As expected, the boom in the startup industry continued this year too, but with 2017 drawing to a close, now it is time to put 2018 in the vanguard of our focus. There are certain key trends that are currently swirling in a froth of rumination and will be significant in shaping the business models in the coming year.
- Artificial Intelligence is REAL : AI and ML are no more theoretical topics that were taught to the young impressionable minds through academic books. They now have serious applications and implications for businesses. AI is continuously pushing the limits of science and technology and helping us achieve the unfathomable. 2018 will see a lot of startups utilising the AI/ML technologies to create revolutionary solutions that are going to solve the real and complex business issues.
- Enterprise Mobility is not a choice : Enterprise mobility and business applications will no longer be mere tools that are good to possess, but they will evolve into indispensable instruments that will provide better productivity and increased security. The coming year will drive a wider scale adoption of serious business applications that will cater beyond communication and collaboration, and this will be an opportunity for a lot of startups to create innovative enterprise mobile solutions.
- Internet beyond devices: Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to create smarter solutions that will be programmatically adjusted to be in sync with human behaviour. AI and machines will enable these things to operate autonomously or semi-autonomously, and the driving forces will be efficiency and convenience. As businesses are adapting to the emerging era of the digital world, companies will strive to find innovative ways of delivering their products and services. As the awakening dawns on the businesses, the battlegrounds will transcend the realms of just products and services offered.
- Immersive Experiences: The coming year will see the advancement of technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), which places the user in a digitally-rendered environment and Augmented Reality (AR) which overlays digital information on the real world, and the line separating the real and virtual world will become more and more blur. Mixed Reality (MR), which encompasses and extends both AR and VR will become the experience of choice for the masses.
- Blocking the chain: The much-hyped Blockchain will start seeing real usage and deployment in the coming year. The blockchain is a shared, distributed, de-centralized and tokenized ledger that removes business friction by being independent of individual applications or participants. Fintech startups will start leveraging the foundation of blockchain to create disruptive and innovative business solutions.
The seismic shifts in the business landscape are causing bouts of jitters among the budding entrepreneurs, but they will have to be pragmatic enough to understand the dynamics, accept the technological disruptions and adapt accordingly.