Something that has been on my mind for some time, and is a fascinating new technology, is 3D printing. Yes, the ability to print items in 3D ie solid. This technology allows users to print a solid object from a CAD drawing. What? I hear you say. The ability to print an object is not only possible, but it’s a reality. Printers have been available for some time, but let’s not get carried away as the size and type of item that can be printed is limited. But the rate of growth and advancement is amazing.

In the next 10 years the type of thing printed will be mind boggling by today’s standards. Food and medicine are just two of the things that are currently being tested in various tech centres around the globe. Cornell University is working with layered pureed food. Each of the layers is combined to make edible food. Components such as mobile phone cases can already be printed. The circuitry inside is another matter, although 10 years should see the ability to print the entire phone. No, this is not April 1st. This technology exists.

In production at the moment are car parts and other small consumables. Imagine the scene where a domestic appliance breaks and you print your own parts for the repair. Universities in the UK are using devices to experiment and print their own drugs! But how will this affect us in our relevant business? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that this technology will advance in leaps and bounds until one day you will have the capability to engineer products at your site. Maybe a new line of bespoke chocolate bars or a local centre for printing medication? Who knows? Three-D printing opens up a whole series of possibilities for retailers.

Contactless Cards

Remember the push to get contactless terminals in place ready for the Olympics? No, me neither. Visa says that contactless transactions are set to quadruple this year. Any sight of it in your business? It’s claimed that over 150,000 terminals are in place.

More and more terminals are being installed and any new oil company roll out must surely include contactless as a standard for the future? This type of card is valid for transactions up to £20 and should be quicker and perhaps cheaper to operate.