This post, written by Connected For Business, originally appeared on Connected For Business and has been republished with permission.
Every January, the massive International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place in Las Vegas. This year broke records, with 170,000 people from around the world attending to find out what’s new in tech.
Technology ranged from gorgeous 4K TVs to wearable devices and drones. But there were two areas in particular that have great promise for the small-business community: 3D printers and high-capacity portable storage.
Many view 3D printing as either a fun novelty technology, or something geared toward large enterprises. But there are practical small-business applications that involve these next-generation devices, which hail from companies such as Ultimaker, Matter and Form and MakerBot.
In fact, a recent Tech Pro Research report indicated that 3D printers are gaining a greater acceptance among small businesses, with almost a third noting they’d consider using one in the next year.
A 3D printer could, for example, be used to create a product prototype so a company has something tangible to show clients, potential investors, retailers or other partners. A three-dimensional product is far more compelling than a simple mockup on paper, and using a 3D printer helps avoid the need to get a costly prototype made at a manufacturing facility.
A builder or architect could use a 3D printer to create a realistic model of a planned building or development. Or, it could be as simple as a restaurant or grocery-store owner creating realistic versions of menu items to help enhance sales and/or experiment with plating. This could help generate greater sales, and reduce food waste.
High-Capacity Portable Storage
These days, talk of storing data typically centres on the cloud. And that’s a good thing – it eliminates the need for expensive servers, hard drives, and remote storage facilities, and reduces the risk of theft, loss or damage. However, there are still some advantages and use cases for a business to store data – from documents to photos, videos and presentations – on a backup drive.
There’s a level of convenience – you can access your files from anywhere in the world, even offline, no internet connection needed. And with the latest drives boasting upwards of 1 TB (terabyte!) of data, running out of space is a highly unlikely scenario. One such option is Samsung’s credit card-sized T1 portable drive. To put this in perspective, a single terabyte can hold up to 17,000 hours of music, 320,000 hi-res digital photos or 1,000 hours of video. Text-based documents? More than you could even imagine.
Plenty of other high-capacity portable drives are available from companies such as Seagate and Toshiba – some even support automatic backups. And they are all getting slimmer and more attractive, making them ideal for slotting into a briefcase when you need to access a big presentation or share some important numbers with a client.