Top 10 Tech Disruptions Over the Past 10 Years

3 months ago
Top 10 Tech Disruptions Over the Past 10 Years Image

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that we have seen many tech disruptions in a relatively short time. 

A “disruptive technology” could be defined as one that displaces an established technology, thereby shaking up an industry and reshaping its future trajectory. A tech disruptor could also be a ground-breaking product that creates an entirely new industry. 

Join our drive down the technology superhighway as we rediscover the top tech disruptions over the past 10 years and dive into what’s next.

2012: Google Glass Influences Wearable Tech

10 Tech Disruptions 2012 Google Glasses

The optical head-mounted display, designed like eyeglasses, showed information in a hands-free format—wearers communicated with the internet using voice commands. Google Glass disrupted our usual thinking about wearable technology and augmented reality (AR) by extension.

2013: Smartwatches Tell More Than Time

10 Tech Disruptions 2013 Smart Watch
This year brought some high-tech jewelry into our lives with the introduction of the smartwatch. The Pebble Technology Corporation raised over $10 million on Kickstarter to bring us a watch that could display messages from a smartphone and select Android devices. The Pebble paved the way for smartwatch technology from other big players, including Apple, Samsung, and Google.

2014: Amazon Echo Brings the IoT Home

10 Tech Disruptions 2014 Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo barreled into our lives this year, causing us to rethink how we might use technology in our homes. Powered by Amazon’s voice control system Alexa, the Echo started with just a few intelligent voice commands. Alexa now boasts thousands of “skills” and has become the central hub in so-called smart homes, helping to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to a much wider audience. Followed quickly by Google Home and more recently by Apple HomePod, this technology is sure to continue to grow.

2015: Autonomous Vehicles Inspire Change

10 Tech Disruptions 2015 Auto Car
The autonomous car, aka the self-driving car, is envisioned as one capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. The quest to develop technologies that could enable such a feat began to rise in 2015. Consumers have benefitted from numerous changes in car technology (think adaptive speed tech, proximity sensors, guidance systems, etc.) as manufacturers began pursuing this vision. This dramatic reshaping of the automotive industry certainly deserves a call-out.

2016: Oculus Rift Opens Up Virtual Reality

10 Tech Disruptions 2016 Oculus Rift
Virtual reality (VR) as a concept has been around for decades and offers increasing value in everything from military training to surgery simulation to product development and testing. Its availability to consumers was limited until the introduction of Oculus Rift in 2016. With its launch, VR exploded into many homes. The system was a hot gift and introduced the concept of VR to a broader audience—it’s hard not to enjoy (or laugh with?) someone experiencing VR for the first time!

2017: AI Takes the Stage

10 Tech Disruptions 2017 Ai
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a science-fiction trope brought to life. With numerous large companies investing billions of dollars on research in this field, it’s poised to influence how we live and work in the coming years. Applications include everything from automating tasks using bots to enabling computers to answer complex, multi-tiered questions by “learning” from previous queries.

2018: 5G Begins Its Rollout

10 Tech Disruptions 2018 5 G
As connectivity became more ubiquitous, fast and reliable internet demand increased. It’s not enough to watch a streaming movie in the middle of nowhere—it has to be smooth! Beginning in 2018, 5G promised to bring more channels for higher speed, lower latency, and greater bandwidth for more connected devices. But 5G wasn’t exciting for smartphone fans only: the benefits had implications for healthcare, education, smart homes, connected cars, and more.

2019: 3D Printers Revolutionize the 4th Industrial Revolution

10 Tech Disruptions 2019 3 D Printer
Although the technology and equipment for 3D printing were available in the mid-1980s, 3D printing was imprecise, bulky, and costly. Thirty years later, 3D printing made it to the mainstream as a disruptive technology. This disruptive technology appeared in 2019 as part of predictive maintenance in manufacturing. Smart sensors helped identify potential problems, and 3D printers built new parts before needing to be needed.

2020: Passwordless Authentication Hits Big Tech

10 Tech Disruptions 2020 Authentication
For many of us, forgetting our passwords is a daily occurrence, but those days may be behind us, thanks to the push for passwordless authentication in 2020. While the world stood still during the COVID-19 pandemic, big tech companies like Microsoft began to push for two-factor authentication and passwordless logins, and an identity management startup called Beyond Identity launched its passwordless identify platform in April. Companies like Adobe and Facebook began utilizing new security features to give us the luxury of forgetting those complicated passwords.

2021: IoT Builds the Virtual World

10 Tech Disruptions 2021 I Ot
Technology automation through IoT didn’t begin in 2021, but this year brought a boon for intelligent everything. The IoT connects objects in the real world—navigation systems, thermostats, your virtual assistant, Alexa—with virtual identifiers on the internet. These identifiers “talk” virtually to create a web of connections and collaborations between the devices. Although IoT has been used in home-based applications, 2021 brought the technology to new areas, including manufacturing, mining, and healthcare.

What’s next?

Tech disruptions in the 21st century have transformed our reality into a digital-first experience.  Technology is changing faster than ever. Backed by a confluence of all these giant leaps forward, the future is a brave new world. Our predictions for what’s next include:

  • Metaverse platforms may alter how, when, and where businesses interact with customers. Through extended reality, companies will offer new experiences and deliver information in novel ways.
  • First-party data is becoming the norm as Apple and Google have limited third-party tracking capabilities. The switch to a first-party data-driven world has considerable implications for development and marketing alike.
  • Seamless experiences are enabled by advances in data and connectivity. New tech will drive customers to seek increasingly conversational and personalized interactions with digital products and the companies that build them.

Could your digital product idea be the next big thing in your industry? At InspiringApps, we’re proud to help take our clients’ brilliant ideas and make them a reality. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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