In the world of constant innovation disruptive technologies have become an intrinsic part of strategic and management consulting, causing all leading consulting companies to focus on developing new offerings, in order to keep up with an ever-growing client need.
In addition to financial services and the most recent blockchain and cryptocurrency hype, disruptive technologies can be applied to almost every industry. This includes anything from data protection and storage to better pattern recognition that can be used to allow businesses to work more efficiently and deliver a higher level of service to their clients.
But what are the top trends in disruptive technologies?
AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence is said to be one of the biggest disruptors on the market. AI is present in our surroundings on a daily basis; examples include Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant that are now present in a large number of homes worldwide. This technology is essentially pattern recognition and a machine’s ability to constantly improve without ongoing human supervision.
Machine learning is used across a number of industries from research and consulting to transportation and medicine. It will allow doctors to recognize disease patterns faster allowing them to decrease the risk of cancer cells spreading or scanning genes in order to predispose us to diseases. Within the business world, it will allow companies to forecast trends as well as customer behaviours and needs, quickly resulting in a more tailored product development.
The blockchain is so far one of the highest trending words on the internet in 2018. Everyone has heard about it and is trying to understand what it’s really about. Examples include Cryptocurrencies that have become very quickly become a disruptor and a new but very volatile way of purchasing goods and services. As such, investments banks and many of us are investing in cryptocurrencies and start-ups are using them to increase their funding.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchains are unchallengeable digital ledger systems applied in a distributed fashion without a central depository or authority. At their most basic level, they allow a community of users to record transactions in a public ledger to that community, yet no changes can be made once published. The technology was essentially created in order to avoid centralization and allow an even distribution of power over information across community members.
It can be used in a number of different industries but it is most popular in financial services and start-ups. It is used to keep all confidential information, contracts and deals secured and unchangeable and enable a greater level of record keeping in emerging countries. The creation of Blockchain goes hand in hand with cryptocurrencies, which allow people to invest and exchange on online marketplaces in exchange for physical goods. It also allows start-ups to create their own currencies in order to gather investments for their ICO’s (initial coin offering).
Augmented reality is all around us; gaming (Pokemon Go), 3D products in retail stores and 3D house visits are already a reality and available for a wide population. Corporations use it to create more realistic training programs and imitate real-life situations to avoid future errors.
Augmented reality is one of the most exciting technologies developing in recent years as it allows the simulation of real-world scenarios from virtual images. It allows training to take place in a controlled and safe environment and for organizations to test theories without real-life consequences. It can be applied to a vast number of industries from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to hospitality and leisure. Doctors will be able to conduct complicated procedures and practice their skill, and consumers will be able to enjoy unique experiences like ‘travelling’ the world or extreme sports without leaving their house.
The technology is still in a very early stage of development so there is a lot of room for improvement and possible new applications in the near future. Global giants like Google and Apple are both introducing AR into their applications and the expectations are for it to only grow in 2018.
Autonomous vehicles are directly connected to machine learning data-processing technology but the possibilities of its use are so wide it is treated as a separate topic. Self-parking cars are slowly starting to be available on the market with the interest for it rapidly growing and further development potential of self-driving cars having no limit.
Autonomous vehicles tackle a large number of problems connected with cars. Considering that cars are the second most expensive household purchase after the house itself and the majority of accidents are caused by human error, autonomous vehicles might be the solution to a safer and cheaper commute. Another enormous advantage of AV is the time-saving aspect, the time usually spent on driving could be used for other more important or pleasurable activities. In terms of business, time is simply money.
Airbnb, BorrowMyDoggy, online marketplaces and co-working platforms are only a few examples of the sharing economy present all around us.
Sharing economy is a disruptor, which is easily accessible by the vast majority of people. It is based on a peer-to-peer economic model, which allows individuals to share, acquire or provide goods and services based on a community online platform with the most well-known example is Airbnb. The sharing economy allows individuals to become part of a ‘community’ and have access to goods and services, which they could not acquire through a standard buy/sell transaction.
It has created a new market, accessible by a large number of people across the world through an online platform. This creates an increased competition for businesses such as hotels, stores and recruitment agencies. It could also potentially be a threat to traditional consulting firms as freelancers using the co-working platform can provide services to clients cheaper than competitor companies. More widely, this technology can be seen as an opportunity to allow people to easily work from home, share their ideas globally and develop skills for free.
Internet of things
The Internet of Things is already all around us; smart houses, beds, lights and kitchen appliances which can be connected to the Internet or Bluetooth are available for everyone. Companies can utilize the data drawn from the devices to automate and optimize their systems, eliminating human error and thus reducing inefficiencies.
IoT involves millions of ‘everyday use’ devices around the world being connected to the internet, enabling them to communicate without human participation building a bridge between the physical and digital world. Studies show that around £4,5 trillion will be spent on the Internet of Things solutions in the next 5 years.
With the rapidly growing demand for disruptive technology solutions, consultancies and other businesses should focus on expanding their know-how and capacity to implement and deliver them to stay successful and competitive on the market.