What Emerging Tech Means for Business

What Emerging Tech Means for Business
Issue 8 // 3rd Quarter // 2014 Category:Business By: Jordan Raynor

The rate of change in technology today is unprecedented. Sometimes it is hard to determine which changes are fads and which have the possibility of being truly disruptive to business. In this edition of TwoTen Tech, I highlight three trends in technology that, on the surface, look like they were pulled from science fiction novels. But if these technologies do prevail over the next few years, they will dramatically disrupt businesses across many industries.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 ESV


What is it?
We are living in an increasingly programmable world where computers are no longer limited to controlling our experience on digital devices; they are also controlling our experience in the real world. “The Internet of Things” refers to the rising tide of “smart devices” that use the internet to enhance the physical world. Wired Magazine painted a picture of this future in 2013 saying, “Coffeepots that talk to alarm clocks. Thermostats that talk to motion sensors. Factory machines that talk to the power grid and to boxes of raw material. A decade after Wi-Fi put all our computers on a wireless network, we are seeing the dawn of an era when the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before.”

How can I apply it to my business?
The Internet of Things has already invaded the consumer electronics market with products like Nest’s Learning Thermostat, which “learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone.” Nest was recently acquired by Google, another piece of data pointing to the dramatic implications the Internet of Things will have on businesses in the future.


What is it?
Dictionary.com defines augmented reality as “an enhanced image or environment as viewed on a screen or other display, produced by overlaying computer-generated images, sounds, or other data on a real-world environment.” Sounds pretty boring when you put it like that, right? Well, augmented reality is anything but boring in 2014. It is finding amazing business applications across the globe.

How can I apply it to my business?
Roberta Firstenberg loved being outside in her garden, but her cancer quickly restricted her from doing so. Firstenberg’s granddaughter contacted Oculus Rift–the augmented reality company that Facebook recently purchased for $2 billion–to request a headset that would allow her grandmother to virtually roam around a Tuscan villa to ease her pain. This amazing application of augmented/virtual reality is just one example of this disruptive technology. Google Glass is another great example. Glass is a wearable computer with an optical headmounted display that shows the consumer information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format. Soon, consumers will be able to see your store from across the park and instantly see the hours of operation, your menu, reviews, and so on.


What are they?
No, I am not talking about Star Wars or cruise missiles. I am talking about the growing phenomenon of remote-controlled pilotless aircrafts called drones. This technology has been around for years, but the business applications of drones have been unclear until recently.

How can I apply it to my business?
The most high-profile business application of drones came recently from Amazon.com–the king of online retail. In December 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced an experimental program the company has been working on called Prime Air. The program will use drones to deliver packages up to five pounds to your doorstep in less than 30 minutes after you place your order on Amazon.com. For years, Amazon has been
disrupting the massive industry of retail. But this latest disruptive use of technology could be their biggest move yet, assuming they can clear the massive legal and regulatory hurdles, of course.


There’s no telling what disruptive technology (additive manufacturing, peer-to-peer payment systems, etc.) will change our businesses next. As leaders of Kingdom-minded organizations, it’s our unique responsibility to strive, press on, consider and evaluate the best ways to deploy emerging technologies into our companies, thereby properly aligning them for the future and God’s glory.