Breakthroughs that change our lives
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The wheel, the light bulb, and the cellphone are three examples of disruptive technologies. At the time, these innovations caused a profound break with previous patterns, bringing about major changes in people's lives.
For this to happen, disruptive companies adopt business models that allow them to innovate in the market. That's why one of their most valuable assets is their Research and Development (R&D) department, a division that aims to develop new products or improve existing ones in order to cover a need in society.
What does innovation or disruptive technology mean?
Disruptive innovation is defined as technology that is capable of disrupting an already established market by following a set of patterns. An innovation that is originally focused on a niche and with the passing of time achieves a good share of the market, overtaking the previous one.
Harvard Business School professor and business consultant, Clayton Christensen, coined the term “disruptive innovation” in the magazine Harvard Business Review back in 1995.
For Christensen, technology that causes a relevant change and abruptly interrupts the way in which industries, companies, and consumers operate constitutes a disruptive innovation. This process represents a period of adaption such as what we are experiencing with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, marked by digitalization and emerging technological advances.
A good example is personal computers, as the technological advancement in this field shows clear disruptive elements. If we take a look back, we see how computers completely transformed our way of studying, working, and spending leisure time. Schools and families wanted to buy a computer, increasing demand, and as a result, the typewriter began to fall into disuse, thus producing notable changes in the market.
Examples of disruptive technologies
For a technology to be considered disruptive it has to modify a habit or behavior and be accessible to the majority of the population. Many of them are closely related to the so-called professions of the future. Let’s find out some characteristics of the current disruptive technologies.
Blockchain technology is applied in a digitalized workflow to create shared, transparent, and more secure processes. It works like a chain of blocks in which all nodes are connected to each other, so it guarantees the traceability of any process, creating a unique registration network that reduces risks and costs.
What does incorporating 5G technology imply? In the last year a lot has been spoken about this topic, as it will mean a change in the telecommunications sector. 5G will definitively introduce the Internet of Things (IoT) into our daily lives. This disruptive technology will make it possible for all devices to be connected and share information at high speed.
When we speak about Advanced Virtual Reality, we associate this concept with entertainment. However, this technology represents an authentic revolution in many other areas. For example, at Repsol we are working with the Digital Twins technique to model our plants. This allows us to create a virtual simulation model to be more flexible and agile in the face of possible changing circumstances.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the combination of algorithms that are programmed so that a machine carries out actions that until now were carried out by humans, such as learning from data analysis or planning. Machine Learning is a discipline within the AI field that allows computers to learn for themselves and carry out tasks autonomously.
Cloud services, also known as cloud computing, allow files to be saved on the internet without needing external storage equipment. This disruptive technology represents great advantages for companies because it allows users to enjoy management tools from any place in the world by just connecting from their device.
Nanotechnology is the study and manipulation of matter in very small sizes (between one and one hundred nanometers). This disruptive technology will allow stronger, lighter, and tougher materials to be generated than those currently used. Graphene is a good example of this revolutionary innovation with applications in areas such as energy, personal care products, food and pharmaceutical product packaging, and much more.
Big Data collects and manages large volumes of data that are then analyzed and applied to a specific area. We can say that it is a smart analysis tool to make more profitable and efficient decisions. This disruptive technology represents a great competitive advantage for companies because it reduces costs, saves time, decreases margin for error in processes, and improves the quality of the final product.
3D printing promises big advances in very diverse areas: electronic engineering, automotive, jewelery, architecture, regenerative medicine, and even in the food sector, with the printing of edible items. This technology represents a big change in the development of products and in its manufacturing process, as it allows us to quickly test an idea, continuously produce, and reduce costs in the construction of prototypes.
Cybersecurity or technology security is the set of processes and tools that are implemented to save information that any device, program, or company generates. With the use of network systems, software, and applications, the execution of security protocols is necessary to protect confidential, private, or sensitive information.
Quantum computing contributes to solving complex problems and creating effective algorithms in little time. This paradigm allows information to be processed at very high levels with multiple applications. For example, in the area of health, it could contribute to creating new personalized pharmaceuticals. And in the finance sector, it could accurately anticipate changes in the market.
Hyper-personalization can create a unique and exclusive service or product for each customer. Using Artificial Intelligence, and real-time data, companies can create super-personalized strategies and improve user experience. This type of innovation has broad applications in the marketing and communication world.
Almost everyone has had some experience with chatbots or virtual assistants, technologies that offer 24/7 customer service. However, there are differences between them. Chatbots are software that maintain a conversation with a person automatically and autonomously. While a smart assistant carries out a series of questions to find out the user’s likes and interacts in a more natural way, simulating a real conversation, as if it were with a real person.
Smart cities are those cities that apply Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve its infrastructure, mobility, and public services. The aim of Smart Cities is to place people at the center of ecodesign and sustainable development, creating a value network and improving the quality of life of citizens.
Computational chemistry uses methods and programs to solve specific chemistry problems, saving time and resources. Instead of carrying out multiple experiments at the laboratory, appropriate parameters are entered into the computer to predict what formula would be the most optimal. Furthermore, this disruptive technology is also useful for understanding the reactions that occur in flasks in the field of experimental chemistry.
Digital fingerprinting is a security system that verifies the identity of a person using an electronic device with the aim of defending copyright. To control the unauthorized copy of content, a series of bits are introduced into a medium (for example, a DVD, Blu-ray, or pen drive) that detects unauthorized copies.