Top 10 innovation ideas for 2018
We’ve selected 10 new business ideas that will provide entrepreneurs with plenty of inspiration in 2018. Spotted from countries all around the world, these businesses offer a taste of what’s to come in the year ahead.
The health industry has boomed in the past five years, with the desire to achieve peak fitness levels and track progress along the way proving popular with both fitness junkies and those simply wanting to look after themselves. Technology has allowed people to access their personal data from their own homes, with smart devices, apps, wearables and personalised services meaning it has never been easier to know how fast you run, what your blood pressure is and how many calories you are consuming.
UK-based Vie’s creation of a smart box that provides readings on heart rate, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels, and blood oxygen can help the user detect the early signs of chronic diseases. The simplicity of having such a device in your home provides a preliminary step when tracking health that can be used before consulting a professional. Another notable device is the low-cost product that uses temperature to detect skin cancer. We predict the continuation of steady growth in this field as the public’s desire to be healthy proceeds to grow worldwide.
Cryptocurrencies came to the forefront of news in 2017 thanks to their value multiplying at unprecedented rates. While many are still sceptical of its reliability as a form of currency, it is undeniable that such forms of payments are to become more prominent in coming years, especially now investors have had an insight in how their money can grow. The Lightstreams digital publishing platform uses an Ethereum-based blockchain network to connect music artists with audiences. The network will provide transparency for artists and help avoid misallocation of royalty fees and the damage caused by fake reviews.
Polish startup Userfeeds is also utilising the power of cryptocurrencies by using it as a means to provide transparency in news, thereby thwarting the spread of so-called ‘fake news’. This unique approach to using cryptocurrency is just one way it can be manipulated for differing industries. In 2018 we will see increased transparency across all sectors through the use of blockchain technology and streamlined transactions with the spread of smart contracts.
Retail spaces are no longer just places to browse shelves and make purchases. Technology has revolutionised the shopping experience by replacing store assistants with robots, boosting sales opportunities with digital walls and more. A new store developed by Simon Property Group is acting as a micro-retail space for emerging brands, eliminating the high cost of renting a permanent bricks and mortar shop. The spaces provide a multitude of technology-based offerings like staffing solutions and temporary displays.
Such leasing models will help small and new companies entering their respective fields gain the publicity they need to evolve. The flexibility that comes with innovative store concepts makes it a mutually beneficial business model, with new companies keen to take advantage of such opportunities and the brains behind the models having plenty of customers. E-commerce fashion business Farfetch has taken its own approach, combining the luxury retail experience with technology. Its store creates an augmented retail environment that brings the advantages of online commerce into the physical space. 2018 will see retailers embrace the concept of 'experiential store' making use of new technology to gain competitive edge.
With security measures at transport hubs tighter than ever before, technology has an integral role to plays in providing a simple, smooth and fast solution that is reliable for both passengers and security. Biometric security systems are a popular method adopted by airports such as Dubai International, which introduced a facial recognition system within a virtual aquarium. Passengers simply walk through the tunnel-shaped aquarium and when focused on a fish, 80 built-in cameras scan the face.
In addition to this unique take on the technology, NEC Corporation has created an earphone prototype that assists secure computing thanks to authentication. The device recognizes the characteristics of a user’s ear in order to enable hands-free authentication, providing an even faster way of logging into your computer. Biometrics is gradually integrating into everything we do, and businesses adopting the technology into its own product prototypes will give a nod to the future ‘normal’.
Once featuring only in Hollywood films, artificial intelligence is now expanding the way companies approach data that can hugely impact their business action.
Manual collation or even use of basic systems can be laborious, hard to analyse and mistakes can be easily made. By using an AI system, companies can access the widest range of information possible with minimal effort.
One example is AskPorter, an AI property management platform that aims to reduce inefficiencies in workflows and change the role of property manager into that of a supervisor or concierge. By acting as the first point of contact for queries, simple questions and requests from tenants can be managed quickly and easily.
In a different industry, DemandJump has created an AI-enabled marketing platform named TrafficCloud that guides marketers on what action to take next with campaigns. Unlike traditional data collation tools that would look into page hits, for example, this new tool is able to link customer activity across devices and present a much more detailed analysis of traffic between sources. Such innovation could revolutionise the way businesses look at their data.
Automation is expected to continue thriving in 2018, with its application filtering into a multitude of industries. Automation can be applied to numerous fields, ranging from security to scoping areas that are deemed to dangerous for humans. An autonomous robot and drone double act named O-R3 has been deployed in Dubai to work as a surveillance unit. Powered by an advanced machine-learning algorithm, the O-R3 robot has a number of cameras that each serves a specific function, such as thermal imaging, facial and license plate recognition, and stereo photography. It navigates its surroundings with built-in intuitive reactions and detects anomalies, avoids obstacles, and self-charges when its battery runs low.
Autonomous vehicles will also help reduce company costs, making time for its human staff to do more difficult and skilled jobs while the robots perform programmed tasks. A drone made by Swedish company Inkonova is designed to operate in mines, fitting into tight spaces, manoeuvring over difficult terrain and operating when GPS signal is lost. Such creations prove the worth of integrating automation into a business’ operation, something that Springwise expects to see much more of this year.
Smart and sustainable living is a popular trend, with people striving to be as environmentally friendly as possible and making the appropriate technology investments where necessary. The Internet of Things (IoT) has an integral role to play in such aspirations, with US-based design company Matter employing this tactic with the creation of its water conservation system. The invention is a smart home initiative that uses sensors to monitor water usage.
While recycling is an ecologically aware task many of us now do without much consideration, a bin that does the sorting for you is a smart way of utilising technology to streamline the whole process and make it even easier to be kind to the environment. Bin-e’s automated garbage bin is designed to help offices achieve just that, taking the effort out of the task at hand. The IoT can be manipulated to streamline processes in many industries, making it the perfect system for entrepreneurs to integrate into their innovations.
The use of augmented reality (AR) within apps has gained popularity in recent years, with the Pokémon GO app kick starting the trend in 2016. AR’s application to a range of different industries means the possibilities are endless.
An app named Firstage has utilised AR’s capabilities, applying it to the music industry. The app is aimed at up-and-coming musicians, allowing performers to be seen on an augmented reality ‘stages’ anywhere in the world. Users can download the app and search for artists. The app then scans the room and the artist ‘performs’ in the space. This approach to integrating industries with the technology could work across the board, and we expect a growing number of AR applications within the health, travel and entertainment sectors in 2018.
The circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, therefore tapping into recent business trends of being as sustainable as possible. Its different business models offer new opportunities for companies, spanning from repair, upgrade and reuse. In Sweden, an entire shopping mall is dedicated to reselling, creating new homes for items that are unwanted by their original owners but are in good enough condition to be passed on. ReTuna aims to help consumers rethink their shopping habits and consider how items they already own could be repurposed themselves or given away to someone who could have a better use for it.
This method can be applied to many different fields, such as the biological house that was built from upcycled farm waste. In this instance, in addition to being a sustainable structure, the building was even created with the mindfulness than many owners wish to change locations one day, so the home can be physically moved to another town if desired. Changing the way in which we see day-to-day items or even larger, more costly products could help better create the sustainable environments so many aspire to.
The sheer volume of different data we can now get access to would have been unthinkable five years ago. Thanks to fresh technology on sensors, wearable products and gamification solutions, it is very likely that the possibilities offered to the public will continue to expand in 2018 and inform the public better than ever before. In the health industry, such technology was utilised last year the form of an app that asked users to submit their heart data to aid research. Those willing to be involved simply needed to place their thumb on the camera lens of their phone and hold still in order for it to take 90 seconds of heart rhythm data.
In the sports industry, a smart cricket bat sensor analyses the back life, velocity and follow through of a swing, recording the data and sending it to the user. These examples show the wide range of sectors smart, data-driven technology can be applied to, something innovators will be wise to be mindful of when launched their products in 2018.