March 13, 2019

FROM GREEN ENERGY TO SEXTECH

New (and old) niches in technology

New tech industry is surprisingly creative in creating new words and names. Also when it comes to naming new tech branches. When you see a new word ending with suffix “tech” you can be sure that another industry is being targeted by technology startups to be overtaken or at least disrupted. PR experts from Enterie, who work with tech startups on daily basis, prepared a list of those new niches, which are more than just another seasonal buzzword.

Agritech

Agriculture + technology. The term agritech most commonly refers to technological solutions which aim to enhance efficiency of cultivation and usage of resources – soil, water or fertilizers. Such technologies and techniques as drones, IoT, ML and advanced modeling are being deployed to monitor fields and vegetation process, to collect, aggregate and process data,  and, eventually, to provide the right dosage of water and fertilizers – in an automated manner, of course.

Agritech is sometimes used in its broader meaning, to describe any tech solution used in production and distribution of food. It can be a new kinds of crops, an app for food delivery, a new model of supply chains and transportation or technologies for production of energy from bio-mass.

Examples:

Aleph Farms – a company producing cell-grown meat that resembles free-range meat. For more ethical consumption and healthier world.

Full Harvest – B2B marketplace for imperfect and surplus produce, which can dramatically reduce senseless waste of food.

Proptech

Property + technology. This category contains solutions for real estate market. Not necessarily construction technologies (even though some will argue otherwise), but rather all kinds of apps and software that can be used for trading, leasing, operating and managing buildings and public and facilities. No matter private, public or commercial. Proptechs can help you find a right house and to finalize the transaction. They enhance leasing processes, optimize management of office or storage space, help to calculate and share costs. Proptech solutions are also used in managing buildings, to optimizing energy usage or supporting security. As dealing with properties often involves investments and financing, proptech often goes together with fintech.

Examples:

Storage share – a Dutch startup introduces sharing economy model to storage, using existing real estate properties

Housfy – A Spanish company with global ambitions helps to buy/sell houses by cutting out the middleman

Fintech

Finance + technology. This marriage already has quite a history. The term fintech is commonly known and used, and we seriously considered not putting it on this list. However, because of its value and importance we just had to.

Word fintech is used not only in reference to fintech startups, but to describe any usage of advanced digital solution in a broad finance sector. It was adapted by banks, insurance companies (sometimes using phrase insurtech) and other finance institutions.

The relationship between innovative fintech startups and the noble finance industry can be described as “complicated”. Both types of businesses compete for the same customers, and this competition can be really ruthless. At the same time big banks develop their own fintech labs and invest in fintech startups. What is more, many fintech entrepreneurs look up to rich finance “competitors” as potential clients or investors.

What do fintechs do? They digitize and automate processes and services such as payments, currency exchange and transfer, finance advisory services, personal finance management, investments and loans.

Examples:

iZettle – payments and management solutions for commerce – POS and online – made as easy as possible, especially dedicated to those who are just starting their business

Curve – a digital aggregator of credit and debit cards helps to manage payments and cuts currency transfer costs when traveling abroad

Edtech

Education + technology. Edtech refers to technologies enhancing the process of learning. It is often fueled by knowledge from the field of psychology, sociology or cognitive sciences, which help to understand how people learn and what motivates them. The aim is to optimize and individualize the process of absorbing knowledge and gaining new competences.

E-learning platforms and usage of the internet in education is probably as old as the internet itself. What really is a game changer, is application of artificial intelligence, especially machine learning. It enables educational software to improve in teaching humans. Education material, the way it is presented, exercises and repetition of particular issues, as well as pace of studying are being automatically adjusted to individual capabilities and progress.

The process is being monitored, analyzed, and best practices are being developed to pass knowledge and to motivate students.

Examples:

Brainly – a social network for students and teachers, provides answer to any school related (and not related) question, motivates users with gamification.

Duolingo – an app for learning languages. Friendly, easy to use and very motivating, adjusts the pace of studying to your preferences, abilities and progress.

Govtech

Government + technology. Govtech seems to be self-explanatory term. Technology can be used to support bureaucracy – enhancing its work with digital document flow, data collection and communication within administration). It can help citizens communicate with administration, submit motions, provide data and remotely fulfill such duties as tax declaration.

As government is collecting enormous number of data – which, by the way, are public and should be easily accessible – govtech can help with searching, processing and sharing them with citizens.

Govtech can also reinforce democratic institutions and processes by providing tools for dialog. Thanks to various online discussion boards citizens can more directly participate in decisionmaking process. If only governments were ready for such openness.

Examples:

Airly – an app which enables monitoring the quality of air around the world, provides data and empowers citizens to pressure local authorities. Airly also fits to category: Cleantech

Novoville – a cloud based platform for local government for e-services, as well as for instant communications and consultancy with citizens

HRtech

HR (human resources) + technology. Although HRtech industry is pretty new, the name is already a bit fusty. According to the ruling paradigm of business management there are no “human resources” anymore, as this term objectifies employees. It has been replaced with “talents” – discovered, developed, motivated and promoted by the mother-corporation, for its own profit and glory, of course.

New technologies are often used in recruit… I mean – talent acquisition. It helps to find best suited candidates – with use of advanced search and algorithms similar to those used in dating apps. New technologies are used to facilitate internal communications and collaboration, as well as to motivate and engage employees, deploying such techniques as gamification.

Examples:

Sympa – HR software for digitalization of the entire employee life cycle. From recruiting to exiting, and every step and process on the way.

Joboxx – a solution based on machine learning technology, distributes job offers via most relevant channels, actively reaching suitable candidates

Greentech II Cleantech

Green + technology, clean + technology. Greentech and cleantech have more or less the same meaning, which is technologies which aim to mitigate the negative impact of human activity to natural environment.

As the list of human crimes against the nature is really long, the range of various greentech/cleantech solutions is also impressive. A lot of them try to address climate challenges and issues of energy – its generation (from renewables, but not only), consumption (energy efficiency in every aspect of economy and everyday life) and waste management.

But it is not just about the energy. Greentech/cleantech also refers to solutions for sustainable agriculture (see: agritech), recycling or… systems for breeding bees, which are essential for most ecosystems, and endangered with extinction.

Lead bees – a digital solution for professional and (especially) amateur beekeepers. Enables monitoring and managing your hive

Syntoil – a company which transforms rubber waste (especially used tyres) into materials such as gas and oils.

Airly – an app which enables monitoring the quality of air around the world, provides data and empowers citizens to pressure local authorities.

Healthtech

Health + technology. Healthtech is a field which experiences very dynamic growth, also thanks to aging of western societies and growing demand for medical care. Similarly to education, technologies are not new to healthcare, but these newest open totally new possibilities – telehealth. Internet of things, especially wearables, enable monitoring condition of patients or seniors constantly and remotely, and react accordingly when necessary.

Healthtech also refers to software for administration of healthcare services, marketplace-like services matching patients with doctors, or advanced algorithms used in medical research. These sort of solutions – fueled by large, collected volumes of data – can dramatically simplify the processes of developing new drugs, diagnostics and adjusting and optimizing treatments.

Examples:

Coala Life – a wireless, remote ECG device, and Stethome – a wireless stethoscope are simple and powerful solutions for remote diagnosis and care.

Ada  – an app for self-differential diagnosis, powered with AI technology. Not only for hypochondriacs.

Sextech

Sex + technology. Those two are also flirting with each other for a very long time. Apparently, it was porn industry which has decided about the success of VHS format, and its supremacy over beta. Years later porn producers took part in another war of video formats. This time giving the victory to Blu-ray, and dooming HD DVD. Today the relation of technology and sexuality – sextech – is much richer and more sophisticated.

As pornography has moved to the internet, it is the algorithms that know the preferences of users best, and use this knowledge to serve best-suited materials. Moreover, software is used to detect pictures of particular pornstars and tag them respectively, which saves loads of time to service providers, who have to cope with tonnes of newly uploaded films everyday.

Dating apps have made finding a sexual partner as easy as never before, and algorithms are helping you find the right one.

VR (Virtual Reality) technologies are providing users with more realistic visual stimulants, but it is technology implemented in sex toys and gadgets that brought virtual sex to completely different dimension. Sets for couples, equipped with sensors and able to learn our reactions, allow pairs to experience simultaneous erotic pleasure.

And who says tech is not sexy?

Examples:

Lora Dicarlo – a producer of Ose, a famous massager powered with micro-robotic technology, first awarded, then banned from CES 2019

Kiiroo – sex toys for her, for him, for couples. You can connect them with each other for long-distance simultaneous stimulation, or to the source of interactive content, including virtual reality.

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