Index of 2013 Disruptive Technologies

Lightning city
Above: Like lightning, digital technologies jolt us with energy, the savvy will harness their energy, those who ignore, risk danger.

One Line Goal:  List disruptive technologies in 2013 on one page, with your help in the comments.

The number of technologies that are creating disruptions to companies and ecosystems are increasing at an alarming rate. Even though Altimeter rated the technologies that matter from last week’s SXSW, we see even more technologies emerging on the heels of mobile world congress, and CES. Expect even more technologies to emerge, radically altering the power shift of those who use these technologies to gain power over existing institutions.

In an attempt to track and then analyze these technologies, I’ll host the following “industry index”, where I list out examples, and the community adds to it in comments. I’ve done this multiple times over previous years, which often results in discrete research projects, market definition reports, and ratings and rankings of technology vendors.

I’ve kicked off the list with 10 technologies I see (with help from colleague Chris Silva), and at Altimeter, we’ve embarked on looking at research themes that impact business. With your help through the comments, we can keep this list updated for the year.

Index: 2013 Disruptive Technologies 

Disruptive Technology Description Example
Proximity Based Communications Devices that capture and analyze a set of sensors, providing intelligence based on context of people, place, and time in a detailed manner Mobile devices that use Indoor Positioning Systems IPS, NFC, RFID, mobile/social data, and Wifi networks can identify a consumer as they move through a showroom floor, down to the inch.
3D Printing Technology that empowers manufacturing of 3D objects and production anywhere. MakerBot, 3D systems, Affinia, Formlabs, Stratasys, and now replicator technology quickly scans, and copies a 3D item.
Collaborative Consumption Web and mobile apps that enable users to share, rent, borrow, and gift products and services with low friction transactions. AirBnb, Lyft, Uber, see my list of 200, and brand examples.
Gesture Based Interfaces Technology that senses movement, and causes digital systems to respond.  Computer interfaces and sensors will emerge causing  keyboards and mice to fade away. Leap, Kinnect and other technologies give path to a minority report experience.  Eye tracking software such as Tobbi and retina tracking software even in store emerge.
Augmented Reality A layer of information is placed on top of our reality plan, using digital glasses, empowering users to access  and transmit real time digital information. Google Glass (we’re on beta test list) will emerge and empower consumers to access Google interfaces as they traverse world.
Virtual Reality Unlike Augmented Reality, this is an immersive experience across many senses that digital replicates sight, sound, feel. Oculus Rift, Stanfords VR Lab (I’ve visited) provide immersive headsets that simulate a world
Quantified Self Also called wearable computing, these body reading sensors harvest, analyze, and provide insight to how our bodies are working. Body API, Nike Fuel Band, Nike+, Fitbit Garmin, Runkeeper, most mobile devices track our movements.
Quantified World, Internet of Things Technologies that capture data from around the world, cities, and nature to analyze and predict future patterns. Open data economy, data in mobile networks and mobile devices, telematics in cars, Nest thermostat, and thousands of other sensors are actively collecting data and altering our world. hat tip Michael Fraietta for IOT reference.
Digital Screen Experiences There are evolutions happening to digital screens, from flexible screens that can morph to anything, to digital output devices everywhere, and 3D technology. 4k resolution (higher res than HDTV), 3D TVs, flexible OLED screens
Power Everywhere Wireless power, solar power, and efficient power sources enable transportation, devices, enable more computing, sensing, and information spread. Powermat, Powertrekk, eCoupled provide wireless power
Drones and Automated Robots Technology is empowering for humans to man aerial drones to also create self-driving cars, warehouse robots, and more. The impacts to business, technology, government, privacy, and warfare are just starting to surface. ARDrone (I owned version 1), Google’s self driving car, and Amazon’s robot warehouse are just the start of the automated planet. Submission provided by Annalie Killian
Leave a comment below ? ?

Next Steps
These technologies will continue to arrive at an accelrated pace, while many corporations will not be able to react to these companies, there’s already a growing list of companies that are investing in physical innovation labs. I kicked off this list with 10 distinct technology sets, I look forward to reading your comments, and adding them to this list. I’ll be sure to credit those who participate.

Image Credits used with creative commons attribution by WVS

63 Replies to “Index of 2013 Disruptive Technologies”

  1. I’d add wireless device interoperability. Samsung recently released phone got lots of coverage but one feature was overlooked. Via a wireless adapter it can send its content to other screens. Now those games you play on your phone, those videos you shoot can be viewed on a big screen without cables. Revolutionary, no, but definitely evolutionary and a step closer to all devices talking to each other.

  2. The internet of things. Open-sourced computers and microcontrollers increasingly becoming attached to and embedded within physical items. Contributes heavily to the quantified world. Combine with 3D printing and crowd-funding for manufacturing disruption. Arduino, Buglabs.

  3. Are we ignoring the “connect anywhere even faster” access that is the foundation of a few of these disruptive technologies?
    I group into that pervasive coverage of 4G tech, airplane wifi and ubiquitous city wide area networks… Expect disruption as vehicles, throughfares, retail establishments and venues become equipped which facilitates proximity based ID, intelligence and communications (#1) – handhelds are the connectors, but the network improvements / enhancements will provide the connections.

  4. Personal Business Intelligence. Empowered mobile employees are adopting new tools to help them manage their personal and business information without having to search using disparate tools or disconnected information sources. It was difficult enough when we were trying to process 100s of emails/day. Now more and more of our critical information is scattered across different systems and no one can find the critical piece of information when they need it most.

  5. Hey Jeremiah,
    I have crazy respect for what you do, there is a much better way to create, organize, update and share this incredible list and idea throughout the entire year in 2013 besides using comment’s.

  6. While this method has worked well for me for half a decade (crowd based submissions, then editorial curation) I’m always open to ideas on how to improve Tom. What method do you suggest?

  7. I would add the use of Prediction Markets to augment (and eventually replace) focus groups / surveys because prediction markets can provide both a quantitative feedback loop (in the form of accurately forecasted outcome based on the “wisdom of crowds”) and also qualitative feedback loops (in the form of actionable insights from the participants while forecasting outcomes and ranking preferences).

  8. Thanks Michael! I had “Quantified World” up there, which had some of those elements. I appended it with IOT, as they’re very very much related. Shouted to you too.

  9. It’s like Google Now and others that give/predict what you need before you need it. Based on a “once and done” model of a setup & then the service runs on its own accessing your information & global info. It looks on your behalf and removes something a user used to think about even sending notifications when needed. Ideally, it keeps learning and getting better over time

  10. It’s like Google Now and others that give/predict what you need before you need it. Based on a “once and done” model of a setup & then the service runs on its own accessing your information & global info. It looks on your behalf and removes something a user used to think about even sending notifications when needed. Ideally, it keeps learning and getting better over time

  11. Emotional Graph. “Like” is emotive, but primitive. We’re feeling creatures that think, but systems today are designed for and by gears of thought. In the near future an emotional graph will emerge with far greater bonding ability. A shared experience won’t be just a documented experience. It will convey reservoirs of feelings. Also will mean far greater consumption satisfaction when products & services are designed from this emotional graph outward. Not worthy of your 2013 list. But worth a thought… if the above has excited you emotionally.

  12. You should check out Aurasma for the augmented reality section. It’s a powerful tool and doesn’t have the Mark Hurst privacy issues that Glass does.

  13. Hi Jeremiah:

    I’m excited to see your interest in this topic of networked communities and the business evolution being fueled by new applications of technology.

    At Ariba, we’re passionate about this topic. While we’ve seen different phrases used to describe this evolution (both Forbes and The Economist have used the term “shared economy”), we feel the term “Networked Economy” is the most comprehensive way to describe the new reality of business.

    Here are a few examples I’ve come across to include in your list:

    – CircleUp and SoMoLend were recently profiled in the NYT as examples of networked communities of investors providing small business lending.

    – 225 Fund and Smallknot also seek to fill a void in financing neighborhood businesses that isn’t typically facilitated by banks. Both were featured in Entrepreneur Magazine.

    – Farmingo connects shoppers directly to local farmers, providing an alternative marketplace for fresh produce.

    – As one of the larger online marketplaces, Etsy enables craft artisans to connect with shoppers who appreciate handmade products.

    Each of these examples is powered by networks that bring communities together to engage in commerce. Your list has a strong emphasis on business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer marketplaces. But this networked effect permeates all aspects of business activity in our connected world.

    I invite you to look at Ariba as a prime business-to-business example. We host the world’s largest B2B commerce network, with more than $400 billion in transaction volume. We would enjoy talking with you about your research and the evolution of business in a networked world. Our thought-leadership blog, The Networked Economy, offers more insights on the dynamics we see taking place.

    Thanks again for highlighting this topic.

    Debbie Curtis-Magley
    Ariba Online Community Manager
    @Ariba and @DebCM

  14. Emotion recognition. The universe of nonverbal communication is missing from computers, with the exception of primitive symbols like emoticons. Yet roughly 80 of communication is nonverbal. New technologies such as facial coding combined with common smartphone and tablet cameras are enabling apps, hardware, even robots to recognize and respond to human emotional reaction. It’s early, but 2013 will be a critical year for the earliest commercial applications.

  15. I think one of the most disruptive technology is free education web platform. Starting by moodle and transform it into coursera or khan academy by instan, it´s going to change the way people get a degree and moreover I think is going to be a great breakthrough in all level of education front primary to PHD level

  16. 3d printing is disruptive, but has been around a while, same with drones, they were disruptive in the late 90’s, and again when the Hellfire missile was strapped to it in 2003 or 4. Micro drones are disruptive, now. Flexible OLED displays will be disruptive, but not quite yet. Most of these others I have not heard of. Other disruptive technologies not listed included engineered tissues, the convergence of imaging systems, tunable VCEL lasers.

  17. Nano-robotics from my side for addition, intelligence to the micron! applications ranging from micro-surgery to micro-construction and sensor-gathering right within the human bloodstream…

  18. Nanotechnology, materials can now be modified at a molecular level to create new, better “ideal” materials such as the ultra ever dry polymer which is resistant to bacteria, moist and dust, with ideal applications in construction, healthcare and even in the fashion design business and many many others

  19. Teleportation –

    “Scientists in Cambridge have made a quantum leap that could lead to the creation of futuristic, superfast computers capable of teleportation.

    Experts from Cambridge University and other researchers around the world are trying to find a way of teleporting quantum information “ sending huge amounts of data at incredible speed from one place to another.”

    Teleportation could change the way we currently share info and open a new era in communications and data travel.

    Comment by: Tito Sosa

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