Web-based technologies have been advancing at a fast pace. Several recent disruptive technologies in different industries exist because the internet made them possible.
These five industries are on a course toward complete disruption. They will affect the way you live. You can thank the seismic change in the internet and mobile technologies.
1. Cable TV
One of the greatest challenges, when we think about cable TV, has been the lack of available programming – the various content providers licence the vast majority of content available on cable TV. And to be fair, content owners such as Disney, Netflix, and HBO have some great original content, but there are not really a lot of TV shows or movies that don’t appear on other streaming services.
Now we see that Netflix has disrupted the TV model by putting a lot of its own content on the internet (while most of it is really good, for example, Daredevil, House of Cards, and Black Mirror), and this has forced most of the cable TV service providers to start streaming their own content online, including some cable TV packages (notably SlingTV). So, to say the least, the future of the cable TV industry is not a given, and it’s not a given that it’s going to be the same as it was when we first used it.
The biggest disruption to the cable TV industry is the shift in consumer behaviour. Consumers used to consume video content as if they rented DVDs or went to a physical store. When it was time to buy a new DVD, you’d see a bunch of new DVDs out on the shelves, and you’d pick one up and enjoy it at home for a while.
Then you’d go to the store and grab a new disc, and you’d go home and put it in the DVD player. Or you might go to Netflix and add it to your queue. And when you got home, you’d watch it. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you’d put it in a player and watch it on a big TV or computer screen.
2. Brick-and-Mortar Car Dealerships
Buying a vehicle traditionally involves driving to local showrooms and looking at cars. While doing so, you are typically approached by a vehicle salesman who wants to lure you inside the dealership to close a transaction. The internet educated the customer.
Car purchasers would look up prices on sites like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds. It enabled customers to go into a dealership knowing what a “good price” was for a specific vehicle. Unfortunately, you still had to walk into the dealership and haggle with a salesman who attempted to persuade you that the extra features justified the increased price.
However, more services are cropping up, bringing Amazon-style consumerism into the auto sales industry.
- Vroom: Shop for a car online and deliver it directly to your home or a nearby location. You can even apply for financing.
- NowCar: Pick a type of car or truck you want, add or remove features, set a budget, and browse. Surprisingly, the delivery is free.
These services bring the convenience of click-and-deliver Amazon-style shopping to the car-buying experience. Even with a delivery fee, paying a premium for the luxury of avoiding a car salesperson would be worth it.
Unfortunately, as these services become more popular, it could lead to the end of physical car dealerships and remove the need for on-site sales staff. It means you’ll be able to shop for a car in your pyjamas and never have to haggle over a car purchase again.
3. Taxi Services
As it happens with many other trends in this world, Internet technology has not been very nice to traditional taxi booking services and has given birth to new opportunities for its consumers and taxi operators. The latest trend in the business world is the emergence of a new Uber service. This new startup is challenging the status quo by offering cheap and fast transportation and a better option to the regular taxicabs that are always stuck with the regular fares.
Uber rides are much cheaper and are convenient as compared to cabs. Therefore, this new taxi booking service is now catching up with the regular taxi services in the sense that they offer the exact same services, but at a lower price. This article will give you the exact details about how internet technology has disrupted taxi booking services.
4. Traditional Currency
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency built upon the foundational technology known as a “blockchain”. The concept of a blockchain was first developed by someone using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
The technology can transmit a digital unit of currency via a peer-to-peer system. Multiple nodes of a network (miners) validate every single transaction in the design, with every transaction stored in a public ledger. The validation introduces a level of security for both the sender and the recipient that surpasses most existing transaction security protocols. But the technology’s most compelling, disruptive element is that it removed the need for a “middleman”—such as a bank—to serve as the manager of those transactions.
Individuals own “wallets,” which serve as the endpoints of transactions. The unit of currency used in each transaction is a Bitcoin (or another cryptocurrency), which holds its own value based on its market demand. If the mainstream adopts blockchain as a secure method of sending and receiving money, how will that disrupt the banking industry?
- Bank accounts will not be necessary as endpoints in a cryptocurrency scenario.
- There will be no need for an institution like the Federal Reserve to manipulate the value of monetary units.
- Governments will have no method to interrupt or interfere with an individual’s financial transactions.
- Thieves cannot take money from a central storage facility—hacking is the only way to steal cryptocurrency.
It is that last point that many observers disagree on. Many say the major issue with cryptocurrency is that it is susceptible to hacking. Also, since many users store their cryptocurrency “wallets” in exchanges like Coinbase, the danger of theft from a hack is just as real. The theft of Bitcoin from Mt. Gox is a perfect example.
At the beginning of its history, many people said that Bitcoin could mark the end of the banking industry. The reality is that cryptocurrencies may only change how people look at currency and how currency is valued.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not disruptive technologies. The disruptive technology is the blockchain. Big banks and small companies just starting out have both seen how important blockchain security is. The Financial Times reported in 2017 on the most important areas in which banks are looking to capitalise on blockchain technology:
- Handling financial settlements without the need for an escrow account
- Providing more secure financial transactions
- Modernising paper-based trade finance
- More secure customer identity verification
- Managing loans more efficiently.
Outside the banking industry, small companies are building new products on blockchain technology. This has birthed a whole new area of startups known as an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), analogous to the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the stock market.
In the next years, new goods and services will be introduced, enabling self-enclosed economies to expand and thrive. Imagine a virtual world where a “virtual coin” has the same worth as gold and can be transferred between users as securely as a bank account transaction. This is a brand-new technology that is still in its infancy.
5. Grocery Store Cashiers
If you’ve recently visited a grocery store, you may have seen two technologies that hint at the future of retail purchasing. The first is a row of self-serve kiosks without a clerk on hand to scan your purchases. Grocery stores are well aware that customer complaints about long queues at the checkout are the most common. This fact, combined with the increased demand for at-home delivery choices such as Amazon, has resulted in numerous new organisations offering grocery delivery services.
So far, there are a few companies that offer this service in more populated areas throughout the US:
- Peapod: This grocery delivery service also offers free delivery of groceries for an annual fee. The service remembers past orders, and there’s also a “specials” area for saving some money. They also double manufacturer coupons.
- Instacart: This same-day grocery delivery service has been partnering with major grocery chains, like Whole Foods, to offer delivery to loyal shoppers. Instacart is only available in major cities, and the service fee is from 5 to 7.5 per cent of the total bill plus a delivery fee. For an annual membership, the delivery fee is waived for orders over $35.
These services are gaining enormous popularity in our instant-gratification, consumer-based world. This is even more common now that there are phone apps that make getting groceries as easy as ordering a pizza. Paying a little to avoid spending hours in the grocery store is a highly tempting proposal in a booming economy where families have more revenue for goods. This trend will probably lead to fewer people shopping at grocery stores and fewer cashier jobs in local areas. However, plenty of supermarket delivery jobs will be available on the plus side!
The Impact of Disruptive Technologies
It’s difficult to foresee the future. Current technological developments in the abovementioned industries hint at major changes in the future years. These improvements will provide consumers with greater choice and convenience.
Sadly, it also implies a significant change in employment availability and the need for retraining and career modification. It’s impossible to predict the future, but disruptive innovations in these five areas are nearly mainstream. They will only develop in time.