One of the biggest buzzwords over the past few years has been “disruption.”
Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry. Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry. Now agile young startups are racing to disrupt slow-moving industries with poor technology. It seems almost every industry has faced the prospect of disruption lately.
As more and more people have access to the internet in their pockets, industries that are too stuck in their ways will cede territory and market share to companies willing to take calculated risks.
As we start 2017, here are the three industries I believe are ripe for disruption this year.
With an increasing number of millennials (and someday soon, Gen Z) entering the housing market, they’re not going to want to go through the agonizing process of buying through a Realtor.
This is the generation that has grown accustomed to using an app to have an UberX on demand at all times and relies on technology to get things done — not a convoluted, outdated process. People have warmed up to a peer-to-peer transaction format, where a buyer and a seller work out a deal.
The real estate market is just waiting to be disrupted. Through websites such as Zillow, potential buyers can know just about everything about a house. There’s so much information out there that spending 5% on a broker, and going through a Realtor who just wants to get you into a house for the commission is a process that badly needs to be rebuilt.
Most buyers would rather just talk with the seller directly to figure out a deal. With primitive sites like Craigslist the main way to accomplish this, real estate is ready for a technological revolution. Imagine one day shopping for a condo or home the same way you check Amazon for the best prices on iPads.
Going hand-in-hand with the real estate market, construction is another area ready to be disrupted in 2017.
Poor construction with bloated costs and constant delays has long been a drain on cities. There has to be a better way.
While projects may start out budget-friendly, costs quickly spiral out of control. According to McKinsey, large construction projects usually take 20 percent longer to finish than originally scheduled — and end up 80 percent over budget.
So why do we still rely on this inconvenient process to build homes, buildings, and skyscrapers? With 3D printing gaining more prominence, why are we still reliant on depleting natural resources for construction?
There could be a better way: homeowners could connect with builders via a mobile app, getting real-time updates. Contractors could bring up potential roadblocks and speed bumps before they happen, giving homeowners the ability to tap or swipe their decisions. This would cut back on meetings, allowing homeowners to be a part of the process.
Construction companies could also rely on higher-definition surveying and geolocation, greater digital collaboration, a greater embrace of analytics and future-proof design.
Construction badly needs a digital revolution. McKinsey listed the construction industry as one of the least-digitized verticals in the country.
This problem isn’t going to go away, especially with the increased focus on green-friendly building processes and a rapidly-crumbling infrastructure. Disruption in the construction industry could be just the thing we all need.
When you go on Eat24 or Seamless, you can see an itemized menu. You know exactly how much that California burrito will cost.
When you go into the hospital, you have no idea how much a procedure or medication will cost until after. It might also have taken you months to get this appointment, and you’ll likely have little to no contact with your doctor until the next time you see her.
The U.S. is falling behind many developed countries in the quality and cost of healthcare we provide. Much like with construction, bloated costs and bulky technology are making life worse for billions of people.
While a grand-scale disruption could prove too big a task, more agile hospitals, and health care centers can embrace technology to provide a better service to patients.
A technological revolution is brewing, though. According to Forbes, the global growth rate of artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector is expected to reach 42 percent by 2021. In the next three years, chronic conditions such as cancer or diabetes can be diagnosed in minutes using 3D scanning technology.
Forbes notes that by 2025, AI systems should be implemented in 90 percent of the hospitals in the U.S., delivering more easily accessible and cheaper care to 70 percent of patients.
McKinsey analysis shows that the healthcare sector is definitely ready for disruption. Productivity improvement rates fell 0.8 percent from 1970 through 2007, while employment grew an average of 3 percent over that same time period.
Hospitals and healthcare providers have started to embrace technology, but widespread adoption still needs to take place. While many hospitals have already launched mobile apps, sharing general information and health tips, I’d love to see this go a step further.
Imagine being able to schedule appointments or email your physician through your hospital’s app. I dream of the day when you can easily access information such as specific procedure costs or see what your insurance plan covers through a mobile app.