2016 saw significant investment in emerging technologies across industry, some of which are or will become disruptive innovations. 3D printing exploded this past year and is poised to disrupt the construction industry; big car companies are playing catch-up with Tesla and Google in the self-driving car field; the Internet of Things is extending to every conceivable device not already connected to the web; innovative software and online applications are drastically changing markets or creating new ones. This is where equalizer apps become necessary for companies to maintain relevance when faced with a competitor’s disruptive technology.
When new innovation is introduced to a given market to great effect, competitor response must grow concurrently or risk rapid aging and eventual disuse.
Uber is disruptive because it quickly changed the status quo of commercial urban transportation. But as Uber grew, we saw concurrent investment on the part of taxi companies to create apps of their own. Agencies in charge of bringing taxis companies up to speed did not mimic Uber so much as counter it by addressing the primary positioning factor: customers’ perceived technological convenience. We call these rejoinder applications equalizer apps, because they essentially equalize the playing field to safeguard relevance of older solutions (i.e. traditional taxis).
The problem is how to remain competitive. Taxi unions around the world first responded by protesting and reverting to law in attempts to sustain monopolies on the urban transport market. But technological innovation that consumers love can’t be stopped, so it must be matched.
The solution: Equalizer Apps
Disruptive technology always leads to value creation, even where the technology already exists. Ford pioneered the affordable Model-T thirty years after the automobile was first brought to market. The latter did not replace horse buggies overnight, but the former did. Horse buggy companies that couldn’t make the transition to auto were driven out of business.
In 2017, most innovations that drive change within established industries are based on new software and applications. Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans is a powerful example of how the right application will streamline customer journeys and up the ante on user experience. Other mortgage companies stuck in the old ways need to reach out to experts who’ll learn the market, analyze the competition, and propose an equalizer app to bring them up to par.
The axiom holds true: adapt or dissolve.
What does an equalizer app do?
Equalizer apps are born after investigation reveals why a disruptive app is successful. It is not about copying the new tech. It’s about matching the new standard it sets, and improving it where opportunity exists. In this respect, an equalizer app matches the disruptive app’s formula.
Disruptive innovation leads to market creation. Once the new market opens, it is a business’ responsibility to become active in that arena. Were disruptive technologies to exist alone in their industry, lack of competition would stagnate further innovation. Equalizer apps permit further innovation. They keep the game alive.
Workable solutions brace for future shifts. Equalizer apps are not merely mimicry of new guns; rather, they build upon the new solution, however new it may be. Equalizer apps need to adjust with mobile design strategy in mind, because the future is hand-held, with no hand-holding.