June 16, 2020

The coronavirus-fueled tech trends that will continue to dominate daily life

Coronavirus hasn’t just shut down huge swaths of American business and sent many employees scrambling to work from home — it’s also driving the acceleration of technological adoption…

This year’s Disruptor 50 list features companies that built digital strategies into their DNA. The fact that these companies, since day one, have focused on cloud connectivity, digital marketing and distribution to consumers, and virtual, rather than in-person interactions, gives this group an advantage over incumbents. Thirty seven of this year’s Disruptor 50 say they’ve hired new employees since the pandemic began. That’s a direct result of many of them scaling faster than before Covid-19 to meet surging demand. At least 18 of this year’s Disruptor 50 companies say demand for their core products has more than doubled since the coronavirus crisis unleashed itself across the world.

Being digital-first also put many Disruptor 50 companies in a position to quickly develop and introduce new products or services to meet the challenges of the pandemic. At least 20 of this year’s Disruptors say they have done just that.

Breakthrough technologies accelerating growth

For many the ability to accelerate business growth and develop new products is a result of breakthrough technologies that were core to their disruptive businesses in the first place. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are hands down the most prevalent of these technologies, with 31 of the Disruptor 50 companies citing machine learning and 30 listing artificial intelligence as essential to their operations.

C3.ai, a company that is so defined by artificial intelligence that it changed its name from C3 IoT a few years ago, has taken a leading role in using the technology to fight Covid-19. The three-time Disruptor 50 company teamed up with Amazon Web Services in April to create a Covid-19 “data lake,” which unifies data sets, updates them in real time and offers researchers a clearer starting point for generating usable insights. It’s now the largest source of Covid-19 data in the world, according to C3.ai.

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