In most cases, disruptions are associated with something bad. When you combine disruptive elements with technology, things can start to sound even worse. After all, no one wants a disruption in technology. Luckily, disruptive technology means something else entirely–and it’s typically a good thing for consumers.
What is Disruptive Technology?
Disruptive technology is the development of new technology that is so inventive and practical that it alters the current market. Called disruptive technology because it disrupts the competition, it generally refers to a product or service so revolutionary and accessible that it changes the way something is done.
As new technology and ideas are created, we depend on them to make our lives more convenient, but not every type of new technology wipes away the use of the previous options. Disruptive technology is unique because it has features that are so clearly superior, they replace the old systems or habits. Most often, disruptive technology comes from start-up businesses instead of established companies. These companies don’t seem threatening until it’s too late for the competition to jump on board.
Typically, disruptive technology is affordable to the average consumer and provides a service or product that makes everyday life more convenient. While you may not be familiar with the term, you are likely a user of many types of disruptive technology.
Disruptive Technology in Action
There are examples of disruptive technology all throughout history. Even when you enjoy the use of modern conveniences you couldn’t imagine living without, you’re often aware of the solutions that existed in the past. Whether you use these products every day, or they still sound like something that belongs in a science fiction movie, the following solutions are examples of disruptive technology.
While motorized vehicles weren’t initially accessible to all groups of people, the market expanded over years to make them indispensable to practically everyone. The invention of automobiles didn’t technically cause a disruption simply because they were considered a luxury item unattainable to those in the market for horse-drawn vehicles. After the debut of the lower-priced automobile, and automobiles were mass-produced, automobiles showed how they could disrupt the current transportation market.
Whether you use a desktop PC, a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you likely have some type of computer for personal use. The earliest computers (called mainframe computers) cost millions of dollars and took years of education to operate. They were owned by only the largest corporations and universities. With the invention of the desktop PC, computers were soon found in homes across the world. As they became more common, they changed the way we gather information, learn, and even communicate.
Personal computers changed the way people consume information, obtain products and services, and communicate. Smartphones changed the way consumers access the internet and access online services and products. With the invention of the smartphone and the convenient apps that go along with it, many other items have been almost completely replaced. Many people use smartphones to replace:
- Laptops to access the internet
- Landlines to communicate
- Paper documents
- Portable music players, game players, and video players
- Navigation systems
- Print media
- Digital cameras
Smart homes equipped with internet technology provide the convenience of remote operations for many systems including lighting, temperature control, entertainment, utilities, and security. Besides these features enhancing the lives of homeowners, they could open up new opportunities for disabled people to live more comfortably. Smart homes provide potential changes in the habits of almost every way people do things at
Online learning has already been a proven way to provide access to continued education for a variety of people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend college. While major universities have taken advantage of the convenience of combining online learning with hands-on courses, other institutes provide less expensive, more convenient opportunities that are completely remote. Online colleges like Purdue University, Southern New Hampshire University, and the University of Florida provide online education opportunities that are more affordable and flexible than
Online education isn’t limited to higher education. Some institutions use similar technology to begin online learning as early as Kindergarten. There are many reasons parents choose online education, including frequent travel, chronic illness, advanced learning opportunities, and limited quality in local public schools. Organizations like Connections Academy, K12, and K12 International Academy provide elementary online learning opportunities that allow students to thrive when they might have otherwise fallen behind.
This technology proved to be vitally important as schools, colleges, and universities were forced to close to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public and private schools, colleges, and universities turned to online and remote learning options when continuing education would have otherwise been impossible.
Why Disruptive Tech is so Important
Established companies work to sustain existing products and services for continued success. These companies target loyal customers with newer, higher-priced inventions that are often inaccessible to the majority of consumers. Disruptive new ideas are driven by the needs of people and often provide solutions that benefit convenient lifestyles. Disruptive technology allows people to adopt new habits and have access to inventions
that improve the quality of life.
Businesses can benefit from disruptive technology with explosive growth and increased success. As new products reach the market, consumers get the services they need and businesses thrive in the marketplace. When new companies have opportunities to enter the marketplace, technology evolves that improves the lifestyles of all consumers. Disruptive technology and innovations provide continued ways for humans to evolve and produce accessible solutions for everyone.
Disruptive technology is a prime example of how disruption can be positive for both the economy and consumers. When products and technologies make life more convenient and accessible, everyone wins. For businesses, paying attention to evolving technology and keeping up with necessary changes is vital to staying afloat.
Disruptive technology has always allowed humans to evolve in ways previously believed to be impossible. Browse our related blog posts below to learn more about the ways technology is changing our world.