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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Disruptive Technologies

10 November 2015

It doesn’t have to be an earthquake, a revolution or a bombshell, but when it comes you better be prepared or it will knock you off your feet.  At Springfords, we have our eyes open for something that could change the way we see the world.

We’re getting older.  That’s why we were wearing our reading glasses when we spotted a story that claims that lenses could be perfected that you can adjust yourself to suit your vision requirements.  That seemed pretty revolutionary to us. 

Joshua Silver is a optics specialist and atomic physicist who’s been working on the project for several years now.  He was probably called Brains at school, but that’s unlikely to worry him.

When interviewed on BBC radio recently, he unveiled an ambitious plan to help up to three billion people in the world who don't have access to sight correction.  Essentially, he is working on his unique technology which is becoming closer to being perfected, so that the lenses can be deployed at much lower cost.  Currently the technology is available as a premium product in the developed world.

It could be transformational for individuals all across the world, but that’s only half the story.  The real transformation could be in the way sight care is delivered.  If optics could be provided that automatically adapt to your requirements on a moment to moment basis, what does that do for opticians, and all those visits to the darkened examination room.  No more will we hear the question “is it better with, or without, with or without?”

Any plans the trade has for expansion into developing territories could be throw out the window, if sight correction becomes less a matter of examination and prescription, and merely a matter of retail delivery.

It’s what the trade strategists call disruptive development, or what we all might just call upsetting the apple cart, and it’s nothing new.  Long before Uber turned the taxi trade on its head; even before the internet transformed classified advertising, there’s been sudden shifts in business that have radically changed the way we live, work and play.  It wasn’t called the industrial revolution for nothing.

Overnight, ever since the spinning jenny, there have been sudden step changes that have made old ways of working redundant, almost over night.  Anyone owning a cathode-ray tube TV will know exactly what we mean.

We’ve seen technological advances in every aspect of our lives.  Right now, your accounting needs are being met in radically new ways, that even a few years ago would have been near science fiction.  Technologies that photographically recognise your paperwork and automatically upload the relevant information to virtual servers, delivering data to your accounting partners (that’s us!) have already transformed your relationships with your professional support.

Meanwhile, Mr Silver’s magic specs could be transforming the lives of many millions of people all over the world.  The question is how will those affected on the business side of the equation be transformed?  The knee-jerk reaction is that they’ll be put out of business.  If they're not prepared to be just as adaptive as those lenses, that may well be the case.  Those though that are geared up for change, will likely find new ways to work with their clients and patients.

We can’t predict exactly how things will turn out.  There will be change, that's the only sure development.  It’s always been that way, but as for the exact nature of the change - well, even Mr Silver’s lenses can’t see that.


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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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