This post is the second in my series on Virgin Media Business. The first looked at innovation in Scotland and discussed the company’s Three New Things competition. Now the results of that competition are in and there are winners.
Buffalo Grid gives away large solar-powered charging devices that allow local businesses or entrepreneurs to charge their customer’s smartphones.
CubeSat created a “space resistant” material that can be 3D printed. The result? Much cheaper satellite construction.
Three Over Seven have a smartphone app that lets customers scan their feet and receive a pair of perfectly fitted 3D printed shoes the next day.
Three Over Seven won the votes of the audience of the day and it is one of two companies that use 3D printing.
3D printing is one of my “important things”. The future here is wide open and we’re still to see what 3D printing looks like on a business level and whether it’ll be a thing for consumers. Will we see homes with 3D printers and with their ability to produce functional utilities? The attraction of Three Over Seven’s offering was that it didn’t ask people to try something out of their comfort zone. The system used smartphone apps, which we’re familiar with, to allow 3D printing elsewhere.
Phones are the second of the three important things. Both Buffalo Grid and Three Over Seven make use of mobile phones and in very different ways. What do they have in common? Just how ever present mobiles have become and how important they are now.
Lastly, looking at what Buffalo Grid and CubeSat had in common was infrastructure and flexibility. Innovation that makes the next wave of innovation more likely and easier is top of the pile. This is my third important thing – infrastructure. As it happens this must be an area close to Virgin Media Business’ heart too. This is a company with fibre optics in the ground.
Putting the three important things together paints a picture. We’re creating a landscape with the infrastructure in place to support widespread use of smartphones and allow the next wave of contenders – like 3D printing – to exist.
If you look at what people in the 60s, 1920s or earlier predicted the future would be like you would enjoy a gallery of fun and fanciful ideas. You wouldn’t have seen anyone predict the infrastructure of telecoms or the internet. Infrastructure and communication changes are hard to imagine.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored video post. The video comes from Virgin Media Business but the topic, words, typos and thoughts are all mine.