Editor's Corner: The day after tomorrow?
Only infrequently does it become possible that dramatic changes are forced upon an industry. I’m not thinking about the kind of change that can result from a recession, the invention of a new retail format, or the movement of manufacturing in search of lower costs. I’m thinking about disruptive change, the type that could make furniture factories and retail stores as we know them obsolete; the kind that could do to furniture manufacturers and retailers what the last 20 years of the 19th Century did to cabinet makers.
It’s not hard to envision a world where advances in potentially disruptive technologies such as 3D printing and virtual reality combine in a sophisticated way to make local manufacturing the norm, reduce the need for large footprint stores, and usher in style and construction innovations that change the nature of furniture design from largely derivative and evolutionary to revolutionary.
Can you imagine:
...salespeople remotely ‘walking’ customers through displays in your virtual store using high resolution virtual reality headsets?
...your design staff remotely showing home furnishings to customers, placed exactly as it will appear in their room setting (scanned automatically in great detail including furnishings they plan to keep in their room) to be viewed from any perspective?
...your design engineers purchasing manufacturing specs from vendors who, instead of manufacturing it themselves will work with your local 3D printing ‘factory’ to manufacture and deliver the goods?
Forward looking companies are keeping track of technologies that may become their reality, tomorrow or maybe the day after.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at email@example.com.
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