Disrupting the crystal ball

What industry will be demolished by disruption in 2017?

1 January 2017
Brought to you by
Colin Thornton, Dial-a-Nerd (Karolina Komendera)

What product or service will cease to exist, or start hearing the bell toll for its demise? The experts, analysts and futurists have looked into their crystal balls, realised that this is outdated technology and replaced them with predictive analytics. Now they’re ready to reveal the industries, markets and products that will likely be disrupted in 2017, with insights powered by technology, driven by change and controlled by intelligent machines.

Digital business driven by AI

We think the biggest force coming at us is the rise of AI-assisted intelligent agents and robots.

Brian Hopkins, Forrester

Artificial intelligence (AI) is predicted to move from the speed of code development to the speed of data. Gartner has revealed that one of the megatrends it envisions for 2017 will be the emergence of machine learning and technology that evolves based on the information it gathers and analyses. It’s also set to move at a far more impressive pace thanks to the availability of data. Already, AI has been assimilated in solutions such as virtual personal assistances and chat bots, which are replacing people in call centres and on online help desks.

Forrester’s Brian Hopkins says: “We think the biggest force coming at us is the rise of AI-assisted intelligent agents and robots. It may mean the loss of a net 6% of jobs by 2021 and 7% by 2025, but the change won’t be evenly distributed. We will lose 14 to 16% of jobs that are easily automated, like call centre agents or taxi drivers, but gain jobs in technology and science.”

Biohacking will continue to grow in popularity

You need a lot of passwords for banking, shopping, living, and everything else in between. The challenge is that one slip of the data will see your accounts hacked, identity stolen and life in disarray – which is why biohacking is becoming less of a weird idea and more of a reality. In Sweden, a company called BioNyfiken has already helped more than 300 people embed NFC chips in their hands. They can unlock doors, open cars and access transport with just a wave of a hand. If this continues its rise, soon there’ll be no need for digital security hubs like Oracle, Facebook and Apple.

Welcome to the age of physital – where digital and physical combine to create a seamless cohesion.



Dave Nemeth, Trend Forward

Says Colin Thornton, MD of Dial-a-Nerd: “The extensions of this concept are huge. You can tap your hand to log into your banking, and even include chips to measure heart rate or cholesterol. The list goes on.”

People are a problem

Forrester analyst Brian Hopkins points out that people may well be the great disruptor over the next few years. While he doesn’t believe that there will be anything dramatic taking place in 2017, he says the fact that people are retiring later is going to knock the world a little bit to the left.

“People are healthier and have fewer savings, so they’re retiring later. As a result of this, and the growing impact of AI, there will be a surplus of workers. However, this could open new opportunities for disruptors who can leverage this resource,” he says.

Fintech fancies a turn
One of the biggest trends predicted for the next few years is the influx of fintech startups and their disruptive ideas, which are already shaking the financial industry’s foundations.

Says Paul Williams, country manager, SADC, Fortinet: “The emergence of fintech startups and new disruptive technologies is changing how banking is being done and the ways in which financial services are being delivered. Many banks are beginning to break down their internal business and technology silos, migrating legacy and transaction systems to more responsive solutions and exploring better ways of sharing customer data. Some are keeping up with innovation by experimenting with new technologies such as blockchain – the software behind bitcoin – and streamlining their IT operations.”

Traditional banks are facing tough times if they don’t pay attention. Most of the new startups that have hit the scene are, in essence, unbundling the bank, taking the services they offer and putting them into easier and more accessible packages that consumers prefer. It could perhaps see the end of the bank as it stands today, especially since the giants of technology such as Google and Apple are eyeing their slice of the proverbial pie.

“Conventional practices such as risk management and loan business are also facing disruption due to the pervasiveness of online crowd-sourced options to secure capital and funding as well as the use of algorithm-driven social business platforms to obtain insights into credit worthiness of individuals and organisations,” adds Mark Walker, IDC.

Physital becomes a real word

Says Dave Nemeth, trend forecaster and business consultant at Trend Forward and for Hansgrohe: “The focus in business will have to revolve around personalised service and attention. Consumers have to be treated as individuals as the days of generic services are coming to an end. This is relevant within banking and retail, both of which are taking strain for a host of reasons. Both these industries thought they could rely heavily on their digital presence, but will have to merge their physical environments to cater for true personalisation and also ensure they create a beyond average experience within these physical environments. Welcome to the age of physital – where digital and physical combine to create a seamless cohesion.”

Nemeth adds that it’s the Internet of Things (IoT) that is making this happen as connected devices change the way people interact with the world. One of his predictions for the future is the rise of the IoT bathroom with mirrors that allow users to check social media, email or the news while getting ready for the day ahead, among other such connected things.

Disruption is equal opportunity

Disruption is bubbling beneath the bases of big business, happily ignoring the realities of startups and technology. Clever ideas and technology are nibbling away at the edges of corporates, slowly eroding the edges of their value proposition.

According to Graeme Codrington, founder of TomorrowToday, while it is unlikely that any industries will collapse or emerge in the next two years, large-scale disruption is going to become commonplace in every industry, and for many organisations, it’s going to be too late for them to do anything about it.

Interior design and automobiles

Arthur Goldstuck, founder of World Wide Worx, suggests that the interior design profession is about to be shaken up by the new, young arrivals who know their way around the smarter home. “Of course, they will only have a short window of opportunity before the entire industry migrates to the interior design of self-driving cars.”

The self-driving car is hot on the list for most experts, with Codrington citing numerous examples of successful implementations, with driverless taxis already zooming about in Singapore, and Uber running a driverless taxi in Pittsburgh. Other than, why Pittsburgh, there is the question around the taxi industry…

“The metered taxi industry will probably mount an #ubermustfall campaign as it begins to succumb to the sheer volume of owner-drivers proliferating in all areas,” adds Goldstuck. “However, Uber is likely to have its own internal backlash as the sheer volume of owner-drivers makes the business unsustainable for some.”