Rocks to Rockets: Origins of Technology that Disrupted Industries

Technology that will forever change the way industries work often comes from non-traditional sources - increasingly startups. Particularly in business today, these disruptive products are more likely to come from venture enabled innovation, or a collaboration between an enterprise and select set of startups where strategic priorities and incentives are aligned to accelerate the pace of innovation. This results in new and creative applications of technology from one purpose or industry to an altogether different one.

Read on to learn a few examples of ways industry leaders are facing into the future and embracing the unexpected.

Unearthing New Ideas

GroundMetrics began as a project within Quasar Federal Systems. Quasar was investigating the possibilities of finding buried explosives using military-developed electromagnetic sensors.

But the company that would soon become GroundMetrics realized that wasn't the only application for these sensors. With a little work, GroundMetrics fine-tuned the technology to detect gas, oil and mineral deposits. Adapting the technology paid off big, and in its second round of financing the company netted $2.73M from angel investors in the oil industry, who are eager to harness this technology to find hidden natural resources.

Tracking Health with Mobile Tech

Mobile technology started out as a means to stay in communication, no matter where you were. Technologies like pagers and, eventually, mobile phones made it easy to stay in touch.

But as cell phones got more sophisticated and became powerful enough to run apps, startups realized the potential these devices held. As developers combine cell phone apps with the power of the Internet of Things, they've created an ever-expanding list of applications. Now consumers can check their home's security cameras, preheat the oven before they come home, or even take their child's temperature without waking them.

Repositioning GPS Technology

It's easy to forget GPS was originally a military technology. It started out as a way to track satellites from earth and involved putting highly accurate clocks in each one.

Eventually, the military figured out that several satellites could work together to pinpoint nuclear submarines' positions. The U.S. Department of Defense began to put more satellites up to meet demand, and in 1998, the government authorized civilian GPS use.

Since then, countless companies have built off the technology. Consumers may be familiar with dedicated navigational devices like Tomtom, or GPS capability on cell phones, but the technology has been expanded to help fishers find their catch, trucks optimize routes and even streamline disaster response.

Few innovations are completely new. Disruptive technological developments often involve building off of existing products or finding new applications. And startups are leading the way by working with enterprises to discover creative solutions for challenging real-world problems.

Image Copyright