A disruptive technology could be defined as one that displaces an established technology, thereby shaking up an industry and reshaping the trajectory of its future. It could also be a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that we have seen a significant number of tech disruptions in a relatively short time. In honor of our ten-year anniversary as a company (today!!), we thought we would take a look back over the past ten years and highlight those technologies that have had – and continue to have – significant impact on the way we live, work, and play.
2007 Apple Introduces the iPhone
The first iPhone was released in June 2007, and a few months later, InspiringApps was founded. It’s hard to ignore the impact of this device. From transforming the conception of what a phone should do, to introducing the concept of an app (the basis for our business!), the iPhone surely revolutionized the future of mobile devices.
2008 The Apple App Store Opens
While the launch of the first Android phone (G1) in 2008 is certainly noteworthy, we think the opening of the Apple App Store claims the title of the top tech disruption for 2008. We’re undoubtedly biased on this one, but the opening of the store officially introduced third-party app development and distribution to the platform, creating the industry that’s near and dear to our heart. The growth of available apps is testimony to its impact… the Apple App Store launched with a mere 552 apps, but today boasts over 2 million apps – with another 3 million available in Google Play.
2009 Twitter Goes Mainstream
This was a big year for tech disruptions! Spotify changed the landscape of music streaming, GPS became available on phones, and the video-on-demand market began to explode globally. While these advancements were significant, we feel the expansion of Twitter into mainstream use was the most noteworthy. Twitter allows us to surround ourselves virtually with interesting people, be informed of breaking news instantly, track trends, and contact a company easily…all in 140 characters.
2010 Kickstarter Changes Fundraising
Before the advent of the most disruptive technology for this year, entrepreneurs had to hit up friends and family for cash or work with venture capitalists. Kickstarter turned old-fashioned fundraising upside-down, allowing people to post an idea to see if it gained traction. Not only did Kickstarter open up new possibilities for the entrepreneur to gain funding, it also provided opportunities for many more people to evaluate and invest in new ideas.
Side Note: As mobile developers, we do also need to give a shout out to the fact that the first iPad was released this year as well, giving us a bigger canvas to design and develop apps.
2011 Voice Technology Takes Hold
The year of the voice! Both Apple and Google released voice technology for mobile devices and the buzz around Siri was big. The introduction of Siri and Google Now changed our expectations for interacting with our devices, a trend that continues today. The ongoing interest and impact of voice-enabled devices earns “voice tech” our vote for 2011’s tech disruption.
2012 Google Glass Influences Wearable Tech
While we were enthralled when the sophisticated rover, Curiosity, landed on Mars, the top tech for earth dwellers this year was Google Glass. 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 normal way of thinking about wearable technology and in extension, Augmented Reality (AR).
2013 Smartwatches Tell More than Time
This year brought the some high-tech jewelry into our lives with the introduction of the smartwatch. The Pebble Technology Corporation raised over $10M 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
Amazon Echo barreled into our lives this year, causing us to re-think how we might use technology in our homes. Powered by Amazon’s voice control system Alexa, the Echo started with just a few smart 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 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
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. While still far from being realized, consumers have benefitted from numerous changes in car technology (think adaptive speed tech, proximity sensors, guidance systems, etc) as manufacturers pursue after achieving this vision. We think this reshaping of the automotive industry deserves a call-out.
2016 Oculus Rift Opens up Virtual Reality
The concept of Virtual Reality has been around for decades, and offers increasing value in everything from military training to surgery simulation to product development and testing. It’s availability to consumers, though, 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 wider audience – it’s hard not to enjoy (or laugh with?) someone experiencing VR for the first time!
2017 Machine Learning Looks to the Future
Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially as it plays out in the sphere of Machine Learning, is on the rise, so we’ll wrap up our list on disruptive technologies with this up-and-coming tech. With numerous large companies investing billions of dollars on research in this field, it’s poised to impact how we do life in coming decades. Applications include everything from automating tasks using bots, to enabling computers to answer complex multi-tiered questions by “learning” from previous queries.
All in all, a pretty impressive decade. We’re grateful for not only the amazing tech disruptions that have occurred during this time, but also for the opportunity to work with so many amazing clients. We’d love for you to be our client in the next decade – please get in touch if you have an idea to discuss!