Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management System CRM in word tag cloud

Customer Relationship Management System CRM in word tag cloud

The English acronym CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management; a term that can be confusing but that is mainly based on two concepts: one is management focused on customer relationships, and the other refers to the software used for managing the relationship with customers.

Customer relationships are a key objective for any business; a goal that is not new but that has gained importance within organizations, especially in recent years, due to the use of new technologies, where customer experience is more than just an aim. It has acquired such relevance that it has developed an entire industry around it.

CRM is a relatively new term. In fact, not even the experts agree on a single definition. What is clear is thatit seeks to generate more profit by focusing efforts on customers. In the end, profitability means satisfied customers, which means, in turn, that it is a business strategy that gives prominence to customers and, together with good service, seeks to make them happy. The more satisfied a customer is, the more lasting his loyalty to the company.

Everyone knows that it is much more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. And that is what CRM seeks to achieve, to retain existing customers or increase their customer loyalty so as to increase profitability. This is the “secret” behind their growth and the reason why companies are increasingly putting more emphasis on promoting knowledge from their customers, which will allow them to find out opportunities for both cross sales and complementary sales.

Main objectives of CRM

beneficios de un crmToday, those with a competitive advantage are the ones that have a customer-oriented internal organization. Until recently, the main focus was on the product. Thus, this process requires implementing CRM software in the organization, that is to say, a computer system supporting the management of customer relationships, sales and marketing.

But only the use of this software is not enough, as the overall concept of CRM is, on the one hand, based on the software but, on the other hand, it should complement a management model that follows the philosophy of customer satisfaction we are discussing. This entails adapting all processes and behaviors that are related to the interaction with customers. A CRM enables identifying anything that creates value for customers to then provide it on time.

In this context, the new technologies, together with the CRM, allow us to know our customers better and offer them what they want at all times; differentiate marketing activities, thus saving costs; know the value of customers, which makes it possible to encourage cross-selling and loyalty strategies; and develop proactive and efficient marketing campaigns, among others.

Implementing CRM in the organization

It would be pointless to make the contact methods available to customers unless we enable efficient communication, in a rapid and bidirectional manner. Therefore, no matter if they contact by email, phone or social networks, the priority must be direct attention without having to go through various departments. Real-time communication is the best possible scenario.

Having a department in the organization that specializes in customer service can be essential to the effectiveness of the strategy, as many companies today still do not have a particular department or coordinator.

Another key aspect to integrating a successful CRM is employee training and education. Besides, it is essential to carefully select the tools, which must be adapted to the company’s needs. Before implementing a CRM, the company should consider whether they aim to increase sales, reduce costs or reduce the sales cycle.

The ultimate goal if we are to be successful, and regardless of whether we decide to install this or that software, is an organization focused on the customer, that is, customer-oriented. This involves systems and processes, but especially workers oriented to customer satisfaction. In this regard, it is necessary to define management indicators that measure the satisfaction of our customers. Thus, the organization will have feedback on what actually happens. Only then can we know whether these actions, including the implementation of a CRM, can be any helpful in terms of what really matters: having an increasing number of satisfied customers.

The management indicators measuring customer satisfaction should be of two types. First, the objectives, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), numerical values that account for the percentage of claims resolved in less than two hours, orders served within 24 hours, etc., but we also need “subjective” indicators, that is, we will need to ask customers –not through endless surveys, but through short questions that can be answered in two minutes regarding what we measured in numbers. We need to correlate what we measure numerically with what customers really think in order to find out if we are directing our efforts to what they actually consider to be important. In our experience, we often encounter surprises when we do, because we sometimes do things only with a view to ourselves, “navel-gazing”, and not with a view to our customers.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that CRM systems can often become CMR systems (Customer Managed-relationship). It is a customer relationship complementary approach where customers are encouraged to control the relationship, so that they can manage the access to the information, the orders and others. To this aim, we also use a specific methodology and software and, most importantly, the huge capacity of the Internet.

Incorporating the CMR vision to our CRM management gives us a great value because it will increase customer satisfaction and often reduce costs. Yes, both things! Think of the case of electronic banking. It is us as customers who actually do the work; we consult balances, make transfers, buy or sell shares, etc. Banks are able to reduce their operating costs as these tasks were previously managed by their staff, either employed by the company or outsourced, so the cost now is far lower. Moreover, it is more practical and efficient for us because we can do it any time of day and with no queues. This is the advantage of the CMR approach to CRM systems, to achieve higher customer satisfaction with a lower operational cost for the company providing the service.

To conclude, today there is no alternative to a customer-oriented strategy, at least not in businesses that are not monopolies. Thus, the development and implementation of CRM systems is one of the keys, as well as the CMR approach where possible, which can help us close the virtuous circle we all strive for: more customer satisfaction at lower operating costs.

Ecommerce: Up selling i cross selling

The growth of e-commerce has led to the evolution of online stores, increasingly making them ‘smart’ stores. You have surely noticed that there are many online stores today that, once you have chosen the product you want to buy, automatically suggest accessories or other products. They know our tastes.

One of the main concerns for any e-commerce is to increase its sales. To this aim, there are many strategies and techniques that exist and that are currently being applied. This article will focus on two of them: up selling and cross selling.

Up selling

The purpose of an up selling strategy is to encourage a user, who has shown interest in or chosen a product on an online store, to upgrade it to a higher-end product which generates more profit for the e-commerce.

Let’s think, for instance, of an e-commerce that sells watches and assume that a customer who is in our online shop has added one to his shopping cart. An example of an up selling strategy would be to show similar, but higher-end watches, and make him see the benefits of these products against the one he had chosen first place.

Up selling i cross selling

The aim of up selling is that the customer buys more expensive products, which generate more profit, not that he buys more items. This means that the purchase process phase when we apply it (timing) is essential in the up selling strategy. Success depends on applying it at the right time, which usually corresponds to the online checkout of the product, by seeking a product related to that the customer intends to buy. When doing so, we increase the chances of reaching the sales desired. But it is also important to apply it in a subtle way that is not aggressive, and to facilitate the purchase as much as possible. We should be careful not to lose a purchase searching for a better one!

Cross selling

Instead, a cross selling strategy aims to have customers add more products to their shopping cart.

We often see this technique successfully applied in online stores related to fashion or many other sectors. Let’s look at the case of Zara:

Cross selling

A customer enters her e-commerce, shows interest in buying a pair of shoes and seems determined to make the purchase. This is where the cross selling strategy comes in, which involves offering or showing products that complement the one the customer wants to buy. In this case, if the customer wants to buy shoes, she may need or want a complement that perfectly matches her new shoes.

Unlike the up selling strategy, the cross selling technique can go beyond the time of the purchase, so the timing is not so critical. If the customer has decided not to buy any additional product at the moment, you can offer these new products later on via email or through other means. In fact, much of this strategy relies on having a database of customers who are offered related products, in line with their latest acquisition or previous purchase.

When applied subtly and creatively, both techniques are very effective strategies that can deliver great results to e-commerce. The key is that customers do not feel pressured to buy more or spend more. If so, the result can be quite the opposite.

The strategy will be successfully implemented if the customer has the feeling that he is being offered a better solution, an additional service, and not that he is ‘made to buy’ a product different from the one he wants.

Maybe you still haven’t noticed, but airlines, for example, have been implementing these techniques for a long time, offering insurance, car rental, hotel reservations and others in the checkout process along with your ticket.

Up selling i cross selling 2

Finally, it is worth mentioning that both cross selling and up selling are techniques aimed at increasing sales. Therefore, e-commerce should already be generating sales when we apply them. They will not work in the growth phase of a new company e-commerce when sales are very low, which would require applying other strategies.

Cloud computing, the future of the supply chain


Cloud computing and virtualization are two trends that are raising great interest in the business world today. These are concepts we use daily but we do not always know exactly what they mean. We can find the following two definitions on Wikipedia: “Cloud computing is a form of computation that has its foundations on the Internet and by which shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand as a service”; “Virtualization is a mechanism that enables to share a physical machine in order to run multiple virtual machines. These virtual machines share free CPU resources, memory, disk and network connection that would otherwise be untapped while waiting for peak working times.” That is, virtualization is a technique that allows sharing a physical resource with multiple virtual users , which is a necessary element to provide network services (Internet), but not necessarily only linked to the Internet, as it could occur in a private environment; while cloud computing is a very powerful way to get services distributed and accessible anywhere. This last idea is indeed very powerful when it comes to supply chains, although we can consider virtualization and cloud computing as associated concepts, since cloud computing uses virtualization as an essential tool to ensure the services provided.

When we talk about cloud supply chain we mean ensuring a collaborative development on the Internet from the start of the chain until the product reaches the consumer’s hands. The approach to the use of cloud computing is intensive, as it is the most efficient way to manage a global business with many participants as agents like the supply chain. In a supply chain, it is especially important to have a cloud ERP software built to operate from the start, because it will enable us to efficiently manage all the agents involved. These agents involved are product suppliers, customers, carriers, service providers, and freelance employees distributed all over the world. Therefore, it will be essential that the common software is accessible efficiently and at a low price through a simple browser, from anywhere, taking into account that access conditions may vary. It makes a big difference, for example, if I am at the headquarters with an excellent Internet connection, or if I am in a small hotel in a remote country working as a salesman and I try to inform about orders made by customers, or if I am the manager of a store that wants to update the shared stocks of the company. Only an ERP designed from the start to operate in the cloud will be efficient in such different environments as the optimum management of the supply chain requires.

The new technologies are no longer seen as a cost to businesses and have gradually become part of the strategies, thus investing a significant part of the budget. The goal: to help manage and promote interactive workflows, as productivity starts to be understood as well beyond the office. The key is immediacy and security. Gone are the days when marketers provided their customers with short-termed paper catalogues. Today, sales require dynamism, agility and speed; now paper catalogs are replaced with digital catalogs updated in real time providing all the information about the product, its features and availability. The immediacy offered by new technologies enables to safely complete business in less time. Providing customers with a complete service through dynamic, quick and reliable management no doubt requires using the cloud.

Supply chain in the cloud

Distribution centers require a high level of control and there is increasingly less room for human error. And for this reason, the cloud ERP systems we were discussing before are crucial. In this process the cloud has many things to offer: dynamic and flexible growth, aspects of availability, exact control of costs, as well as test environments and development. All these advantages are often in the background when the issue of safety comes up. There are still many people who give up the advantages of cloud computing because of the intrinsic fear of using this medium intensively.

On a deeper analysis, we can see that a cloud ERP solution can guarantee the same levels of security as a traditional ERP solution on-premise. Just as in traditional models, we need to provide physical security, transmission security, storage security, access security, data security and applications security.

The only difference is that in the case of traditional ERP, security issues are managed by the internal IT resources of the company while in the case of cloud ERP, it is managed by external resources. An audit conducted by third parties can certify that external processes are documented and followed, but in most cases, external providers of cloud services pay more attention to those details than the internal resources would. In short, the cloud ERPs are as safe as the traditional on-premise ERP systems. Some security problems are different and perhaps less known, but once understood, many experts conclude that cloud systems are safer than the often poorly managed, in terms of security, internal applications.

In conclusion, we can say that there is a clear trend to manage the supply chain using ERP and cloud services. This is so because the requirements for flexibility, dynamism, geographical spread and control you need to manage the supply chain perfectly adapt to the features of cloud computing. The security problem can be overcome if you have a reliable business partner with consulting capacity, and the development of a customized solution. It is always necessary to have a third party auditor that certifies the compliance with the safety standards we need in our business.

Certainly, each company is different and will need to adapt the process of cloud computing to its particularities, but it is a path that everyone must take if we want to be competing in the global world we live in.

Technologies that will make roads safer, more comfortable and efficient


1425040529_222265_1425041313_noticia_normal-300x168 (1)Technology has advanced at a breakneck pace bringing major changes in nearly all industries. However, if we talk about transportation, or roads in particular, these advances have not been much noticeable, which means that, despite some exceptions, our roads today are very similar to the roads we travelled a decade ago. Although they occupy vast extensions, virtually anywhere in the world, roads and motorways have an untapped potential.

But the fact that they have not been applied or implemented does not mean that there is no research and development of technologies designed to make safer, more efficient and comfortable roads. In fact, there are many projects, some completed and many others under development, which open up a world of possibilities and allow us to figure out what the roads we will be travelling in the near future will be like.

Environmentally-friendly and self-sufficient

In this regard, there are plenty of projects, initiatives and prototypes…

In Holland, for example, a trial project has been carried out to turn roads into energy generating surfaces. The idea is to replace conventional asphalt roads with a new compound that is able, among other things, to capture solar energy and convert it into electricity. Solar panels are covered with highly resistant materials. This makes it viable for cars to drive on them while capturing the energy of the sun. Beyond the environmental concerns, this option may turn out to be more profitable. It is estimated that these roads would have a lifespan of 20 years and that it would take us 15 years to repay them through the energy generated. This can be achieved once the testing phase has been completed and mass production can be performed.

Other projects also propose solutions to use the day solar energy to supply the lamps that illuminate the road at night.

Some go further and have created systems with sensors which, when applied to lamps, make them light up only when they detect the presence of a vehicle. Thus, a great amount of energy can be saved, using it only when really necessary because there are users on the road.

But not only sunlight can be used to generate energy on the roads. An Israeli company has created a system based on a compost of crystals which, embedded in the asphalt, are able to generate energy through the pressure exercised by the vehicles circulating on them.

Even the wind produced by the speed of vehicles can be used through small turbines located on the sides and median strips of the roads.

As you can see, there is a wide range of technologies that are being developed to ensure that our roads become self-sufficient energy generating systems. We could refer to them as “intelligent roads”.


In order to increase the safety of our roads, a set of initiatives are being tested and they will soon be implemented.

Removing the ice on the roads is one of the biggest challenges. One proposal in this regard is to use solar energy to get rid of the ice, thus making the roads safer.

Thermodynamic paint is probably one of the realities that we will soon see on the roads, consisting basically of creating new road markings that change colour based on temperature. That is, the road itself would warn drivers of any risks ahead by changing the colour of the road markings.

Besides everything explained above, there is the commitment of many car companies to fit their vehicles with new technologies that enable greater safety, efficiency and comfort.

Technologies that will radically change our consumption habits


The rapid development of technology has revolutionized our lifestyle at all levels, but perhaps these changes have been much more radical when it comes to purchasing and consumption habits. In this field, innovation and new technological proposals will continue to grow in the coming years. In view of the current developments, everything suggests that in five years’ time, we will dramatically change the concept of shopping we have today.

Against the odds, and although many predicted the death of retailing due to the rise of e-commerce, all developments and technologies that have emerged and which will see in the coming years, are aimed at combining the advantages of proximity trade with the flexibility of an online store.

Have you ever wondered what going shopping will be like in 2020?

For example, fitting rooms will replace curtains with digital screens that will allow customers to “try on” clothes using sensors that project on the screen the image of the item as it would look on the person. The company Magic Mirror is already developing this technology.
The shelves will host loads of smart tags that, through sensors, will recommend you products based on what you already have in your shopping cart or inform you about the special features of the items.

And these are not the only developments. Contactless payments using NFC (Near Field Communication) are already a reality with which companies like Auchan and Leroy Merlin have begun experimenting. Among other things, they allow facial recognition technology to analyse our mood when we go shopping or our reactions towards certain brands or others.

But in the countdown to 2020 and considering the emergence of all that we have mentioned above, the current pace of life compels us to optimize our time to the most and to bring the shops closer to where the customers are, rather than having them to travel to the store. We will analyse an alternative that allows to do this.

The British company Tesco has turned the walls of different metro stations and bus stops in Seoul into a great showcase where they exhibit their products and that enables users to shop through their Smartphone while waiting for the subway. Passengers use this service to purchase goods virtually, which are then delivered to their own homes.

The walls of the stations are only different from a common display window in that the products, instead of appearing physically, are shown through photographs and each includes a QR code. To buy any item, underground users only need to scan the QR codes that correspond to the items they want to acquire. The amount is automatically charged to the bank account that the user chooses and he later receives the shopping at home or at the address he indicates to the system when making the purchase. Later means that if users make a purchase before one in the afternoon, they will receive it the same day, therefore, they are likely to arrive home and have it already there or that the order is about to arrive.

The advantages of this initiative have a direct and positive impact on buyers, as in the case of metro passengers who can use their waiting time to do the shopping on their mobile phone. We are therefore facing a new shopping experience that combines retail shopping and e-commerce, while increasing the service we give to our clients.

This initiative launched in Korea is just one example of how important it is, both for buyers and for sellers, to have a shop virtually anywhere. The aim is to create a shopping experience where we can merge the best of both worlds, that is, the trust we have on the local store and the efficiency of e-commerce.

We are bound to see experiences like this in many other countries really soon.

The video linked below shows how this purchase system works.

Big Data and e-commerce


The terms Big Data or Massive data refer to computer systems based on large-scale data collection, together with methods to identify recurring patterns within the data, which allows not only to gather information, but to be used as powerful tools for analysis. These strategies have become a key to success for many technology businesses.

Big Data arises from the need for new techniques for analysing data, which has been growing exponentially over the last decade, and from the urgency to process this information in less and less time. The huge amount of information available to us is useless if we fail to manage it, analyse it, draw conclusions and create appropriate action plans.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management), that is, the management of customer relationships, is a strategy that focuses on the wishes and needs of users, customers and potential customers. This is where the Big Data and data analysis have a greater role and come into play, in a game consisting of volume, speed, variety and value. These are undoubtedly the four great challenges of Big Data, as we are increasingly generating more information at higher speed and we need to analyse it at the same time it is generated to make it useful. But this process should also be able to analyse real-time different types of data to create accurate insights (ideas, actions) with a high added value.

This is precisely the major trend in recent years, the ability to act in real time and make decisions in an automatic and programmed way. One example is the systems of advertising purchase in real time (XTB: Real Time Bidding) where different advertising platforms (DMP: Data Management System) make purchase decisions (print to print) based on the knowledge they already have of the user who is browsing a specific website. Some large stores already use these services: Zalando, ASOS, Redoutte, Addictia… or even Amazon, who are developing their own system.

E-commerce is one of the sectors where Big Data and programmatic advertising have hit harder because it is a kind of business without growth limits, where a  comprehensive knowledge of customers is necessary and almost essential. The evolution of the digital world in recent years has meant that users are familiar with the concept of online shopping and also they have been getting used to a more personalized shopping experience. The factor of personalization is becoming an increasingly essential element for any e-commerce. Not only because customers are getting used to it, but because it allows companies to create ever more surprising and unique shopping experiences that help increase sales, such as: personalized product recommendations, email retargeting, dynamic retargeting, diversification, and even resorting to techniques to modify online stores in real time based on user behaviour.

But … where do the data come from? Everywhere, from emails by users who purchase or register for newsletters, from those participating in raffles or surveys, from social profiles of users on Facebook, Twitter (and soon on Instagram, with the new advertising services), from pixels that are introduced on the online store’s website or blog to profile users and similar, from programmatic advertising campaigns that generate a Big Data to deliver specific advertising to the right public at the right time. Any action on the Internet leaves a trail that can then be used in advertising in a programmed and automatic way to achieve a major goal: optimize budget and achieve more sales.

Definitely, Big Data, rather than a new tech concept, is the tool that enables any online store to move on to the next level, to a higher level.

For more information, check out the following references:

DataXu – Programmatic marketing technology (

MediaMath – Programmatic Marketing Operating System


Real Time Bidding –

Advanzis – digital marketing agency specializing in conversion (e-commerce) that manages actions in social networks and programmatic advertising campaigns (

Beacons, between e-commerce and localization

BeaconsApple created the concept naming it iBeacons. However, the industry has adapted it dropping the initial ‘i’ and renaming it Beacons.

What we are discussing here represents a fine line between e-commerce and geolocation.

These are small devices, beacons, in English, which use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies and can send notifications (push messages) to any smartphone. But they are not geolocation systems as we know them. These small devices operate using the proximity of smartphones to transmit information. The main advantage this offers is that they do not need to be in a fixed point or to be static to be able to interact with the smartphone.

The use of Bluetooth Low Energy provides a much wider range than the NFC technology, for example. Thus, the optimal range in NFC is about 4 centimeters, while in BLE with the Beacons, the range can reach 50-70 meters, which makes it particularly attractive for some of the applications considered. Besides, the battery can last more than 3 years.

As we can figure out, their uses have great potential. But the truth is there are so many that we probably don’t know many of them yet. What is certain is that it will soon come the day when we walk down the street and start to get advertising on our mobile with offers and promotions from nearby establishments. One of the biggest beneficiaries will be the retail sector, affected by the unstoppable growth of ecommerce. Through this new technology we can receive specific offers from their stores, for example. However, its use can also be extended to museums, theme parks and even public administrations.

What do we need to have this service on our smartphone? Nothing. A while ago you could try this service through different apps. However, it is now a reality that many terminals include by default. In fact, in its iOS operating system version 7, Apple already had an integrated function that allows users to activate it so that their terminal starts reading beacons.

The fact that many terminals now include this functionality will contribute to its implementation and final consolidation. In addition, some payment platforms like Paypal have already adopted it. This is a clear indicator that it is a dominant technology that will not go unnoticed and will be stronger than, for example, QR codes.

It is a revolution that offers countless benefits to users, as it only requires users to get closer to these devices with their terminal to obtain the real-time information they can provide, as these devices have a high accuracy level.

So remember its name and what it is. We need to keep it in mind, because this new technology will revolutionize many concepts, even habits.

Finally, here are some links where you can find information on the use of beacons in different businesses:


Impact of the Internet of Things in supply chains


internet-de-las-cosas-300x200The increased use of technological devices with Internet access has brought about the concept of the ‘Internet of Things “(IoT). Under this concept, there has been a gradual emergence of devices applicable to supply chains that allow to improve them and make them safer and more efficient.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and the exponential growth it will experience in future years will completely transform companies and countries, and it will pave the way for what will be a new era of economic growth and competitiveness, where co-working of people, data and smart devices will have a powerful impact on the industries’ productivity, performance and efficiency.

Predictions suggest that in just five years, the growth of these devices will be multiplied by 30 in the industry. Some experts are already talking about the fourth industrial revolution. This growth will inevitably have a direct impact on the operation of supply chains. Their leaders will need to adapt to this new reality and its great potential and prepare to deal with the implementation of these solutions.

What we initially accepted as a new way of assessing operating efficiency has now become the most powerful tool when seeking growth in unexpected opportunities. This growth focuses on three distinct areas:

1. Increased revenue through increased production and the development of new hybrid business models.

2. Promoting innovation through smart technologies.

3. Transforming the workforce.

The implementation of intelligent technologies in companies is not new. For over a decade, countless devices and solutions have been emerging in the industry. Some examples include bar codes, environmental sensors, RFID (radio frequency identification), GPS or RTLS (real time locating systems). All these systems have helped to prevent or reduce problems and track physical assets.

But the Internet of things goes further, providing instant visibility of supply chains, distribution centers, land and sea ports, which helps eliminate inefficiencies in sectors such as industry, transport and retail, among many others.

The integration of the IoT will facilitate the automation of the entire manufacturing process and will improve the visibility of products throughout the supply chain.

In terms of applications, the IoT will allow to identify, locate and measure the state of business assets, people and transactions.This visibility it provides translates into improved decision making, and the possibility to optimize resources and improve monitoring; which, in turn, helps boost product quality while reducing operating costs and improving delivery times and customer service.

One of the most worrying aspects is the traceability of the product in transit, since it is very difficult to know the exact location of the product at all times, since it leaves the assembly line until it reaches the retailer or end customer. In this regard, for example, the IoT allows to determine the location through the GPS and thanks to a cloud, it stores all the data on it, thus improving and simplifying the process.

The Next Industrial Revolution: 3D Printers


A 3D printer is basically a tool to convert a 3D design created on a computer into a physical 3D model. To set an example, if we design a cup of coffee on our computer (through a CAD – Computer Aided Design program), we can print that cup in three dimensions using a 3D printer, thus obtaining a product or physical object, in this case, the cup of coffee.

This technology allows you to create objects “from scratch”, from the most simple, like the cup of coffee used as an example, to the most complex, such as aircraft components or materials that are already being used in medicine.

How do they work?

I will try to avoid getting too technical and explain in a straightforward manner how this type of printer works …

To shape any object with its three dimensions, the 3D printer forms and superposes the layers until the shape of the object is completed. As ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, check out this video :

There are sophisticated design programs fitted with advanced features, but to make the designs and use this type of printer, you don’t need to be an expert in CAD programmes. There are many user-friendly programmes that allow this type of printers to have a more domestic use as well.

Types of 3D printers

– Addition

These are printers that add layers of the material the object is composed of.


In these printers a mass of powder is compacted in layers. There is a type of printer using ink that agglomerates powder to make it compact and that it can also be different colours. There is another type of printer that uses laser instead of ink, projecting energy to the powder and making it polymerize to then immerse it in a fluid that makes it solidify.

What objects can 3D printers create?

It is difficult to answer this question because, most likely, these printers are able to create anything that can be designed: from simple household objects to prostheses or human organs.

When it comes to printers, we automatically tend to think of small objects, but nothing is further from reality … They can also be large and get to reproduce even buildings.

What is the future of 3D Printers?

Today 3D printers can already manufacture shoes, fashion items, toys and other consumer goods. But this is only the beginning. I dare say that we will soon see these devices producing all kinds of food with personalized nutritional values, for example.

Nowadays only the most powerful corporations have them available, but rather sooner than later their use will spread and they will be available to everyone … We will be able to create items for our own home in our own place, or at a nearby printing centre. And this inevitably results in a lesser need to import products, for instance, from China.

This is one of the few cases where we can say without a doubt that the future is already here …

We are becoming more familiar with this almost magical tool which, oddly enough, has its origins in the 80s, and that will probably drive the next industrial revolution, making a huge impact at all levels and literally changing the world.

The economy of knowledge is an increasingly present concept and a safe bet we are committed to …

In a near future, countries will export designs rather than products –countries will import these designs through the Internet and will produce them locally with 3D printers.

That said, the future is here to stay …

Drones: Putting legislative barriers to innovation


You might be familiar with the concept of ‘drone’, that is, unmanned aircraft often intended for military purposes. The emergence and development of drones, the access to them and their possible uses are bringing about a genuine dilemma implying a clear legislative barrier to innovation. On the one hand, it is not difficult to agree that some legislative coverage governing its use is essential, since it entails certain risks. On the other hand, we have overly conservative laws, sometimes created at a time when such technology didn’t even exist and which inevitably hinder the development of innovation and the endless possibilities drones open up.

In this regard, the competent authorities of each country or territory act and react independently and often totally opposed. Analysing the nearest case, which is Spain, after a video with stunning aerial images of the city of Madrid taken by a drone appeared on social media and went viral, the AESA (State Aviation Safety Agency) had no alternative but to issue a communication stating that the use of such drones is not allowed. The only exception is the use of this technology for recreational purposes, as long as they fly below 100 meters in places intended for model airplane practice. In the case of commercial uses, the AESA made it clear that its use is strictly prohibited.

These measures or laws, often created and applicable before the existence of drones or their current level of accessibility, are no doubt a real barrier limiting innovation for many sectors.

The issue is not simple, as the use of such devices involves a myriad of requirements and protocols that must be covered: safety, liability and others. Therefore, the need for a control legislation is a fact, but such legislation should be adapted and updated. If we are committed to an industrial culture based on innovation, we should not limit the development of such technologies with outdated laws.

In Spain, reconciling these two aspects is still a pending issue that needs an urgent solution if we are to make a progress. In fact, it seems that a new regulation to end this legal loophole is under way and the AESA has claimed they are working on a specific regulation so that this type of aircraft can fly under certain conditions and limitations. This purpose can let us glimpse some light at the end of the tunnel, but the truth is that any delay imposed on innovation and entrepreneurship inevitably becomes a global delay in the development of a country.

The odds are that it will be a long and tough way, but initiatives like that of giant Amazon, which aims to use these devices in the transportation of packages –still more Sci-Fi than fact today, are bound to make drones present in our daily lives.