Innovation That Matters

Top 12 disruptors who made waves in 2018

Following another year of ground-breaking global innovations, we have selected the most disruptive businesses who brought a new wave of exciting opportunities across sectors and tech in 2018.

Spotted by our global community and curated by Springwise, the innovations highlighted in this feature showcase the unprecedented breadth of disruption brought by global businesses in 2018. They also offer a glimpse into the future of innovation with technological shifts to watch out for in the years to come. As companies realise the importance of change, the need to implement more streamlined and agile innovation processes will become essential for businesses to thrive. Before you dive deeper into each innovation, here below are our key takeaways and predictions to help you prepare for the year ahead.

The rise of immersive tech: Companies worldwide have already started to experiment with immersive technology for training, design visualization, advertising and to drive customer engagement. Whilst AR is becoming more popular in retail, VR will continue to show its potential in the education and health sectors, offering new ways to raise awareness around critical issues and help improve our health and wellbeing. Be ready for further disruption in 2019 and don’t miss our immersive tech round-up with the first Springwise podcast and Immersive Content report.

Sustainability across sectors: The launch of the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle was one of 2018’s most outstanding initiatives tackling plastic waste in the retail sector. As global businesses start to recognise the benefits of adopting sustainable practices – from cost reductions to improved operational efficiency and consumer loyalty – we predict an increase of sustainable innovations across sectors in 2019.

QR codes resurgence: From encouraging cashless donation to turning a building into an interactive library, QR codes have made a comeback thanks to increased phone-capabilities that allow users to redeem coupons and engage with smart packaging directly through their phone’s camera. Naturally, QR codes will be in competition with other technologies such as NFC, but this low-tech solution will continue to attract marketers who see their potential to engage and convert digitally-savvy consumers.

Smarter analytics with AI: From predicting food price based on freshness to detecting relevant TV scenes for displaying ads, artificial intelligence (AI) has advanced much further and will continue to do so bringing automation and smarter analytics to many sectors including health, manufacturing and retail. The ability of AI to perform pattern recognition and anomaly detection will also prove fundamental for advances in cybersecurity.

IoT and MaaS for sustainable transport: With urban congestion and pollution on the rise, cities are looking to emission-free vehicles and greater connectivity to help solve the problem. The use of IoT city sensors to monitor traffic and improve road safety will increase even further in 2019 as cities continue to test and make plans for autonomous vehicles. Within this coming year, we should expect to see further developments towards smart parking sensors, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and more wide-spread support towards sustainable methods of travel.

AI algorithm predicts prices of produce based on freshness

A new pricing system uses deep learning algorithms and real-time data to price produce and reduce food waste.

Read more about RapidMathematix »

AR for the naked eye transforms outdoor advertising

With a single stream of light and a reflector, this media tech startup creates huge, location-based images that can be displayed anywhere.

Read more about ECHO technology »

AR shopping app targets Chinese millennials

A Chinese AR shopping app hopes to increase retail sales by appealing to Chinese millennials

Read more about CoolHobo »

Artificial moon to illuminate urban cities in China

A Chinese company is developing an artificial moon which would be used to illuminate city streets and save energy.

Read more about Fake Moon »

Autonomous grocery store brings food at consumers’ doorstep

US-based startup is building a fleet of self-driving vehicles powered by an on-demand ordering system.

Read more about Robomart »

Compostable seaweed straws can be eaten after use

Startup is looking to replace single-use plastic straws with an edible version that also biodegrades rapidly.

Read more about LOLISTRAW »

German building to feature integrated QR codes

The design for a new building in southern Germany features QR codes and a public walkway through the middle

Read more about The Milestone »

German startup offers electric van rental for free

This startup is beginning their drive for emission-free cities with their unusual form of revenue.

Read more about StreetScooter »

IoT based system allows drivers to find a parking space

Using IoT technology, a connected parking platform alerts drivers to available parking spaces in their area helping to decrease future emission levels in cities.

Read more about Community-based parking »

VR could trick stroke victims to aid recovery

Researchers are working on a way to use virtual reality to retrain the brain and muscles of stroke victims to aid in recovery.

Read more about Virtual Reality »

World’s first AI-driven television advertising

New television advertising from British broadcaster uses artificial intelligence to place products alongside TV scenes that are relevant to their brand.

Read more about Contextual Moments »

World’s first plastic-free grocery aisle opens in Amsterdam

A Dutch grocery chain has installed an entirely plastic-free supermarket aisle to help shoppers cut down on plastic packaging.

Read more about Plastic-free aisle »