Is your business tech-savvy enough?

New technologies are emerging and flourishing at a staggering rate. You're still showing off the phone you just bought when 2 new versions pop up on the market. What impact does having to adapt to these rapidly evolving technologies have on businesses across different fields, not to mention on every part of our lives?

Joëlle Noreau, Senior Economist at Desjardins and author of a study on the subject, explains that these technologies are called "'disruptive' [because they ...] disrupt the established order." They force companies to change and adapt to keep pace.

Fix it even if it's not broken

You've come a long way, worked hard, put in the time over the last 10, 20, 30 or 40 years and built your business. Now someone's threatening to pull the rug out from under you. How? By putting new technologies to good use. So what can you do to protect yourself? Know and understand these new technologies and find out which ones can benefit your business. Embrace them and join the party!

The main disruptive technologies to look out for

Artificial intelligence: Technology that mimics the workings of the human brain

Connected objects: Objects that have their own identities and can communicate with each other

Advanced robotics: Highly sophisticated robots with the ability to take an initiative

Virtual and augmented reality: Technology that creates new realities, offering people new experiences

Measuring the effects on businesses, the economy and society

According to experts, these technologies have enormous potential. To tap into it, we need to know how to use them effectively and to analyze their impact on individuals and society.

Expected and potential impacts

  • Disappearance of certain jobs and creation of others
  • Financial and other issues related to the distribution of technology-driven gains
  • Potential increases in profits and wages
  • Shifting from material to immaterial: newspaper and magazines being replaced by their web versions, online courses instead of classrooms and virtual shops taking place of a street address
  • Changes in interactions between people and their suppliers of goods and services
  • Heightened competition as a result of easier price comparison for consumers
  • Reduced production costs for manufacturers

Managing new risks

While the prognosis on how new technologies will influence the economy and population well-being is positive, individuals, businesses and governments need to keep asking the following questions to mitigate the negative impacts of technologies capable of affecting so much change:

  • How do we protect privacy and the security of information stored in databases?
  • What rules do we need to establish to protect intellectual property in collaborative work?
  • How will factory workers cope with collaborative robots with the ability to take an initiative?
  • What limits do we need to set on advanced and ethically questionable genetic research, for example, in the field of health?
  • What new training requirements will we need for employees working alongside robots or other entities created by disruptive technologies?

Many of these questions remain unanswered as technologies continue to evolve. In short, the discussion has only just begun. Will you jump on the bandwagon of disruptive technologies?

For more information, see  - This link will open in a new window.Disruptive Technologies: Questions That Go beyond the Economy.