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Remember when the first-generation hybrid vehicles came out? A few early adopters purchased them, but most of us—including most auto manufacturers—just sat back and waited. We wanted to see what would happen: if anyone would buy them, if they actually worked. Toyota took a huge leap in making the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, and it paid dividends. The terms “Prius” and “Hybrid” are now practically synonymous, even with so many new competitors on the market. Such is often the case with disruptive technology.
Today, potentially disruptive technologies are about as common as the Toyota Prius. Opportunities for change, innovation—and distraction from it—are almost everywhere. Still, just 35 percent of business executives are investing in digital innovations as part of their comprehensive business growth strategy. The rest are sitting around waiting—leaving plenty of room to use disruption and innovation to your company’s own competitive advantage.
In the current market, technologies are invented and reimagined constantly, and in an ever-surprising number of ways. The following are a few examples of disruptive technologies and how you could potentially use them to fuel growth in your own business environment.
Internet of Things (IoT)
You could get caught up in the fact that 26 billion devices will be connected by 2020. Or, you could start to develop your own unique plan for integrating the IoT into your own business plan. According to Computerworld’s Forecast 2017 survey, interconnected devices constitute the top area of spending in digital development. And yet, in the same study, just 13 percent of companies were beta-testing IoT projects. This is a prime example of a technology that holds tremendous growth potential for companies willing to work with a disruption mindset. It’s time to start considering how your company could benefit from IoT.
The word “mobility’ is almost a misnomer because it represents so many different things. From mobile pay to mobile work environments, wearables, and online shopping, there is no end to the opportunities that abound in the mobile landscape. Studies show 70 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones, giving businesses instant access 24 hours a day to their growing customer base. In today’s market, your digital strategy can and must include at least some form of mobile marketing, be it smart beacons, coupons, or other customer-centric incentives. Depending on your industry, you may even consider how mobile could change the entire way your company does business, from service delivery to the products you create.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Yes, the talk of artificial intelligence can be a little overwhelming. It might feel farfetched to brainstorm ways the technology supporting things like autonomous vehicles and delivery drones could fit into your service offering. But at the base of it, artificial intelligence is just a way to work faster and smarter. It’s a way to automate, process vast amounts of data, and make smarter decisions with less effort. AI is far more than drones and robots. Imagine a better, faster, sleeker way to operate, and chances are good AI can help.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
We saw the extremes to which global populations will go to experience augmented reality last summer with the rise of Pokémon Go. The thing is, virtual reality and augmented reality are actually far easier than ever to incorporate into our daily work lives. Realtors are using VR to sell property virtually to those living far from the sale site. Retailers like The North Face have used the technology to help customers experience their products within the intended environment, and others like Patagonia have even created VR experiences to encourage consumers to protect public land like Bears Ears National Monument. The opportunities are endless, and consumers are hungry for the experience.
At the end of the day, no matter how novel the technologies above may be, they are only as novel as the ways you discover to use them. Be smart. Brainstorm. Look outside your industry to see what methods and technologies may fit. Not all of them will, but you better believe some of them can. And someone, somewhere—right now—is thinking of a new way to make it happen. Shouldn’t you be thinking that way, too?
Additional Resources on This Topic
65 Percent of Marketers Still Lukewarm About New Digital Technologies
Innovation vs. Transformation: The Difference in a Digital World
How Executives Can use Disruption to Stay Ahead
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Daniel Newman is the Chief Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio