Trends in Disruptive Technology

By Cara Bedford

“What’s the Next Big Thing in Eyebrows?” “See the Latest Avocado Hack You HAVE to Try!” “You Won’t Believe Where Celebs are Putting Glitter Now!” With headlines like these smacking us in the face through our “news” feed and dropping in our inboxes by the hour, it can feel like everything is the next big thing, including everything in the world of disruptive technology.

While technology, disruptive or otherwise, doesn’t typically have anything quite as catchy as “glitter beards” or “aquarium nails” to boast, it does have a lot of innovations that are really just minor tweaks of old versions and gadgets that will be obsolete before you get them out of the box. To ensure you aren’t chasing after the next Zune or Windows Vista, we present to you, the disruptive technology that has the best chance of really making a difference this year.

Internet of Things

Despite sounding almost whimsical enough to be included in a Shel Silverstein poem, the Internet of Things will help us improve infrastructure management, the way we exchange data and open up new opportunities in a variety of industries. With a value set to reach over $11 trillion by 2025, the Internet of Things has the potential to be highly disruptive and its growth exponential as we each increase the number of devices we own and connect to IOT.

Blockchain

We’ve heard a lot about blockchain recently, and there’s good reason for that; it has the potential to significantly disrupt and improve major industries like marketing, healthcare, energy, online security and many others.  Blockchain, which most people have heard of in the context of its role in cryptocurrency, has a much broader range of applications and is likely to affect the way we trade, sell and do business while opening opportunities we only dreamed possible a few years ago.

Artificial Intelligence

With our smartphones now employing artificial intelligence that would easily outshine most early James Bond gadgets, we’ll see even more practical applications of this disruptive technology. Continuing the progress made in 2017, mega companies like Google and Microsoft will further automate processes to cut down on mundane administrative tasks and more efficiently organize data.  With its ability to manage massive amounts of data, AI has the potential to improve the working conditions of its human users, not take work away as many opponents claim.

Reality Plus

With virtual reality now almost sounding like a quaint term, 2018 will see an expansion of both augmented and mixed reality applications. Both of these reality types have the potential to disrupt the very way we interact with the world around us that goes far beyond the entertainment value we tend to associate with virtual reality. While VR immerses a user in a completely fabricated world, AR and MR combine the real and virtual worlds for an enhanced experience that will increase opportunities for users and businesses.

A Shift in Personal Data Ownership

While users typically love what new technology and applications can do for them, they are increasingly skeptical about providing personal information and allowing companies to profit off of that information. New platforms and technology will help put users back in control of their own information and give them a better understanding of how that info is used. This will be expanded and enforced through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which strengthens data protection measures and holds companies to higher standards over what they can and cannot do with consumers’ data.

Ultimately, while these are likely to be the biggest disruptive stars of 2018, there are dozens of other developments that will take place in the rapidly rising tide of technology hitting our virtual shores.

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