The latest tech trends are continually evolving, whether it’s with the emergence of artificial intelligence, new software, or efficient hardware. But one of the biggest buzzwords right now is “disruptive technology”: technology that has the potential to revolutionise existing markets, challenge existing business models, and ultimately, bring about major changes in the global economy. But what is disruptive technology and what impact could it have? This article explains what disruptive technology is and outlines the challenges and benefits it presents.
Assessing the impact of disruptive technologies
As a concept, disruptive technology challenges standardised and well-established industries, such as those focused on transportation, communication and healthcare. These technologies possess a level of innovation or advancement that does not just merely improve or adjust existing systems, but rather creates a new way of doing things. By investing in disruptive technology, companies can make leaps and bounds in terms of efficiency, profitability, and customer experience.
It can be argued that ‘true’ disruptive technology places unrecognised needs on the collective consciousness, presenting fresh solutions and ideas that create a perfect storm of potential. For exploring technology trends, there are two common examples of disruptive technology: low-end and high-end. Low-end disruptive technology works to meet the basic needs of a certain sector, while high-end disruptive technology is disruptive, but in a less sweeping way than low-end technologies.
Benefits of disruptive technologies
The primary benefits of disruptive technology are largely focused on innovation, efficiency, and cost savings. By introducing a new way of doing things, companies and consumers alike can experience a higher level of efficiency. This is achieved both through the opening of new markets and by the introduction of cost-saving approaches, such as automated processes, for example. Not to mention, having the competitive edge over competitors can be extremely appealing to companies who desire to be at the cutting-edge of the industry.
But aside from the business advantages, employee morale should not be forgotten in this equation. Disruptive technologies often create more interesting and varied roles, which can lead to an increase in job satisfaction in the workplace. Furthermore, these technologies are often broadly applicable and can be utilised in many different business sectors, leading to further career opportunities.
Challenges of disruptive technologies
The negatives of disruptive technologies should also be considered. On one hand, there can be a significant degree of disruption and disruption of established systems, processes and regulations which can lead to a turbulent environment. This can mean that companies must be prepared to constantly keep up with their competitors’ operations and be willing to invest in the technology and training necessary to ensure they remain competitive.
The costs associated with investing in new technologies are also generally quite high, particularly in the early stages of the technology curve. This includes the costs of research and development, training of personnel, and the purchase of the technology itself. Additionally, there is also the risk that the technology may fail, leaving companies and investors high and dry.
Examples of disruptive technologies
Here is a brief overview of some of the most disruptive technologies that have already made a significant impact on the world:
- Robotics: Robotics has been around for decades, but advances in technology have made them even more disruptive. These machines now have the ability to communicate with each other and can take on tasks that previously required human intervention.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has created a revolution in some fields, such as healthcare and manufacturing, but it is also increasingly playing a bigger role in everyday life. Through AI, technologies such as self-driving cars, chatbots, and virtual assistants are making life easier and more efficient.
- Cloud Computing: This technology has revolutionised the way businesses operate by allowing them to store and access data without needing physical servers. It also makes it easier for organisations to scale, as they can access additional resources as needed.
- 3D Printing: This technology has revolutionised the way products are created. Instead of having to wait months for a product to be manufactured, 3D printing can cut down on production time and costs significantly.
Disruptive technology is having a huge impact on the world we live in and is likely to continue doing so for many years to come. Although it can create long-term financial, operational, and even societal benefits, companies need to be prepared to manage the associated risks.