- Disruptive technologies are things that disrupt the industry they are applied to, or that create a new industry altogether.
- Seven disruptive technologies being developed today are new ways to expand internet access, 3D printing, drones, autonomous vehicles, robots, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality.
- Being aware of these technologies and how they can affect you personally, helps keep you from being blindsided when the technology becomes a reality.
You’re watching your favorite football team. The quarterback takes a few steps backward, looking for an open receiver. His arm’s up, getting ready to throw the ball, and bam! He gets hit from the blindside by a defensive player, fumbles the ball, and the whole game changes.
Well, that’s not much different than what’s happening now with different disruptive technologies. You want to be able to see that blindside if you’re in business or personally when you’re building your wealth. Let’s look at seven disruptive technologies that are starting to make an impact today:
- Communication – Qualcomm is launching 900 shoebox-sized satellites in to low earth orbit to provide worldwide internet access. Anyone in the world could gain access to the internet by installing a small receiver the size of a lamppost. The first satellites will launch in the spring of 2018, so it will take a few years for this network to be operational. Not to be outdone, Tesla plans to launch 4,425 satellites to do the same thing.
- 3D Printing – Autodesk can now print an entire house at $200 per square foot. The strength of the building is four times that of one built with traditional materials, which means designers have a whole new area to explore in the realm of building design. On the materials side, Tesla created shingles that are also solar panels. Each individual asphalt shingle is a solar panel, and it’s the same price as a regular shingle. That could make a tremendous difference in how we construct and power our homes.
- Drones – If you watched the Super Bowl halftime show this year, you saw Lady Gaga in front of a backdrop of 500 mini drones in the shape of the American flag. Beyond their entertainment value, drones are being used in agriculture to look over fields to see if water or pesticides are required. Very soon, drones are going to be able to fly down a row in a field, look at each plant, each leaf, to see if there is a pest on it to kill, administer pesticide or water it. Imagine the possibilities in terms of improved crop yields and conservation of resources.
- Autonomous Vehicles – Uber delivered 50,000 beers in Colorado a few months ago with an autonomous semi-truck. A company called OTTO, a start-up created by ex-Google employees and purchased by Uber, is now doing that full time. There are also prototypes of autonomous aircraft being developed by Airbus, Uber, and Skype, but that’s about five years off. There’s lots more to come on autonomous vehicles.
- Robots – There’s already been quite a bit of advancement in the robot field, but the technology continues to become more refined. Foxconn, a big employer in China, recently reduced their 110,000-employee workforce at one of their factories to 50,000 by replacing workers with robots.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – If you haven’t seen it yet, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home are basic versions of artificial intelligence. AI is hard to understand because it is so different. Just like when the internet came out, we didn’t really know what it was going to mean for us, and AI is in that same vein. AI is going to make big inroads, and we’re just starting to see that with the connected pieces like Alexa and Home that give us information just by speaking to it.
- Augmented Reality (AR) – Most people have heard of virtual reality, but augmented reality is different. There’s the physical reality we live in that you can touch, feel, smell etc. Then there’s the virtual reality that is a creation, made up entirely of information we input in to computers and other technology. Augmented reality is a mixture of the two. Microsoft developed the HoloLens where you see the physical world around you, but you can bring in elements of the virtual world. For example, a repairman could be fixing an elevator, and augmented reality would allow him to physically fix the issues, with the help of a virtual overlay of say, the electronic wiring or gears. This is happening right now.
How does this affect you?
Builders, farmers, drivers, services, robots; disruptive technologies are affecting everyone in little ways. But these technologies are continuing to gain traction, and the impossible seems to become possible every day. Look at your own wealth, your own business, to see how these technologies could affect you so that you don’t get blindsided.
Until next time, enjoy! Gary
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Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, The Wealth Sanctuary and co-author of The Business Battlefield. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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