But there's also something else in the air, a different kind of invasion is happening – the invasion of the advertisers.
Entering the registration hall was like having logo LSD injected straight into your eyeballs. From the sponsored bags and free T-shirts, to the young start-ups hastily taping posters to every available bit of wall space and sheepishly handing out flyers.
With nearly 30,000 people descending on a few blocks, there are some major problems – mainly the challenge to get into oversubscribed talks and the variable quality of the talks themselves – but with a fair few launches and innovations, being here is like stepping into the future and you can't help but be inspired.
The new product launches are diverse and the ones that caught the zeitgeist for me yesterday include Makerbot’s digitiser, a very cool device which allows you to scan an object and print it off in 3D; the first-ever 3D mobile phone printer; LevelUp’s mobile phone scanner; and Cheil’s beta of our very own Mubbl app, which lets event attendees capture the event together to create a richer, collective digital memory.
But the single biggest thing that people have been talking about is 3D printing. Pettis, the founder of Makerbot, arguably the single company that has done the most to make 3D printing affordable for the masses, yesterday revealed a new product. A product that Pettis modestly claims will help bring about a new industrial revolution.
It’s called the Digitizer, and it’s essentially a 3D scanner. The Digitizer, paired with the Makerbot, are potentially the most disruptive combination of products the world has seen. Now you can scan any object and print out a duplicate, cut and paste for the real world.
Conversations in the bar afterwards tended to put it another, slightly more cynical way – now you can steal anything and make unlimited copies. Piracy for real objects.
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com