Disruptive technologies: embrace the opportunity of change

“Disruptive technology” is a one of those phrases that everybody uses and nobody really explains. To remedy this, let’s look at the concept of disruptive technology and its potential consequences, before discussing some of the future trends in disruptive technology for the coming year.

What is disruptive technology?

A disruptive technology, or “big bang disrupter” is a form of technology that effectively changes everything. It displaces an existing or established form of technology and has the potential to change the whole industry or even create a completely new one. Such innovations are often better and cheaper than existing products and services, and they will often achieve astronomical success causing an earthquake in their industry and in the marketplace.

So what are some of the most important emerging disruptive technologies this year?

  • Self-driving vehicles and transportation. The rise and rise of self-driving or autonomous vehicles will change everything. Continually evolving, these vehicles are now almost ready for the mass market. The technology is in place and the cost is now affordable. This has left regulators scrambling to catch up as they try to apply safety, insurance and traffic legislation from a previous era and an older technology (the existing car). The self-driving vehicle promises to completely transform transportation.
  • Augmented reality. Many industries are being transformed by this technology. SoftKinetic for example, is now using this technology to facilitate virtual design and fine motor manipulations, while the American home improvement store Lowe’s has used this technology to demonstrate in-store design simulations. The impact of this technology is only likely to grow, as the technology itself continues to develop and its application extends to more and more industries. Its business applications are not far behind; virtual boardrooms, 3D visualisation and advanced e-learning might not be as far away as they once seemed.
  • The Internet of Things. The “Internet of Things”, where everyday devices are able to collect, send and receive information, was the big promise from last year. This year it has finally become a reality, with everything now becoming connected to everything else. The focus has moved from computers to IoT solutions. Presently these device still largely lack integration and remain generally standalone as standards and platforms compete.
    But innovation is already occurring, for example, the smart home is now moving towards smart things such as smart locks, light bulbs and air conditioners. The real potential in this technology lies not in the individual devices but in the future consolidation of this data in standardised platforms.

So how could a disruptive technology impact your business?

The impact on your business

Well, it depends. In essence, your business could experience three different types of effects: positive, negative or no effect at all. With regards to information technology, a disruptive technology can either enrich or threaten the capacities of a business. It could also have both effects simultaneously on different industries.

Businesses has always been defined by its cutting-edge technologies and pace. Embracing disruptive technologies as a medium of change is key to staying ahead of the field and maintaining your business’ forward momentum, whether this is through manufacture, interconnectivity, learning, communication or any of the number of other ways in which technology can impact on business processes.

Disruptive technology is a formidable force for change for modern business, and one you cannot ignore. Being aware of the new technological developments is now essential, as technology transforms and creates new industries.

Bob Bradley

Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.

Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.

Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.

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