Tech Trends & Startup Opportunities in 2018
2018 starts off with intriguing tech trends and some very interesting opportunities for startups.
IoT goes to business - remote monitoring and sensor systems
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already entered our homes and is slowly impacting our personal lives with household devices getting more and more interconnected. Amazon’s Dash, which helps you order laundry detergent and other household products automatically, and Nest’s thermostat, that learns your favorite temperature over time, are just a few of the examples of devices changing the Connected home. Now, IoT is looking to disrupt the business arena.
Sensors are an important element in IoT and even more so in large facilities. In places such as dams, roads and bridges, structural integrity measurements are essential for safety. However, until recently these constructions lacked adequate sensor systems. Today, thousands of sensors can be placed in such structures and send automatic warning alerts when repairs are needed. AI-based systems like Carl Data can process vast amounts of sensor-collected data and predict whether critical infrastructure failures will take place. But why stop there? Sensor technology combined with IoT and can go well beyond safety. For example, it can be utilized to automatically order food when it goes low in chicken feed silos. If you’re an entrepreneur, perhaps you can be next to discover an exciting new way to apply these technologies and provide real business value in this space.
Alternative payment systems - WeChat Pay & Alipay In a previous post, How to Explain Cryptocurrency to Your Grandparents, we discussed how blockchain technology aims to transform cross-border payments by vastly reducing the cost of transfers and making them faster and more efficient. Now banks are looking to enhance their customers’ experiences with open Application Program Interfaces (APIs) in the growing collaborative payment industry. Wechat Pay, and Alipay for example, are two Chinese apps that provide cross-border payment capabilities for Chinese shoppers, who are buying overseas and need local currency conversion based on the real-time rate.
In another growing model, banks will own platforms while FinTech companies will provide services on top of them for consumers such as merchants, corporates and end users. There is room to grow for entrepreneurs with advanced digital capabilities to offer their services as payment vendors. Other startup opportunities are open for those involved in image and voice recognition technology as these become more prevalent in banking and payment services.
Augmented Reality - Magic Leap and light saber battles
Since the inception of Pokemon Go back in the summer of 2016, Augmented Reality (AR) has not really made a significant impact in our lives. That all might change in 2018 when Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens will make virtual objects blend in with the real world. Other players to look at in this space are the low-cost headsets from Facebook-owned Oculus and Lenovo’s Mirage headset. The last one gives you the experience of engaging in Lightsaber battles against Star Wars characters like Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, play the iconic HoloChess, or fight the Empire in a tabletop real-time strategy game.