When I read this article, it sounded eerily familiar. Traditional IT approaches require a long lead time in terms of design, development, change management and deployment to bring a new application to life. The ultimate purpose of the application is to provide business functionality. If it were possible to build low cost prototypes, or even better, build and retire functionality it would be equivalent to the “additive manufacturing” phenomenon in manufacturing.
Of course, in IT we have the cloud based approach to pay-per-use infrastructure (IaaS). We have pay-per-use functionality in terms of hosted applications (SaaS). We also have pay-per-use platforms for hosting complex applications (PaaS). In this context manufacturing appears to have found its own “Cloud” and the advantages stemming from this change will be nothing short of world changing.
NOTE: All credit for the opinion piece on 3D Manufacturing are given to The Economist.