How have disruptive technologies affected specific industries and spheres of life? How is business adapting to the new breakthroughs and rapid changes in the digital world? Let’s explore what areas have been most transformed by advancing digitization in business. And let’s figure out how to tackle the risks posed by disruptive technologies. Read on.
The impact of disruptive technologies on business
Disruptive technologies, the groundbreaking inventions that have shaped our modern age, have changed the way businesses work across industries. The digital realm has expanded the boundaries of possibilities, creating an entirely new sphere that was once unimaginable to entrepreneurs of the past. However, how do disruptive technologies affect the operation of various business domains?
Disruptive technologies in finance
One of the areas where disruptive technologies have made a significant impact is the field of finance. In 1997, the first mobile banking transaction took place in Finland. Before the emergence of mobile phones and the Internet, managing a company’s finances was laborious and time-consuming.
Mobile telephony and the Internet have enabled the emergence of online and mobile banking services. This has allowed companies to quickly and conveniently:
- pay bills,
- invest funds,
- process salary payments.
The fact that we can now pay bills and check our account balance on smartphones, regardless of location and time, seems so obvious that it’s hard to believe it could have been any different.
Since then, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana are also mentioned among disruptive technologies. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual form of currency that uses cryptography, enabling fast, decentralized, and secure financial transactions independent of traditional banking institutions. Their growing popularity is changing how we perceive currencies and make financial decisions, both on individual and business levels.
Medicine of the future
Before the introduction of 3D printing supported by artificial intelligence, creating new drugs took much more work and time. Thanks to this disruptive technology, amputated patients can receive personalized, bionic prostheses, greatly improving their quality of life.
Disruptive technologies in healthcare bring about several advancements:
- improved disease diagnosis,
- personalized drug development,
- faster testing of new drugs and vaccines,
- creation of prostheses, including very small, precise, and custom-fit ones. For example, in 2016, scientists successfully 3D-printed the first tracheal prosthesis using disruptive 3D printing technology.
The rapid development of MedTech and the use of artificial intelligence in diagnostics, therapy, and rehabilitation are also important to businesses.
Education and disruptive technologies
Education has also benefited from disruptive technologies, particularly since the 1990s. The first virtual university, Jones International University, was founded in 1993. Access to the Internet has facilitated the development of e-learning, enabling distance education and personalized learning experiences. Nowadays, many companies offer online educational materials, ranging from early childhood education to specialized vocational training and university courses.
Before the Internet became widely popular, distance education was much more challenging to organize, and correspondence courses were a relic of that era. Despite its numerous drawbacks, remote learning has given access to education to people who previously could not study because of where they lived or other circumstances. Even individuals living far from educational centers or working full-time jobs can now pursue higher education by participating in online courses.
Virtual reality (VR) is also playing an increasingly important role in education. When combined with gamification, it opens up entirely new opportunities for the teaching and training industries.
Before the age of e-commerce, shopping was only possible in physical stores. The new era was initiated by the first book sold on Amazon.com in 1995. It was “Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies” by Douglas Hofstadter.
E-commerce is also a disruptive technology. By enabling shopping without leaving the house, it has influenced the development of logistics and changed the way customers engage with retail services. According to research conducted by CBRE in 2021, e-commerce is currently estimated to account for 14% to over 20% of the market, depending on the research methodology used.
Transportation then and now
The revolutionary changes in 21st-century transportation were initiated by the ridesharing service offered by Zipcar, which became available in 2000. Before the emergence of ridesharing services, urban motorists used their own cars, public transit, or cabs. Thanks to smartphones and the Internet, ridesharing companies, such as Uber, Bolt, and Lyft appeared.
They have revolutionized public transportation, so it is now possible to order a ride through a mobile app, and the driver will pick us up at the chosen location. However, disruptive technologies in urban transportation also refer to readily available public bicycles and scooters, as well as:
- autonomous cars – more and more popular in the United States,
- public transportation in smart cities – where the frequency of services, and even the routes are tailored to the residents’ needs.
Disruptive technologies in the entertainment sector
Prior to the advent of streaming platforms such as Netflix and Spotify, access to movies and music was limited to physical media, such as CDs and DVDs. Today, streaming lets people access a huge amount of content anytime and anywhere. Combined with omnipresent smartphones, we can now watch our favorite series or listen to music literally wherever we are, on smartphones, tablets, or smart TVs.
Adapting businesses to disruptive technologies
Companies need to adapt quickly to disruptive technologies to stay competitive in the market. Therefore, using no-code technologies may be crucial as they enable the creation of new solutions much faster than traditional methods. This way, applications can be developed overnight without any programming skills. No-code helps reduce the time to implement new solutions by up to 80%.
Monitoring competitors and observing how other companies use disruptive technologies will help you understand what practices are effective and implement them in your own company. And analyzing your own business operations supported by artificial intelligence will let you adapt your product and marketing efforts to changing conditions.
New technologies, new threats
Introducing disruptive technologies also comes with risks, such as:
- Intellectual property protection – companies need to protect their innovations, for example, by filing patents. According to the McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2022 report, patent filings related to disruptive technologies increased by 15% in 2020 compared to 2019,
- Risk analysis – it is necessary to assess the potential risks associated with the introduction of new technologies and develop strategies to minimize their impact on businesses. For example, according to a survey by Statista in 2021, 47.5% of respondents considered artificial intelligence and machine learning to be the most influential disruptive technology, which could imply more competition and changes in business models. By the way, it is very interesting what these statistics look like today,
- Information security management – as the volume of personal data processed by businesses continues to grow, ensuring the security and privacy of this information becomes increasingly important.
According to McKinsey, by 2030, approximately 30% of tasks in 60% of all occupations could be automated through the adoption of currently demonstrated technologies. Apart from other concerns, this could pose significant risks of data breaches and threats to information security.
Each of the disruptive technologies has brought significant changes to our daily lives, affecting the way we use services or manage our time. These technologies will continue to evolve, and their impact on the future of various industries will grow.
In a nutshell, disruptive technologies play a key role in shaping the future of business. Companies must be open to change and strive for continuous development to meet market challenges. It is also important to pay attention to sustainable development, creating new jobs, and the ethical aspects of innovations. Let’s remember that disruptive technologies present not only challenges but also tremendous opportunities for those who can exploit them.
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