A few weeks ago, Canadian company 3Dprintler introduced a first for the 3D printing industry: a chat bot for major messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger and SMS messaging. We predicted at that time that the application would become a success pretty quickly – and so it has. This week 3Dprintler attended TechCrunch Disrupt New York 2016, where they presented onstage as part of the event’s Startup Battlefield competition. Although they weren’t named a winner, the publicity was excellent for an already remarkably successful company.
3Dprintler was selected as a wild card entry from Startup Alley, the large section of the TechCrunch conference floor where hundreds of early-stage companies cluster to promote and demonstrate their new products and technology. While the companies chosen to present in Startup Battlefield are selected and notified ahead of the conference, the wild card is picked from Startup Alley, by audience vote, to present at the last minute.
The winner of Startup Battlefield receives $50,000, and as of this writing, the competition is down to its top five finalists. 3Dprintler isn’t one of them, but the company is unfazed – their latest developments have been bringing in plenty of money and publicity. 3Dprintler Bot is no exception; according to 3Dprintler co-founder Michael Golubev, orders from the company’s platform have already noticeably increased in the month since the bot was introduced.
“We’ve seen over one hundred order[s] already just in that period of time, which is I think like 56 percent more conversion rate than we see from using the website,” Golubev told TechCrunch. “So we see that people actually enjoy using the bots way more, somehow it’s more natural than using the website. Almost it becomes outdated to use a website.”
The 3Dprintler Bot, which assists users in finding the best price and material options from an array of 3D printing service bureaus, has been added to several additional messaging services, including Viber and WhatsApp, since it was first announced. The bot can now repair uploaded 3D CAD files as well, in addition to converting and pricing them. According to Golubev, 3Dprintler has about 20,000 3D printing service providers already added to the pool of resources the bot scans and compares, and more are continuously being added.
“We’ve been reaching out to them,” he said. “People have been jumping on board joining our system.”
Right now 3Dprintler is working on adding 3D Hubs to their network. They’re also hoping to integrate their services into large platforms like Thingiverse. Right now, says Golubev, while the 3Dprintler website and bot app are largely used by professionals in business settings, the consumer market is right around the corner – especially with the advent of affordable, consumer-friendly 3D scanners. Imagine the ease of scanning something with your smartphone and then immediately sending the scan to your 3Dprintler bot for file repair and pricing.
“Chatbots is the solution we were looking for because we get access to millions of people, and… we’re betting that eventually every phone will have a 3D scanner built in it,” Golubev said. “It will be super easy to use… and once we have all those millions of people using it, adoption rate is going to skyrocket and you’re going to have all those billions of files that people want to create — 3D selfie, for example, is going to be a new craze.”
Considering the vast numbers of 2D selfies filling up people’s phones and social media accounts, I don’t doubt that 3D selfies will be a craze. They already are, to an extent, thanks to things like Shapify booths, but imagine the wildfire that’s likely to break out once everyone can create 3D models of themselves as easily as pointing a smartphone camera. As usual, 3Dprintler is showing a real prescience for where the public’s attention is likely to turn in the future of the 3D printing industry – and that prescience is likely to keep them going strong for a long time. Are you a fan of the chat bot? Let’s discuss this further in the 3DPrintler ChatBot Increases Sales forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: TechCrunch]