About 18-months ago, I was introduced to a company working in the Pay-TV sector. Given that I am a 3D printing consultant, this did seem a little strange at the time. However, over the last 18-months, I have come to understand why the guys at Viaccess-Orca (VO) wanted my help.
For those not familiar with VO, let me enlighten you. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of global telecoms giant Orange. It has been providing the secure digital infrastructure needed to deliver TV, film, and media into the homes of millions of global subscribers for over 20-years. So what does Pay-TV have to do with Additive Manufacturing (AM)?
Surprisingly, there are a lot of similarities. Or should I say, ‘in the future’, there will be a lot of similarities!
Let me explain.
The digital infrastructure behind Pay-TV is there for the benefit of both customers and suppliers. Customers get access to the content they want when they want it, and the ability to view that content across multiple devices bought from numerous consumer electronics companies. From iPad’s and tablets to OLED TVs, smartphones, and game consoles. Supplier, on the other hand, can deliver their content into millions of homes in the knowledge that content is being provided securely and at optimum quality to the right customers at the right time. But again, what does Pay-TV have to do with AM?
I firmly believe that the AM industry is reaching a watershed, where many technology adopters are now ready to transition from process validation to part production. For many companies, this transition will be made internally, building up machine capacity on the shop-floor. However, many companies that are looking at AM today have no intention of purchasing machines. These are the companies that outsource part production to trusted 3rd parties.
Many companies that outsource have now gone through the process of internal validation and becoming the ‘intelligent customer’ and are now ready to exploit the benefits of a digitally distributed AM supply chain. A supply chain that will share many of the attributes of Pay-TV, where different formats of high-value data will need to be transferred securely and seamlessly between multiple parties to be used on numerous technology platforms made by various vendors. Step forward, VO.
Over the last 18-months, I have been supporting VO in their understanding of the AM value chain, and the way data is generated, manipulated, and used in our industry. From 3D CAD and support structure generation to slicing and build file parameters.
Along the way, VO joined the 3MF consortium. The 3MF Consortium is a group of leading AM hardware and software companies developing interoperable standards for the benefit of technology users. With VO’s support, the 3MF Consortium recently unveiled its Secure Content Specification. VO also announced the release of its Secure Manufacturing Platform bringing its 20-year legacy from Pay-TV into the AM/3DP industry.
I was delighted to be asked recently by Alain Nochimowski Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at VO to facilitate a webinar to launch both the Secure Manufacturing Platform and the secure content specification. The webinar can be viewed on Demand at the TCT website and includes some great insight from Alain on the parallels between Pay-TV and AM. The webinar also includes an overview of the Secure Content Specification by Martin Weismann from AutoDesk and a great demonstration of how the technology could be applied to the medical device supply chain by Scott White from HP.
I have certainly learned a lot about Pay-TV over the last 18-months and according to Alain Nochimowski EVP of Innovation, VO has learned a lot more about Additive Manufacturing. “Working with Phil has been a really enjoyable and insightful experience. There is no doubt that his professionalism and deep understanding of 3D printing make him a reference in the industry”.