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  The American Surveyor     

3D Laser Scanning Market Expected to Double in Size by 2015 Print E-mail
Written by ARC Advisory Group   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The 3D Laser Scanning market including hardware, software, and services is rather dynamic with major segments experiencing rapid product innovation. The market contains exceptional opportunities with rapid forecasted growth driven by both replacing older mechanical methods, and by improved work flow with lower overall project costs which enables more projects. For the forecast period, the market is forecasted to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

3D Laser Scanning Systems Business3D laser scanning equipment senses the shape of an object and collects data for the location of the outer surface. This distinct technology has found applications in many industries including discrete and process manufacturing, utilities, construction, archaeology, law enforcement, government, and entertainment.

“3D laser scanning is an exceptionally dynamic market. Technology advances in the areas of workflow, software, and ease-of-use are rapidly expanding the applications for it,” according to Research Director Ralph Rio, the principal author of ARC’s “3D Laser Scanning Worldwide Outlook”. Ralph continued, “One example is the increase in computational horsepower and memory size with 64-bit computing which supports using a massive point cloud rather than smaller segments. This is just one of many areas providing a huge improvement in productivity and lower overall project cost.”

Higher Productivity Drives Market Growth
A 3D laser scanning project involves several areas of cost which correspond to the phases of a surveying or metrology project. The costs include the scanning equipment, labor to execute the scan, and post processing. Improvements in software and workflow processing have significantly reduced the labor costs, particularly for post processing. As the total project cost decline, more projects move above the line for justification and execution. Just like economics 101 — as costs decline, volume increases. The increased volume drives the purchase of additional scanning hardware and software which contributes to a growing market.

Shorter Range Market Segment Is Strongest
The 3D laser scanning market has sub-segments that coalesce around technical capability, corresponding applications, and distinct suppliers. There are three market sub-segments based on range (distance) for the laser scan. They are:
• Short Range: usually under a meter
• Medium Range: typical application of under 50 meters
• Long Range: typically up to two kilometers

The segment for short range equipment and software is experiencing both rapid technological innovation and revenue growth. In the medium range sub-segment, the hardware is more stable with software providing increasing value-added business benefits. The long range sub-segment has some very interesting application areas, but has relatively expensive equipment.

Software Innovation Is Accelerating
The software applications available for converting the point cloud dots into more useable information within a design authoring software program have high value to the end user. They provide the link between the laser scanning instrument and usable information. This area of software is rapidly evolving with improved functionality and, in a way, intelligence.

ARC Advisory Group helps clients get value from technology investments. For more information on this study, visit our Market Research section.

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