

When it comes to storing things, offices can become cluttered messy and unorganised very quickly. Admittedly, much of this is down to the individual(s) in charge of storing things, but quite often, part of the reason things get so hectic is due to a lack of proper storage space.

We take a look at some of the most innovative solutions available to help create the right kind of storage for your office.

Growing Businesses

If your business is growing, it is likely that there will be a lot of paperwork coming and going and it all needs places to be kept. The more your business expands, the more things you’ll need to find space for. You may find yourself spontaneously buying extra storage units and adding them into the office space as and when without properly thinking about how it will fit into the layout as a whole.

However, as things progress and more and more impromptu or hurried storage solutions are found, an office can very quickly become cluttered and messy. Not only does this mean that finding the right file can be a nightmare, but it also creates a stress-inducing environment, to the detriment of your workforce.

Finding innovative solutions for office space is hard to do.
Finding innovative solutions for office space is hard to do.

Finding Long-Term Solutions

As such, it can really be worth re-thinking your storage solutions and investing in a new and innovative alternative that will benefit your office.

This article shall consider two office storage solutions that can drastically improve the organisation of your office and the way in which things are stored.

Storage Walls

A new means of storing items which is enjoying increasing popularity is the use of a storage wall.

A storage wall consists of multiple storage spaces that come together as one unit that dominates the entirety of a wall; imagine numerous filing cabinets side by side that reach right up to the ceiling. The installation requires that you sacrifice the floor space of the office along one wall of the room, but it gives you the optimum storage space.

Your first thoughts regarding a storage wall might be negative. Not only have you taken out the use of a whole wall, but you can also stand to lose a couple of feet off the room. Admittedly, if your office floor-space is already somewhat pressed, maybe a storage wall isn’t for you. However, if you can imagine taking your existing storage units and putting them all against the one wall side by side, it’s easy to see how it optimises the space available.

A storage wall first and foremost consolidates your storage space into the one location. If it’s not in the drawer you thought it was in, at least you needn’t search all over the office for it, it’ll be somewhere in the storage wall.

But the most important feature of a storage wall is the total efficiency in storage space it presents. Not only do you have the benefit of having all of your storage units stacked side by side (as a single unit, the dividing walls between storage spaces can afford to be thinner too, giving you more space), but a storage wall reaches right up to the ceiling, giving you the best use of available space in the room.

Another significant advantage of a storage wall is that it looks a lot neater than other options, talk to a company like Storage Aspects to discuss your options. Storage walls are specifically designed to look like just that… walls. Instead of looking like a stack of shelves or a row of filing cabinets, a storage wall looks just like another wall, giving your office a slick and organised aesthetic. This is perfect for offices with notoriously poor filing methods; even if the filing looks horrible, it’s hidden away in the storage wall and won’t negatively affect the workspace environment or people’s moods.

Roller Racking Shelving

Roller rack shelving is an innovative and somewhat genius means of storing items in an office.

The shelving in a typical library makes great use of height and is very easily accessible from both sides. However, it is somewhat flawed in that the access ‘corridors’ required on both sides take up a lot of floor room leading to an inefficient means of making use of potential storage space in the room.

Roller racking takes this basic model of shelves that are accessible from both sides and minimises the need for access corridors by putting the shelves on a raised fake floor and rollers. This means you can move the shelves around at will, creating a viable access corridor when you need it to the particular shelf you need to get to, while ensuring the other unused shelves are making the most efficient use of available storage space.

Having space like this can make life easier.
Having space like this can make life easier.

In this way, roller rack shelving can be more than twice as efficient at making the best use of available storage space than a conventional shelving layout, while still providing you with all the benefits of ease of access found in a conventional shelving layout.

Conclusion

This article has considered storage walls and roller racking as two brilliant innovative storage solutions that can really benefit your office space. Whether or not you choose either of these two options or another choice entirely, finding a new and innovative means of making the most effective use of available storage space really is a worthwhile endeavour .

 

Image credits: BrennanMKE and Josh and Melanie Rosenthal

Categories
Business and EDU

How to set up a registered office

This article is provided for general information and can’t be relied upon without legal/professional advice where required. 

When you run your own business, you may not always need an office in which to greet customers. With advancements in technology, an increasing number of individuals conduct their transactions online, meaning they may never actually need a physical meeting. Or if the business in question provides a service, all meetings may be carried out on the customer’s premises.

Whatever the circumstances of the company, not all businesses have a need for commercial premises and keeping one simply for appearances is not an economically viable option for most. This leaves the alternative of broadcasting your home address, an idea which may not be the most desirable or indeed practical in many cases.

However, there is another possible solution: setting up a registered office in another location by using the services offered by a professional corporate secretarial solutions firm.

If this isn’t something you have considered before, here’s the rundown about how it works and what you would need to do to set one up.

How it works

Every limited company requires a registered address but even in cases where there are other premises being used for commercial purposes; the registered address is not always the same location as where the main trading takes place.

A registered address is also known as the legal address, and is the place which will be listed in Companies House and also used by HMRC for all communication.

There are companies who offer the use of their own premises as a registered address which not only provides a professional location – often city centre – but also ensures that the individual is able to keep their own personal details private.

Any customer visiting the registered address will find a plaque with your company’s name and logo clearly displayed in the lobby and they will be able to leave correspondence should they wish to do so. Any letters or mail received at this address can either be forwarded or you can go and collect it as and when convenient.

There is no legal requirement for you to conduct any of your business at these premises; registered addresses frequently are used for administration purposes only.

Setting up a business from your own home is an increasingly popular option but it's easy to look amateurish unless you take steps to polish your image such as having a swish registered address
Setting up a business from your own home is an increasingly popular option but it’s easy to look amateurish unless you take steps to polish your image such as having a swish registered address

The benefits

If you are considering using a registered address service, it’s worth considering the benefits if you are wondering whether it is a worthwhile idea.

If you work from home, or use your own house as a base, the chances are that at present your business post will be delivered there too. Sifting through the mail every day to spot your gas bill or other important domestic correspondence can be inconvenient and time-consuming but if you don’t have separate trading premises this may well be your only option unless you set up a registered address.

Whilst the majority of your customers will undoubtedly be satisfied with your work, if you do encounter a problem with any individual, it isn’t necessarily a good idea for them to have access to your home address. And even if there isn’t an issue, being forced to release your personal details means you could end up with customers knocking on your door any time, night or day.

In addition, if you are looking to build on your reputation and secure more business and contracts, holding a prestigious address as a registered office can really enhance your image. You can use the registered address on business cards and letterheads, helping to create an impression of a professional and successful enterprise.

At the end of a long day you might be looking forward to a nice glass of wine and putting your feet up in front of the TV – do you really want to chance a customer knocking on your front door?
At the end of a long day you might be looking forward to a nice glass of wine and putting your feet up in front of the TV – do you really want to chance a customer knocking on your front door?

How to set-up a registered address

Setting up a registered address using the services provided by a professional company is surprisingly easy, http://www.elementalcosec.com/ are a good example.

The most important thing is to ensure you select a company which provides a cost-effective service which is fully inclusive and helps to carve your reputation as a top quality business. Check carefully what is offered for the price and whether there will be any separate costs for forwarding your mail. Not all packages include the right to use the address on correspondence or in contracts so again this is worth asking about before signing on the dotted line.

Once the address is set up, it shouldn’t impact on your trading in any way, other than to arrange the collection or forwarding of your mail. You will need to provide the company with your trading name and logo so it can be displayed at the location. You should also set aside some time to update your letterheads, business cards and email correspondence to reflect your new address.

Conclusion

Regardless of the size of your company, you will undoubtedly want to appear to be professional, polished and proficient and holding a registered office in a plush location can help to create a real veneer of respectability. Protecting your own privacy as well as the practical benefits of having your mail sorted separately mean that there really is only one question about setting up a registered office: how soon will you do it?

 

Image credits: edgeplot and jypsygen

Categories
Business and EDU

Footfall Analysis – Real Time People Counting

One of the ways in which retail outlets assess the success of their operations – and particularly of their marketing output – is through the use of footfall analysis. In simple terms, footfall is the number of people who visit a store and walk around it. Footfall delivers buyers to products. It is then the job of the store itself to complete the loop and ensure as many people as possible walk away with a purchase.

How many people are coming through your doors?
How many people are coming through your doors?

There are a number of ways in which footfall analysis can help retailers better understand their customers and convert information into sales. Let us take you through how the technology works and how it can be used in practice.

Head counts

There are some very simple ways in which people who come and go from premises can be counted. Anyone who’s been to a busy pub or bar will be familiar with the hand-held counters that click every time someone crosses the threshold. However these days, picking up how many punters pass through retail outlets is a considerably more high-tech business. Cameras, infra-red beams and pressure sensitive mats can all be used to capture data and all come with different advantages and disadvantages.

With the introduction of CCTV in many stores has come the opportunity to get people counting cameras. The two main types of camera that can collect automated data on the number of people coming and going from a store are stereoscopic and thermal cameras.

Both of these types of camera offer the opportunity to keep track of people crossing in both directions over a selected spot in the store. While Stereoscopic cameras give retailers the chance to look at 3D images showing details such as whether or not people took a shopping trolley or how many visitors were adults or children. Thermal cameras allow users to pick up footfall hotspots so they can concentrate on what might be drawing people to that area of the store.

The eye in the sky can tell a story about numbers
The eye in the sky can tell a story about numbers

Laser technology can be used to detect when someone crosses the entrance to a store in either direction. Laser cameras have the advantage of differentiating people walking together where thermal and stereoscopic cameras might miss.

Conversion rates

One of the benefits of knowing retail footfall is in understanding how many people who visit go on to buy products. Whether a company’s sales are rising or falling, it can be helpful to know if the same numbers of people are buying a greater or fewer products or if there has been a change in the number of people visiting and the conversion of those visits to sales.

Footfall is an important part of the toolkit to assess the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Following a marketing campaign of any description, whether it’s advertising or direct marketing, footfall following the launch can be a major indicator of success.

Many retailers find that in addition to assessing the purchasing behaviour of the people who visit their stores, analysing footfall in terms of times of day and areas of the store can help them to effectively deploy their workforce. If footfall analysis finds that one area of a store tends to be busier than others or if certain times bring rushes of customers and helps companies to plan accordingly. Maintenance and cleaning can be planned at times that are typically quiet and more staff put on cashier duty when demand is high.

Conclusion

Retail Footfall technology offers retailers highly accurate methods of counting the number of customers and potential customers that pass through their stores. With the data, a range of analyses can be carried out that help retailers understand the effectiveness of their operations and alter the way they deliver their business to turn more of the people they get through the doors into paying customers.

 

 

Image Credits: Martin.Mutch and twicepix

Categories
Business and EDU

Promotional Sports Bottles: Market Your Brand On A Budget

Use promotional sports bottles to quench your company’s thirst for visibility. Promotional bottles come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and they’re quite affordable. These qualities make them ideal for drawing interest in your brand when you’re on a tight budget.

One important characteristic every promotional item should have is usefulness. For people to recognize and be familiar with your brand, they must use the promotional giveaway often. Water bottles fit the bill nicely, since people carry them wherever they go. Once they do, they’ll be carrying your brand right along with them. Give promotional sports bottles away at sporting events, so patrons will use them to quench their thirst.

The bottles themselves are available in a wide variety of materials including plastic, acrylic, polycarbonate and metal. Every different type of material has advantages and disadvantages that you can consider before you purchase. The type of material also affects the usage of the bottle. In general, you’ll want to choose a bottle that people will use often and sport bottles are especially made for everyday use.

Water bottles are generally not very expensive. But to save even more money, purchase the bottles on bulk so you’ll get them at wholesale prices or less. The more you purchase the more you save. It pays to purchase all the bottles you’ll need for a year’s promotion at one time, so you’ll get the best price possible.

Here’s an example of how to save. Your financial department allocates a budget of $4,000 for your marketing department. The marketing department in turn decides to use a quarter of that budget on promotional items. They decide to get 500 bottles for general promotions and another 500 for a trade show later on in the year. The best course of action is to purchase 1000 bottles at once, even though you’ll reserve half for the event later in the year. By doing this, your company will get the best pricing on the bottles and save money that can be used to purchase more promotional items.

Promotional bottles are not expensive or difficult to distribute. You can give them out at trade shows, fairs and sporting events. So there’s no real cost to distributing them and getting the exposure you’re your company needs. To have an even greater impact, you can give it as a charitable donation and get some publicity in your local media. You can also sponsor a team by providing the promotional water bottles and water to fill it at a public event.

 Once the event is over, you can send out a series of press releases to highlight your company’s involvement in the sporting or charitable event. This will provide even more coverage and visibility for your company.

Author Bio

Amber Lee is a cooking enthusiast, musician and avid sci-fi fan. With a history of helping clients reach success in business, Amber utilizes LovePromos for promotional items and Camelbak water bottles. Follow Amber on Twitter at Twitter at @cosmiclee.

Categories
Career Entertainment

Five Steps to Becoming a Professional DJ

A career as a professional DJ is both rewarding and exciting for anyone interested in the music industry. It allows you to be creative, social, and unique. If you are interested in pursuing this career path you will find these steps highly useful.

Professional DJ

Decide the type of DJ You Will Be

The first step in becoming a DJ is to decide what kind that you want to be. There are many types of DJ’s who focus on one specialty area. For example, some professionals choose to strictly perform at personal parties, such as birthdays. Others choose to pursue working in a club environment.

Purchase Your Gear

After you have chosen your focus area your next step is to purchase your gear. Some venues may provide you with pro audio equipment and professional audio systems. Even if they have equipment for you, you should invest in your own. Having your own equipment will open employment options for you and eliminate the need to rely on others. You will also need a professional mixing laptop.

Master the Equipment

The third step in establishing your career is to learn and master studio equipment. More specifically, you should focus on studio software and mixing programs. These programs will help improve the quality of your sound. Experiment with the software to find which controls you find most useful for your style. Most of these programs offer live looping, scratching, and delays and reverbs which will prove useful on stage.

Prepare Portfolio

The fourth step in becoming a DJ is to prepare your music portfolio. Not all DJ’s maintain one, but it will set you apart from the crowd and increase your level of professionalism. Having a portfolio will also make attaining work easier because it gives clients a chance to experience your talent. Include your best performances and tracks. Focus on your specific genre if you already have a niche. You can create an online portfolio or create demos that you bring with you when meeting with potential clients.

Networking

The last step in establishing yourself as a professional is networking. Networking involves using social media websites, attending events, and meeting new people. You never know who could become your next client. Put yourself and your skills out in the world. Try making a Facebook page and a website for starters.

DJ’s enjoy a creative career that is full of freedom. You can travel, set your own hours and meet new people. You do not need a degree to become a DJ, but you do need some guidance. Djing is a competitive career. If it is your dream, do not give up. Use these steps to help you get started

Categories
Business and EDU Career

How to Make Employers Want You

The fact that you have got this far tells you that there is something the company likes about you. This is a useful place to start when it comes to planning how to play a second interview. What they like about you is what you need to keep the interview focused upon. Conversely, anything that could give the company cause for second thoughts (a weak area), needs to be scrupulously avoided.

Keeping the engagement factors working
Remember that an important part of the strategy of taking control and steering applications to successful outcomes is to encourage a bond to develop between you and your prospective employer – a bond that:

  • Grows stronger as the selection process moves forward
  • Enhances your chances of becoming the preferred candidate at the end

Why you got on the short-list
Usually there are a few clues to why an employer decides to ask you back for a second interview. The way the discussion went at the first interview, where interest was shown in specific areas of your portfolio and what questions were asked are all useful pointers to where the focus of interest in you lies. Coupled with which, you will already have a few insights into what qualities the employer is looking for -insights gained, for example, from reading the advertisement for accounting jobs or from information passed on to you by people, such as consultants.

Getting feedback from consultants
If consultants have had a hand in putting you forward for a job, they are a very useful source of post-interview feedback. They will make it their business to contact the employer soon after first interviews to find out how you got on. If the verdict on you is favourable, the employer will usually tell the consultants what they found good about your application. This can then be passed on to you.

What distances you from the rest
Except by chance or if some selection method based on group interaction is used, it is unlikely you will ever get much insight into the calibre of the other candidates. Whether the competition you are up against is tough, feeble or somewhere in the middle is, in most cases, something you will only be able to speculate about. Given, however, that final selection decisions are often made on very fine distinctions between candidates, clearly it would be helpful to you to have some idea of where you may have an advantage over the others before your second interview.

How do you get such information?
Needless to say you cannot obtain information on other candidates, but you can make some intelligent guesses. For example, if you have been in the trade for the last 20 years, it is a safe bet that you will rate highly against the other candidates when it comes to having contacts and knowing your way round. During the second interview you can make sure:

– These facts do not go unnoticed
– You tell the interviewer how you see your trade experience as an important asset to you if you should be fortunate enough to get the job, i.e. plant the idea in their head that trade experience should rank highly on the list of selection criteria

Stan Waldorf is a career consultant in Sydney. He conducts resume workshops yearly and has helped hundreds get into accounting jobs.

Categories
Business and EDU

McDonalds, Babies and DNA

mcdonaldsWhat do paternity tests uk, prenatal paternity testing uk and the McDonald’s restaurants in Sidney Australia have in common?

The answer is they all use DNA, and forensic science techniques to link people to events.

Most of us are aware of how DNA is extracted, tested and analyzed to determine the father of a born or unborn child. Tests of this kind are a common occurrence today. They are used in legal and child custody and support cases throughout the world.

But, have you ever heard of using DNA to track down thieves who rob a McDonald’s?

Well, that is exactly what McDonalds is doing with the help of SelectaDNA. SelectaDNA is a British security firm. They have devised a clever technology that automatically sprays a harmless, DNA coded solution directly on thieves as they scramble out the door of their fast food restaurants.

It seems that several of the McDonald’s locations in Sidney have experienced a rash of robberies over the recent Christmas and New Year holidays. Their security concerns lead them to conduct a trial of the SelectaDNA technology at six of their busiest Sidney restaurants. McDonald’s says that the trials were successful and will begin installing the SelectaDNA technology at more locations across Australia.

SelectaDNA introduced their “Intruder Spray” solution in 2008. The solution contains a unique DNA code and UV tracer. Once sprayed on an intruder, it provides an irrefutable link to the crime scene. A sample of the solution as small as the top of a pin is all SelectaDNA needs to link the suspect to the scene of the theft.

The release of the “Intruder Spray” can be integrated with existing security systems. So once an intrusion is detected, the solution can be sprayed at the appropriate time and location. The solution is too small to be seen and will remain on the intruder for several weeks.

The solution clings clothing fibers and creases in the skin. Despite multiple washings, the spray remains for up to six months. The spray remains indefinitely on items such as hats, bags and weapons.

Because of the UV in the solution, the police are able to detect the SelectaDNA solution by using a UV torch. Under UV light, the spray emits a bright blue glow. The police send a sample of the spray to SelectaDNA for a DNA analysis.

SelectaDNA claims that with the installation of this advanced security system, they are able to deter thefts and burglaries significantly. They also provide the forensic evidence that law enforcement needs to link the suspect with the crime scene.

It seems ironic that human DNA is normally left at the scene of an incident. However, with the SelectaDNA technology the suspect takes the synthetic DNA with them.

The great news is that either way we have the scientific tools that provides the linkage and connects the dots.

Image Credit: _skynet

Categories
Business and EDU Finance and Law

Kodak’s Bankruptcy a Boom for Lawyers and Maybe a Bust for Retirees

KodakIt has now been exactly one year since the once venerable blue chip company Eastman Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its legal bills thus far have been $125 million and represent a profitable source of revenue for law firms involved in the proceedings. The Chapter 11 process can be very expensive given the size of the company and its operations and with Eastman Kodak being a multinational corporation, it is reasonable to expect the bankruptcy to cost even more.

The amount of money Kodak is paying out to various legal firms to handle the myriad of fees is dizzying but it should be noted what is not being discussed openly is the proverbial “800-lb elephant in the room” which is retiree pension and health care. At the outset of the bankruptcy proceeding, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued a statement that the Kodak’s pension was 86% funded which is relative good for company’s declaring bankruptcy. The PBGC also stated it had been assigned by the court to the Kodak creditors’ committee to watch over benefits. However, retiree benefit payouts totaled $119 million in 2011 and were the largest drain on Kodak’s cash in the year leading up to their bankruptcy filing. Given that Kodak’s 2012 legal fees exceeded their 2011 retiree benefit payouts, it is quite reasonable to expect the bankruptcy procedure to scale back the increasing pension costs as they have for other companies which have declared bankruptcy such as Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines. The inescapable fact is that every dollar handed to an attorney by Kodak is one less dollar available to fully satisfy their debt obligations to creditors.

So who are among the 21 legal firms adding up the billable hours? Let’s review that.

  • The reputable New York City Firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is representing Kodak for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Their bills year to date are $22 million or just over 17% of Kodak’s legal expenses.
  • The creditors’ committee has billed $3.2 million from the likes of from Segal Company for actuarial services, Zolfo Cooper LLC for financial advising, and the firms Arent Fox LLP and Haskell, Slaughter, Young & Rediker LLC for legal services.
  • The court appointed fee examiner of Luskin Stern & Eisler LLP has billed $225,000 for their services.
  • Ernst & Young is providing financial consulting and have billed in excess of $13 million.

The purpose of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is for an entity to seek protection from its creditors with the objective of reemerging a healthy and viable entity, which is a lot different from a chapter 7 bankruptcy NJ. For a complex multinational corporation such as Kodak, how well they emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy will depend on the quality of legal services they receive now. Kodak has retained the best firms in this regard and they best firms are never the cheapest ones.

Derek is currently blogging for a corporate conference call company.

Image Credit: B.Boyds

Categories
Technology

3D Printing Now Available for Consumers

3d printingDue to recent innovations by some companies including Staples.com, 3D printing is quickly becoming available to consumers. Some retail services and online outlets are accepting orders for 3D printing jobs that are uploaded from home computers for interested consumers who lack the funds to purchase their own 3D printers. As with most advancing waves of online technology, much of the impetus for this idea has come from Internet Angel Investors and other forward thinking entrepreneurs.

3D Printing for the Home Consumer

The personal market for 3D printing is a small but growing concern thanks to the innovation of some new online companies and specialty shops as well as recent developments in scanning software. For example, applications can be downloaded to a PC that will combine photos of a customer’s face into a 3D composite that can then be printed as a small bust or a relief sculpture which can be placed on a coffee mug. In Long Island City, New York, there is a company called Direct Dimensions that will turn full body scans of buyers into an “action figure” of themselves, or of their pets. An imaginative New York City company called the New York Toy Collective will, for about $250, scan and print life-sized copies of consumers’ private parts for the manufacture of some very personalized sex toys.

Overall Market

Consumer orders are still a very small portion of the overall 3D printing market, making up only about 10% of what is largely a process used for manufacturing, scientific, and medical applications. In fact, most consumer demand for 3D printing is relegated to novelty items and replacement parts for small machinery. There are a small number of hobbyists who are able to purchase a pricey 3D printer for their own projects, but 3D printing is still far from being a mainstream market. This will no doubt change as more Internet Angel Investors get into the action, and due to consumer interface innovations like the new Staples.com 3D printing service that will be available in the U.S. this year.

The Future

3D printing is not really a new technology, having been around since the early 1990’s. It began as a simple method of printing layers of plastic into shapes in the same way that a traditional printer puts out a layer of ink. 3D printing technology has progressed to the ability to print out entire houses, and the first automobile created entirely from 3D printing was made in 2011. Medical technology has used 3D printing to create prosthetic limbs, internal organs, and even blood vessels. Future uses of 3D printing for the home consumer are still being explored, but one useful application will certainly be the ability for users to print their own common prescription medicines.

Derek is currently blogging for a company that sells 48v switching power supply.

Image Credit: hslphotosync