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Digital Disruption - What is it and Why should you be Aware of it?

Digital is transforming human behaviour, how we communicate, ways in which we do business and our interactions with the many brands we’re exposed to. Digital disruption refers to the changes encountered as a result of digital advancement occurring at a significant pace disrupting what we consider to be the norm.

Here are some early examples of digital disruption. If it’s not something you’ve come across it’ll certainly help your understanding of the concept.


From typewriter to word processor

Typewriters are now an accessory for the modern day office and a vintage touch to any home but this retro statement piece was once a relied upon as opposed to having to handwrite things. It’s replacement was ‘Word Processing’ a software that we’re all familiar with and allows much more flexible document production.


From chemical to digital photography

Another example is the shift from chemical photography to digital photography.

We no longer need to buy ‘film’ and have it processed at a local chemist or supermarket. We have digital photography which has advanced significantly since its beginnings of low picture quality, resolution and shutter delay.

What are the current industry predictions for the future?

Technology is continually evolving and it’s at an accelerating rate. Take a look back at the journey of the World Wide Web so far, it’ll really put the developments into context. Here are some of the key milestones and smaller moments to note:

So what are the emerging technologies and which have the most potential to disrupt the status quo? Each year Gartner produce an Emerging Technology Hype Cycle making their predictions about future technologies. It highlights any technologies which have potential to emerge and cause disruption in the next ten years and beyond.


Emerging Technology Hype Cycle

As a newcomer to the concept of digital disruption there are many emerging technologies which I wasn’t aware of and it’s likely those reading this may have missed the likes of ‘Smart dust’ and ‘Volumetric displays’.

Autonomous vehicles or driverless cars features within the hype cycle, this is undoubtedly a hot topic leaving many wondering how this will disrupt the not too distant future. I’ve listed below my thoughts which relate to how disruptive driverless cars could be, am sure everyone has their own thoughts/take on it but these are mine:

I believe there is still a long way to go in relation to autonomous driving/driverless cars but it is a concept which has huge potential to change a key part of our daily lives and would interrupt the ‘norm’ considering how reliant we are on our vehicles. Allowing us to get from A to B won’t alter but the need for us to be in control, concentrating and physically operating a vehicle will disappear.

It will disrupt the landscape of global car industries depending on the evolution of these vehicles, how markets react to the concept and eventually how they are adopted. I am struggling with individuals really giving up driving altogether?

Is it likely to have an impact on reducing criminal behaviour, namely drink driving? If driverless cars are the vehicle of choice I can only presume it would make it very difficult to drink and drive! This considered will it increase sales in the drinks/beverages market and in turn have a negative impact on people’s health? Many of us have been the designated driver and refrained from drinking, the need for this restraint won’t exist so will individuals still have the same level of self control? And last but not least will the need for taxi’s completely disappear, or at least the need for a human taxi driver?

What will happen to car insurance companies and brokers? Will there be a need for driverless car insurance policies?

This future development leaves me asking so many questions! Will driverless cars always be restricted in someway, whether it be the types of road/areas they can be utilised or the human adoption of them i.e. will they replace taxi’s and similar services because people WANT to drive their own cars? Eventually I have no doubt technology is likely to override a lot of these restrictions in some way, already I am imagining a world where petrol stations have disappeared and older generations talk of the days when they used to use a steering wheel and a gear stick. But with many things it’ll evolve based on the human behaviour surrounding this phenomenon as behaviour/demand will shape the driverless car landscape.


Transformation is crucial

So to summarise staying abreast of disruptive technologies and trends plus adjusting to them is an invaluable tool. Failing to alter your approach in light of technological disruption has huge potential to make your business vulnerable and possibly become irrelevant. Transformation and adaptation is crucial. Here is an FT article to end which will tell you more: