Business man behind the wheel of a car.

These Disruptive Technology Examples Underscore Emerging Trend

27 Mar 2017 by Michael Lazar

Disruptive technology can be defined as a technology that comes along suddenly —  one that is so impactful and useful that it literally disrupts entire industries that came before it. Thanks to disruptive technology trends, we now have some of the greatest gadgets, technology and software solutions in the world, all fed by consumer and business demand.

Indeed, IT disruption is a hungry beast that never sleeps. It’s changed entire industries for the better, and many times over during the past two decades. Disruptive technology examples from the early 1990s include the advent of online shopping, later dubbed “electronic commerce,” soon after shortened to simply “e-commerce.”

Yet another example of disruptive technology involves the electric vehicle, which (much later than its initial offering in the early 1900s) evolved into the electric plug-in hybrid, and then into the battery-powered hybrid. Big name retailers like Virgin Records and Tower Records, Blockbuster and Hollywood video were all replaced by the disruptive technologies of Mp3s and online streaming services. Of course, the list doesn’t stop there.

What trends in disruptive technology can we expect in the year ahead, and how will they reshape everything? Join us as we take a peek at several different innovations that are shaping up to change everything we know yet again, and for the better.

Autonomous carpooling

In the future, you may read your newspaper on the way to work via corporate-sponsored autonomous carpooling services. Yep, driverless cars could get you and a few other coworkers to and from work safely and on time, every time. What’s more, it may even be possible to coordinate this schedule from your smartphone or smartwatch.

According to a Commuting in America report, the need for such services is on the rise, with the majority of commuters making the drive alone to work each morning:

“Drive Alone continues to grow in share of total commuting, while the share of Carpool has declined continuously since measurements began. As a result, the numbers of car users has grown over the period, but the number of cars they use has grown even faster, with 86.3 percent of all workers in private vehicles. Vehicle occupancy for commuting has declined.”

This illustration shows the potential growth of the self-driving vehicle revolution.
Figure 1. Image Source: McKinsey

 

Figure 1 shows the potential growth of the self-driving vehicle revolution. Era 1 is defined as “fully Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) being developed for consumers.” Era 2 is defined as “Consumers begin to adopt AVs.” Era 3 is defined as “AVs become the primary means of transport.”

Driverless cars and commuting services could become such disruptive technology that the day and fare of the cabbie would seemingly come to an end. Big names like General Motors (GM) are investing large amounts of money in the future of driverless ride-sharing services, with GM recently investing $500 million in Lyft’s program.

Certainly, some milestones need to be reached before they really take off. But it’s on the horizon and within reach over the next 10 years. And would any of us really complain if we had the ability to grab an extra 10 or 20 minutes of sleep on the way to work or get caught up on the news while eradicating the stress of the morning haul?

Cloud computing services

Easily the most disruptive technology of our time, cloud computing has successfully made downloading software from disks obsolete — we now just download it from the web or even use it online without downloading at all. It’s also changed the way we access the internet, use programs, store and share files and manage day-to-day operations at a business. We’ve already identified Popular Cloud Computing Trends That Will Advance into 2017 in a previous article. Combined, they will become a driving force for IT disruption now and well into the future.

Businesses already have access to the public mega cloud, such as Amazon Web Services. And adoption rates are higher than just about anything ever seen in computing before. Unsurprisingly, cloud spending is set to reach a $104 billion annual climax by the end of 2017, representing a $60 billion increase over a five-year span.

Thanks to the cloud, some of the most popular computer programs, such as those offered by Adobe, Microsoft and Norton, are now available on a pay-as-you-go basis at a low monthly rate with no contracts. Endless amounts of other services – ranging from accounting to consulting, big data and so much – are also readily available to businesses of all sizes via cloud subscriptions.

In essence, the advent of the cloud and its disruption on technology can be aptly compared to the crater that was created by the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs. It’s really had that big of an impact on technology. With Everything as a Service (XaaS) quickly becoming the new standard, there’s no turning back. 

This infographic shows three as-a-Service "stacks": Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Figure 2. Image source: Safari

 

Figure 2 shows three as-a-Service “stacks”: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Below each are the components of as-a-Service models, including Applications, Security, Databases, Operating Systems, etc., with sections marked for whether the customer or the provider is responsible for managing each component.

3–D printing

While still a technology that’s in its infancy, 3–D printing is slowly becoming part of what some tech experts refer to as “Industry 4.0.” This involves several facets, as illustrated in Figure 3, below. They include: Additive manufacturing, augmented reality, big data, autonomous robots, simulation, system integration and the Internet of Things (IoT). But some feel that 3–D printing is the missing link that tethers Industry 4.0 together.

This infographic illustrates the components of what some experts refer to as Industry 4.0. These components include additive manufacturing, augmented reality, big data, autonomous robots, simulation, system integration and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Figure 3. Image Source: 3dprint

 

Figure 3 illustrates the components of what some experts refer to as Industry 4.0.

There are several reasons why 3–D printing technology could be the next big disruption in IT:

  • It enables easier prototyping with “mass customization options” that allows small to medium businesses (SMBs) to better compete with larger enterprises because the technology does not require costly molds and other expensive fabrication tools.
  • It creates “new ecosystems” that enable a more economical and rapid means of production that’s devoid of the high labor, raw material costs and workplace hazards that are common at most manufacturing facilities.
  • It allows for the nearly instant creation of customized parts with economy of scale.

Wearable technology

Last on our list of the most disruptive technologies of the future is wearable technology. While this technology is nothing new, it’s also not that old, either. Second and third generation smartwatches and wearables are just making their debut, and there’s plenty more to come, from Apple’s wireless earbuds to Google’s car-starting Android smartwatch, to the Fitbit health monitoring bracelet that will likely become a staple to corporate healthcare awareness endeavors.

Newer innovations are being procured all the time. The self-heating shirt for campers, the self-cooling shirt for runners, the smart dog collar with GPS and camera, and so much more. Where the future will take us is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure, it’s an exciting time for technology.

Is it time for a technology upgrade at your small business? Insight partners with the leading providers to bring you groundbreaking solutions that fit your budget. Find out how we can help by talking to a specialist online today or by calling: 1.800.INSIGHT.

Is it time for a technology upgrade at your small business?

Insight partners with the leading providers to bring you groundbreaking solutions that fit your budget. Find out how we can help.

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