Inertia – resistance to change – can thwart progress in the business world. When an organization has seen success in an established structure, it’s often difficult to convince its leaders to experiment with new business models.

But a handful of companies, using technology in inspired ways, have managed to unleash radical changes in their industries. Instead of subscribing to the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality, they’ve adopted an attitude of “let’s make it better.”

In my blog post on the evolution of enterprise mobility, I outlined how a luxury car manufacturer’s use of M2M technology helped drive new business models into the automotive industry. Today, let’s take a look at three more verticals that are undergoing major transformations:

Insurance

How old are you? Have you been involved in an accident in the last five years? If you’ve ever applied for a car insurance policy, you almost certainly had to answer these questions and more. That’s because underwriters use demographic information and driving history to estimate the risk you present to the insurance company – and to determine how much you’ll pay in premiums and deductibles.

The problem? Not every driver fits into the statistical mold.

Ideally, an insurance company would provide an individualized quote for each customer, based on his or her driving patterns. And that’s exactly where the industry is headed, thanks to wireless technology.

Several insurance providers have started offering drivers the option of having monitors installed in their cars. Theses monitors can track how quickly and often you brake, how fast you accelerate, how far you drive and so on – far more accurate risk indicators than your marital status – and then send the data back to the insurance company.

Safe drivers can receive significant discounts if they opt-in for the service. Chronic speeders (like me) probably won’t want their driving habits watched so closely – and, as a result, they’ll end up paying more for insurance. The Holy Grail for insurers (precise estimation of a specific driver’s risk) is now within reach.

Healthcare

Chronic disease is a major concern for the healthcare industry. In the U.S., seven of the most common diseases – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, pulmonary conditions and mental disorders – account for $1.3 trillion in costs each year.[1]

The ability to constantly monitor health vitals and allow the patient to share this data with a support team of medical caregivers is an important aspect of chronic disease management. And getting a handle on chronic disease management is critical for taming the runaway costs of healthcare. Let me give you example of one such disease that can be reigned in because of the advent remote monitoring and disease management on mobile devices – diabetes.

A diabetes patient can now enter their blood glucose readings, medication information, food choices and other data into an application, which then generates feedback on what he or she should do next. Low blood sugar? The software will come back with a suggestion such as, “Drink a glass of orange juice.”

If glucose levels are dangerously high or low, the app can wirelessly send information to nurse practitioners so that the patient receives nearly immediate attention. This real-time coaching and intervention through mobile phones has the potential to reduce hospitalizations, complications and costs associated with chronic illnesses.

And diabetes is just one example. Share your thoughts and ideas on where else we could get active in the healthcare space!

Energy

The introduction of smart grids, which combine smart meters, wireless technology, sensors and software, has completely revamped the utility industry. Today, energy providers can remotely read electric meters, balance electricity demand, pinpoint the location of outages and respond to issues – without ever leaving the office.

You can see the immediate cost savings to utilities if you consider the process of connecting and disconnecting electric service. Dispatching a truck to a residence costs a utility company around $100 per visit. With smart meters, employees can program account changes from their customer service center and wirelessly signal the connected meters to turn electricity on or off.

The benefits of smart grids extend to consumers as well. Home energy monitoring applications help people track their power consumption and use energy more efficiently. Some utilities even offer mobile apps that let their customers adjust thermostats, turn lights on and off, and see how much energy their appliances are using at any given moment, all from their smartphones or tablets.

The advent of mobile technology and cloud are two of the most ground-breaking opportunities for reengineering business processes that we’ve ever seen. It’s time for companies to figure out how to harness these game-changers – and open their eyes to the array of possibilities that mobile cloud can enable!

Are you seeing any revolutionary changes in your industry’s business models? Add your thoughts in the comment section!

[1] Milken Institute, “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease.” October 2007.