Here at Avionos we work with clients who seek to make strides in what is known as digital disruption. But what is digital disruption really? How can we apply it as consumers? How does it impact our daily lives? Let’s dive deeper into what digital disruption is and focus on three companies that have made huge progress in this space: Amazon, Skype, and Uber.
Digital disruption is defined as “the change that occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.” Ten to fifteen years ago, if you needed a product that you couldn’t find at your local mall or corner store, you might have to special order it from a catalog or drive to another city to find it. If you had an important business meeting with someone halfway across the country, your only viable option was to travel to them which wasn’t always the most cost effective way of doing things. What if you needed to get into the city and your car was broken down, or maybe you didn’t own one? You’d have to somehow hail a taxi, get to a bus or train station, or call someone for a ride. Not ideal options depending on where you live or the kindness of others.
In today’s modern world, all three of those problems can be solved with the click of a mouse or a few taps on your smartphone. Jeff Bezos has scaled Amazon from a simple bookseller with a website to the largest online retailer in the world. You can now find almost any product imaginable and it can be at your doorstep within 24-48 hours (if you are an Amazon Prime customer) with a few taps from your phone via Amazon’s mobile app. The innovations Amazon has made have been an absolute game-changer in the last decade. They have optimized their order fulfillment process to the point of hyper automation to where no human hands touch your package until it arrives to you. The sheer volume of products they can offer and sell allow them the competitive advantage of being able to price them at a point where now major retailers like Target will now price match Amazon. The concept of “showrooming” came to be due to Amazon’s effect on the marketplace. With showrooming, a customer will check out a high ticket item like a television at a brick and mortar retailer like Best Buy, but then make the actual purchase with Amazon. Amazon will almost always offer the best price and buying online is completely hassle free. Consumers love a hassle free experience and the stress of having to deal with a salesperson in a store is enough to drive them away, even if it means they have to wait for their purchase to be delivered. Amazon continues to innovate with the concept of Amazon Prime Air which will deliver products to you with an hour. Amazon also has a patent on the concept of “predictive ordering” where they will have products ready to ship prior to you even ordering them.
Skype has revolutionized long distance calling and broken the barriers that existed for meetings with live video chat. If you have relatives in another country, it would cost you a pretty penny to talk to them regularly. I have personal experience with this as my family is Polish and most of my relatives still live in Poland. When I was younger, phone bills of $100 or more weren’t unexpected when my parents would call relatives on weekends or holidays. Now all of that can be done at nearly zero cost with a good internet connection and a laptop or some other connected device. Now people no longer have to worry about how long they’ve been on the phone or how expensive the next bill will be. Even the old fashioned way of calling has been disrupted with carriers such as Vonage offering rates to landlines in Poland at only three cents per minute. The application for businesses is also key as Skype and other brands such as Join Me and Go To Meeting now offer a simple solution to the problem of multiple people in multiple locations needing to huddle up for an important meeting. Now travel isn’t the one and only option. With video chat and conferencing, you can collaborate, share and discuss from your office or the comfort of your own home even.
Even transportation has been disrupted thanks to companies such as Uber and Lyft. Now you never have to dread being stuck somewhere or taking an overpriced cab to get from place to place. Uber and Lyft have grown to the point where you can get a ride somewhere in ten minutes or less (even if you live in the suburbs like I do). The transportation sector has been so affected by the ride sharing industry that many cities and taxi companies have fought Uber in court to prevent them from entering the market. This was very prevalent in Las Vegas, where taxis have a stranglehold on business at all the major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. Uber won the right to operate in Las Vegas late last year and it has been a game changer for the city. I was in Las Vegas earlier this summer and used Uber exclusively to get around. You are guaranteed a more affordable, clean, and comfortable ride. This is something no taxi company can guarantee. I now use Uber or Lyft in any situation where I don’t feel like driving or when I know I want to enjoy a night out and not have to worry about getting myself home later on. This is another sector ripe with innovation as Uber and Lyft are looking at implementing driver-less cars in the future and even flying cars (no that wasn’t a typo, they’re actually looking at ways to put cars into the sky!)
With these innovations and more to come down the line, digital disruption is something that companies shouldn’t fear. Instead they should look to ride the wave of new trends and continually establish and practice a culture of innovation so they can create the next “game changer” that people will be talking about.