Technology What is

What is Disruptive Technology? Examples, StartUps & Risks

What is Disruptive Technology

Disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things offer a great deal of promises. It provides digital transformation for the business processes and to a particular organization as a whole. Now we will discuss thoroughly on disruptive technology. 

What is disruptive technology?

Disruptive technology is an innovation that alters way effectively that industries, consumers, and businesses operate. It alters a founded technology and agitates the industry or a ground-breaking product, that makes an entirely new industry. This technology sweeps away the habits or systems because it has attributes that are recognizably superior.

Clayton M. Christensen, the professor of Harvard Business School, invented the term ‘Disruptive technology’. In the book named ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’, written by Christensen, separated the new technology into two parts. One was sustaining technology, and the other is a disruptive technology, and this book was the best-selling book of him in the year of 1997, for his invention.

Sustaining technology depends on mechanical improvements to an established technology. Disruptive technology is abjections refinement. It often goes through performance issues as it is new, and it appeals to a limited audience, and it may not have a proven practical application. 

In the book named ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’, Christensen pointed out that huge corporations are designed to work with sustaining technologies. These corporations excel at knowing their market by making a close connection to the customers and by having a mechanism in place for developing the existing technology.

Moreover, they faced problems due to capitalizing on the potential efficiencies, cost-savings, and new marketing opportunities that were created by low-margin disruptive technologies. By applying real-world examples for illustrating his viewpoint, Christensen demonstrated how it is not unnatural for a huge corporation to dismiss the value of disruptive technology. 

Examples of disruptive technology

Presently, disruptive technology examples include online news sites, e-commerce, GPS systems and ride-sharing apps. Previously the automobile, television, and electricity service were considered as disruptive technology examples. Here are some disruptive technology examples;

  • Personal Computer or PC is an example of disruptive technology as it displaced the typewriter machine forever and changed the way of working and communication completely.
  • The combination of affordability and interface of Windows Operating system was mechanical in the fleet improvement of the personal computing industry in the year of 1990. PC or Personal Computers disrupted the television industry and some other activities as well.
  • The email that is the way of communication transformed and displaced letter writing, postal cards, and greeting cards industries. 
  • Cell phones are also another example this technology that made it possible for people to call anyone anywhere. The entire telecom industry has been disrupted by cell phones.
  • The mobile computing or laptop computer made a mobile workforce possible for people to get connected to corporate networks and to collaborate from any place. In many organizations, computers have been displaced by laptops.
  • Cell phones and PDAs have been replaced significantly with smartphones as there are so many apps in smartphones that we need in daily life. A single smartphone disrupted MP3 players, pocket cameras, GPS device, calculators, etc. among several other possibilities. For some mobile users, the mobile also replaces laptops, and some others prefer to use a tablet. 
  • Cloud computing is one of the best examples of disruptive technology in the business world. It displaces many resources that usually would have been located in-house or offered as a traditionally hosted service.
  • Social networking is also a disruptive technology example as it disrupted email, telephone, event planning, instant messaging, and many more. Presently, it has a significant influence on the communication way.
  • Other disruptive technology examples include 3D printers, cryptocurrency, augmented reality, visual reality, collaborative commerce, etc.

Disruptive Technology Startups

Since 1997, the book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ became a buzzword in start-up businesses that tend to create a product with mass appeal. Even a start-up that has limited resources has the ability to aim at technology disruption by creating an entirely new way to get something done. Established industries tend to concentrate on doing their best and pursuing technical improvements instead of revolutionary changes.

These companies cater to their most demoing customers. This offers an opening for disruptive industries to aim overlooked customer segments and to get an industry presence. Established industries often lack the flexibility for adapting quick and new threats. This permits disruptors for moving upstream over time, and it can cannibalize more customer segments.

Disruptive technology seems complicated to prepare as it can suddenly disappear. There are several disruptive technology startups that ruled in the business industry. These disruptive technology startups include

  2. Paytm
  3. Plyzer
  4. Instics
  5. Nubeva etc. 
  6. Yva.AI
  7. Trendr
  8. Bird.i

Advances of disruptive technology

The implacable parade of new technologies unfolds many fronts. Probably, every advance comes from a breakthrough, and the list of future improvements grows longer.

Not every outbound technology deflects business or social landscape, but some genuinely have the efficiency in disrupting the status quo. These technologies alter the living and working way of people and rearrange value pools. Therefore, disruptive technology has some advances that include;

  • Advanced robotics is an excellent advancement of disruptive technology, that is making robots and robotic tools increasingly capable with intelligence, dexterity, and enhanced senses. It can take tasks that once were considered too delicate to automate. The technology used in advanced robotics can generate sufficient social benefits that include robotic surgical systems, robotic prosthetics and exoskeletons. 
  • Next-generation genomics is another advancement that is used for imaging base pairs with swiftly advancing computational and analytic capabilities. The next-generation genomics will offer similar advances in the understanding of animals and plants. T potentially create opportunities for improving agricultural performance and for creating high-value substances. 
  • Energy storage devices lay up energy for future usage. The technologies, like fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries, power electric and hybrid vehicles along with billions of light consumer electronics. For the forthcoming decade, advance energy-storage technology is able to make electric vehicles, that are cost competitive, and it brings electricity to remote areas. These devices also improve the effectiveness of the utility grid. 

The potentiality of disruptive technology

Risk-handling industries may recognize the potentiality of disruptive technology with their own operations. It targets markets that are able to incorporate it into their business procedure. These are considered as the innovators of the technology innovation lifecycle.

After observing the result, other companies may take more risk-averse position and can adopt a disrupt innovation. Such companies that fail to account for the influences of disruptive technology may find themselves losing the market shares and competitors that have found ways to integrate the technology.  

Risks of disruptive technology

Though disruptive technology has significant advances with great potential opportunity. For getting these advances, organizations take risks as well. Here we will let you know about the five significant risks of disruptive technology and the way how to mitigate the risks.

Equity and fairness- Machine learning that is a part of disruptive technology, is exciting for many applications as it provides the possibility to remove human biases from the equation during the making of important decisions. This is only effective when the model and dataset is free of bias. 

User privacy- Privacy concerns are getting highlighted with each passing day. It is considered as one of the risks of disruptive technology, as machine learning requires a significant amount of data. Companies are facing issues to gather data without violating users’ privacy.

Reputational risk- This kind of risk is connected to artificial intelligence. AI systems are prone to errors or easily hacked. These systems can expose your organization open for public criticism. 

Legal and ethical issues- Companies that research self-driving cars like Tesla and Uber must deal with their own versions of philosophical issues like the trolley problem. 

Public Safety- Data breaches of financial and personal data of customers are devastating enough, still, the reflections are limited to an individual. From hacking traffic lights to bring down power plants, the possibilities are comprehensive, and the risks are severe. 

Mitigating the risks of disruptive technology-

Though the risks of disruptive technologies like IoT and machine learning are incarnate, there are ways to mitigate the risks. When it comes to avoid bias in machine learning, the only solution is to input data to your AI. This way is accurate and free to prejudice. Though this solution seems simple, it is a bit hard to implement in practice.

The methodological issues that data gather algorithms may suffer from are very hard to find. When you will face any doubt, it is essential to consider that where the data has come from. For privacy concerns, there are several ways to protect a user’s personal information.

There are some tools that will allow you to build machine learning models that ensure differential privacy by adding noise to the dataset.If you regularly access your company’s website and networks with a vulnerability scanner, it will help you to identify security holes.

Many business industries also hire security consultants from outside to identify and solve the vulnerability issues. Hopefully, this article will be helpful to get detailed knowledge of disruptive technology. 

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1 comment

Hessellund April 21, 2020 at 10:32 am

Enjoyed reading the article above, actually explains everything in detail, the article is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck in the upcoming articles.
Best regards,
Mead Hessellund


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