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Top 14+ iDisrupt – Businesses disrupted by smartphones and tablet-PC

Businesses disrupted by smartphones and tablet-PC

The goal of disruptive companies is to challenge the conventional market and create a new one.

Who are the movers, the shakers, the companies that affect profound change? And what products do they bring to market that disrupt all others, making other companies completely re-think their strategies?

Skype is a great example of a company which has absolutely changed the model of communications – not only did they take many billions of dollars out of the market for long-distance calling they also became a major video player before most carriers had a chance to come up with similar services they could have theoretically charged for.

iDisrupt - Businesses disrupted by smartphones and tablet-PC

Companies such as Amazon, Skype, Netflix, Spotify, Apple and Google rolled out products and services that approached their market in such a unique way that they changed everything. Smartphones and tablet-PC have already disrupted or is disrupting many different business. The potential to disrupt several other businesses is huge, so is the opportunity for incumbents to adopt the smartphones and tablet-PC before more agile start-ups disrupt their business.

iDisrupt #1 – Alarm clock

Alarm clock apps. are replacing traditional alarm clocks

Businesses disrupted by smartphones and tablet-PC - Alarm clock

iDisrupt #2 – Cash and credit cards

Cash and credit are no longer king, although both will survive in the short- (and probably long-) term as a result of concerns about privacy (e.g., anonymity) and security (e.g., cybercrime). As smartphones have become increasingly advanced and ubiquitous, consumers now look to them to serve yet another function: their wallet. This is one disruption that has just begun. The smartphone could one day make credit cards obsolete.

iDisrupt #3 – Digital calculators

You can get all kinds of scientific and financial calculator apps for your smartphone. The arrival of cheap laptops and netbooks began this disruption, the smartphone with its portability is completing it.

iDisrupt #4 – Digital cameras

Smartphones has become an apt substitute. Instagram, Google+ and Facebook have photos as their main target for social sharing, digital cameras just cannot keep up. Today, many consumers do not carry digital cameras, as the cameras in their cell phones are “good enough.”

iDisrupt #5 – Document scanning

With high-resolution auto-focus lenses and intelligent graphics processing, apps are able to scan documents really well.

iDisrupt #6 – Ebook

Brick-and-mortar book stores are in serious trouble. Products like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s own Nook, Apple’s iPad and smartphones can display e-books downloaded online. Once readers have more time to adjust to these technologies, brick-and-mortar book stores will likely see their profits decline even further.

At some point the ebook will become the publishing market’s primary engine. Authors will go digital-first and the most successful will land a traditional book deal with legacy publishers.

iDisrupt #7 – GPS devices

Dedicated GPS devices are slowly becoming niche devices. Most smartphones have built-in GPS and apps for turn-by-turn navigation. They can also record your route so that you can retrace you steps during biking and hiking trips.

iDisrupt #8 – Landlines

A decade ago it would have been unthinkable to suggest an office without telephones. Now it’s hard to imagine being separated from our smartphones.

Mobile connections to the internet are getting better by the day, and almost everywhere we go we’re able to check-in at the office, social networking sites, or simply contact friends and family. Because of this, businesses have recognised the importance of the mini-computers that smartphones have essentially become. This is leading us to rely increasingly on our smartphones and less on our landlines.

iDisrupt #9 – Marine navigation

More and more customers are replacing there expensive – $400 – $600 – marine navigation unit with a $20 iPad app that works better.

Businesses disrupted by smartphones and tablet-PC - Navigation

iDisrupt #10 – Medical devices

Smartphones are becoming and will become part of future so-called mobile health (mHealth) solutions. The sheer number of apps appearing is quite extraordinary. The impact of this on well established value chains is frightening.

In the future, everything that can be done digitally will be done digitally. Digital health apps will schedule appointments, tell you the doctor is running late, help monitor medications’ side effects, and help you follow your care plan accurately. These changes will engage patients with their health and healthcare in new ways.

iDisrupt #11 – Personal computers

Is the iPad going to be another classic example of disruptive innovation for the PC in the same way that the PC disrupted the mainframe and mini computer market? It sure seems to be on the right track. The tablet-PC’s doesn’t offer all the power and functionality of the PC but what it does offer is enough to make people want to use the device in similar yet different ways than the PC.

iDisrupt #12 – Printing

Why print if you can take the document everywhere?

Instead of carrying their traditional flight bags, weighed over 30 pounds, pilots of United, Continental Airlines and Alaska Airlines, will now carry an ipad which would replace the operating menus and other mandatory equipment.


The iPads contain an app called GoodReader that is loaded with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards, and other materials. The electronic manuals include hyperlinks and color graphics, enabling pilots to find information faster and easier. Updating these reference materials can now be accomplished with one tap on the iPad screen instead of the former, labor-intensive process of replacing individual pages with new ones (AlaskaAir)

British Airways cabin crew are using iPads which store customer information, including where passengers are seated, their Executive Club status and any special meal requests on the flight.

The iPads also replace the need for pen and paper, as cabin crew can refresh their tablets and retrieve an updated list of boarded passengers as the aircraft doors close. Traditionally, cabin crew are handed a paper list of passenger names.

The tablets will remove the need for handbooks, as crew will have access to timetables and safety manuals at the touch of a button. The crew will also be able to log any customer issues with ground-based colleagues while airborne.

iDisrupt #13 – Portable measurements

Smartphones and tablets have the potential to replace traditional handheld meters for portable measurements.


iDisrupt #14 – The radio

The smartphone did not disrupt the radio obviously, but the smartphone is disrupting whatever dedicated radio hardware still sells. Most broadcast radio now also streams over the internet.


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About the author
Torben Rick Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland

About the author
Torben Rick Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland

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