Press a Button
It used to be that our computing world was flat, with not much more to it than word processing, spreadsheets, and email, but now our screens are pulsing with life and invoking all our senses. We have movies, music, and voice recognition programs. And while the technology becomes more and more advanced, there's less for you to do to make it work for you. Press a button, and poof! You find yourself looking at a 3D image of your home.
The funny thing is that it's the least knowledgeable sector of society who is getting the most out of all this technology and at little or no cost. That would be the consumer. Think of Youtube and iTunes and you see how that works. Instead of entering text into windows and dealing with endless dialogue boxes like we did in the past, pressing one button now brings us lots of entertainment and fulfillment.
On the other hand, IT savvy people also really appreciate what 3D computing can do for them, especially those involved in drug research and fashion design, and they have known about all this 3D stuff for years. But for many of those in more mainstream businesses who lust after 3D technology, it's just too expensive.
Take gas and oil drillers: they can send virtual seismic waves way below the sea, check out the sound-bounces, figure out what's down there, and obtain a photo in 3D of the geological composition of the earth under the sea. Major oil companies are all using this technology.
And once upon a yesteryear, a guy who wanted to design an airplane wing submitted punch cards to a computer operator. After a week or so, he'd receive a bunch of paper, folded like a fan, with lots of numbers affixed. Today, the designer inputs a bit of data and gets back a picture of an airplane wing, in color, and in 3D. The image can be rotated and an engineer can change a bit of something here or there and see in the blink of an eye how it changes his plan.
The various compounds employed in drugs can be simulated through 3D computing and tested to see what will and won't work, saving the researchers a great deal of time.
These are all easy to understand examples of 3D technology, and examples of how big money corporations are able to remain up-to-date, but what about those who are somewhere between a major oil company and some teenager watching Youtube?
Most times, businesses are still using the kind of software that involves numbers and letters, rather than lots of fancy graphics or video clips—the kind you can get with 3D imaging.
A good example of this lag in modernization is banks, which still use the old-fashioned kind of computing, which has worked fine all these years for number-crunching and security. The thing is that banks are missing out on what the fancy graphics programs can do for them. 3D computing can be used to evaluate data, employing visualization to see some hard to detect patterns in behavior of specific clients, or whole sectors, giving banks a heads-up on where they need to take action.
So what's keeping commercial entities from joining the 3D craze? A part of the obstacle has to do with the lack of desire to change what they think is working. Then again, the equipment is mighty expensive, not to mention needing a great deal of bandwidth. Still, 3D is here to stay. Don't be last to figure it out.