Gerber Avametric 3-D pattern

A partnership between a San Francisco start-up and a 70-year-old software firm could help the fashion industry work in 3-D at a much faster clip.

Connecticut-based software maker Gerber Technology and 3-D software firm Avametric unveiled heir 3-D platform Thursday during Gerber’s annual Ideation Summit in Los Angeles. It allows 3-D technology to be used from the design and manufacturing processes all the way through to the consumer-facing side.

The implications for the industry range in the efficiencies that can be delivered, chief among those being companies’ abilities to accelerate their production times by going digital. Companies could virtualize the pattern-making process, which becomes more and more important as brands look to offer more personalized products, said Karsten Newbury, Gerber’s senior vice president and general manager. “This is the key ingredient to making that happen,” he said of the platform.

The deal solves a hang-up companies tend to grapple with when it comes to implementing new software by removing the bulk that comes with long-standing software systems already in place.

“You’ve got an industry that is very much entrenched in legacy [software] systems with technology that’s probably been in their offices for 10, 20 sometimes more years,” said Avametric chief executive officer Ari Bloom.

Software ends up evolving over time with modules replacing outdated ones. “It’s like a monster where they’ve been adding or building around software platforms that are largely outdated,” Bloom said, asserting that the new solution from Gerber and Avametric allows companies to “leapfrog into the next century.”

A confluence of factors is allowing for swifter adoption of 3-D and at the top of that list is the reality that the technology is finally ready, the executives said.

“The technological hurdle has been a very important [barrier to adoption],” Newbury said. “”What’s also happening now is with the very rapid rise of e-commerce and consumers really just having different demands, it’s the market forces driving it.”

“Retailers are not generally technology companies, but increasingly they need to think like technology companies or be like technology companies,” Bloom said. “Out of survival, there’s just been a lot more openness to it….There’s a cultural shift happening and the recognition that [retailers] need to adapt or they could really be in peril.”

At the same time, Gerber and Avametric’s partnering is a good example of what both executives think needs to happen more in order to help companies find the right technology solutions that fit their needs rather than simply plugging new tech into the system.

“This is a really good metaphorical relationship between a small Silicon Valley start-up and an established player and recognizing that we need each other is a really good thematic message here,” Bloom said. “We both do things on our own that are really great, but together it’s much more powerful…. It’s a big hurdle for new and established companies to be working together, but it’s a necessity.”

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