The Internet of Things will dramatically increase the number of connected devices, and the roll-out of 5G wireless connectivity will make high-speed internet available to any wireless device.
Blockchain and sophisticated AI automation will also add to the disruptive mix.
As these technologies penetrate consumer and business infrastructure, they will disrupt the status quo.
It’s likely to be like the disruption the business world saw when high-speed internet became widely available to consumers.
Businesses that do not foresee the disruptive wave approaching may suffer the same fate as Blockbuster or Borders as more efficient business models push them out of business.
The question that businesses need to ask themselves today is how they can leverage these new technologies and bring them to market more effectively than their competitors.
In this article, we’ll consider how businesses can ensure that they’ll be the disruptors rather than the disrupted.
Assessing The Risks and Opportunities
The first step to planning for new technologies that will disrupt your business’s industry is to honestly assess the risks and opportunities that they present. Businesses that do not do this will be at the mercy of trends that move too fast for them to react.
In recent years, retailers have begun to fail as most consumers turn to online retailers for lower-cost products and better selection.
That’s not true for all retailers facing changing customer buying habits, though.
Companies like Marks & Spencer in the UK realized the need to take control of their online sales and integrate the internet with their in-store customer experience.
They launched an eCommerce website and armed their sales assistants with iPads to help their customers place orders when a product wasn’t available at a local store.
It’s forward-thinking strategies like these that will define which companies grow during a tech disruption and which will lose market share.
Adapting Business Processes
Another way that new technologies disrupt industries is by creating ways to become more efficient and cut costs.
The companies that adopted new innovations like cloud computing and AI automation could perform better than their more cautious competitors without capturing market share initially.
The savings gained, though, put them in a position to invest in better products, services, and marketing campaigns.
The coming wave of new technologies will offer another opportunity for innovative companies to sprint ahead of their more conservative competitors.
Cloud technology made the remote work bubble grow and become the new normal for many companies. Automation will continue to offer new ways to organize business operations, eliminate labor expenses while delivering the same or better level of service to customers.
IoT and 5G connectivity will put manufacturing companies in a position to create more efficient processes, both in terms of energy conservation and machine automation. Warehouse and asset management are also developing quickly thanks to IoT advancements.
Intelligent chatbots connected to BI databases will be capable of delivering customer service over the internet more efficiently than traditional call centers.
Businesses that continuously innovate their business models will succeed by cutting costs and realizing greater economies of scale as new technologies become available.
Responding to Market Disruption
Hyperconnectivity makes it possible for non-traditional companies to enter markets previously thought to be insulated from disruption.
- A good example is the retail grocery market. In recent years, supermarket chains have competed with digital companies offering online ordering and delivery service.
- Another example is the rise of peer-to-peer rental and ride-sharing services that have taken market share from traditional hospitality and taxi businesses.
- Going forward, digital startups will continue to test every traditional market in search of inefficiencies that new technologies can address.
- The financial services sector has seen itself targeting by digital payment options like PayPal and Bitcoin that cut them out of the transaction loop.
- The industry responded by converting dated and feature-poor websites to modern, responsive portals suited to mobile devices.
- Banks also pushed out their own mobile apps and created new services like making deposits with photos.
Businesses will need to stay in tune with market trends and stay ahead of the curve when disruptions become apparent.
Introducing disruptive innovations will make the difference between success and struggling to keep up with their competitors.
Hyperconnectivity presents security challenges as new channels of communication and connectivity introduce new attack vectors.
New connectivity technologies often create security gaps that companies must carefully mitigate as they adopt them.
The alternative is suffering a brand-damaging data breach that leaves customers with a bad impression for years to come.
Blockchain is an example of new technology with serious security problems even as companies rush to apply it to their business models.
Digital currency markets continue to suffer spectacular hacks that result in the loss of millions of dollars in customer assets.
Individual consumers also struggle with the security risks of digital currency transactions.
These security issues are likely affecting other implementations of blockchain technology, and they’ll require careful attention.
5G wireless technology will bring more powerful cloud-based apps to mobile devices as well.
Experts expect the mobile device market to enter a second renaissance as developers discover what’s possible with the increased bandwidth and near real-time latency of 5G.
The security issues that arise from switching to cloud-based services will cause headaches for highly regulated industries like financial services and healthcare.
As new technologies like blockchain, 5G wireless, and the Internet of Things combine to create a hyperconnected world, businesses are likely to see the market disruptions of recent years accelerate rather than wind down.
It’ll be imperative for companies to stay on the leading edge of technology trends, whether they improve consumer access, enable greater operating efficiencies, or enhance security.
Businesses in competitive markets will need to pay close attention to future disruptions and match competitor innovations.
In traditionally non-competitive markets, businesses should expect attempts at disruption from competitors or digital startups in search of low-hanging fruit.
The future will belong to the disruptors, so businesses should endeavor to stay ahead of the technology curve.