10 of the Biggest Startup and Tech Opportunities for 2017

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The startup world is an ever-changing place, with new trends, markets and opportunities arising quicker than you can say zeitgeist. By the time the next big thing comes along it’s probably already too late to capitalize on it, or certainly a lot harder.

This year sees the maturing of some sectors that have been touted for a while, such as virtual reality and IoT, as well as the emergence of some interesting new frontiers, including bots and algorithmic personality detection.

Whether new frontiers or markets that are consolidating, the following sectors represent areas with significant opportunities in 2017 and beyond. If you’re looking for your next startup idea, partnership or cutting edge company to work for, these are all well worth keeping an eye on.

Personal IoT and Smart Homes

While IoT (the internet of things) has become something of a buzzword in the last few years, it’s yet to make a significant impact in the consumer sphere. With the arrival of connected devices such as the Nest Thermostat and Philips’ Hue light system over the last few years, smart devices have finally started making their way into homes in significant numbers, laying the foundations for making smart homes a reality. Meanwhile, Samsung is conducting a major push for their SmartThings ecosystem, with cheap connector kits launched at the end of last year and Amazon’s Echo has proved a surprise sleeper hit. From actual devices, to software that helps manage or integrate them and apps to make them more useful, opportunities abound.

Consumer Privacy

With the rise in connected devices, ongoing hacking concerns and questions around government monitoring, consumer privacy is an increasingly important issue. As our world becomes increasingly connected so it also has to be better protected. From protection against hacking cars to being monitored by your television, there is an increasing need for software and controls to protect consumer privacy while also allowing for the flow of data and communications necessary between individuals and connected devices and services.

Counterterrorism

Sadly an increasingly topical question, terrorism has been hitting the headlines far too much recently, from Paris to Nigeria and most recently Brussels and Istanbul. The unfortunately high recent activity gives increased impetus to the need for better and more efficient counterterrorist technology. From software to help report, log and track terrors suspects internationally, to more effective ways to analyse CCTV footage or even ways to use big data to predict potential threats, the sector is rife for new solutions.

Enterprise Cybersecurity

Yet another area that has been getting increasing international attention for all the wrong (and sometime right) reasons. The raft of recent attacks, from enormous data breaches to Bangladesh’s narrow escape, prove that cybersecurity is a very pressing concern. Hackers aren’t going away and their attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. From enterprise monitoring software to platforms to supply security experts, white hat hacking consultancies or new methods to protect, detect and deter attacks, there are a lot needs to be served.

Big Data and Health

While every man and his dog has been carping on about big data for some time, it sometimes seems to be just a lot of hot air. One sector where it’s beginning to be used to good effect in, though, is health. From oncology to female reproductive health, a range of startups are beginning to disrupt the way diseases are treated and researched and health maintained. Taking the data out of the lab and into hospitals and smartphones has a lot of mileage, from new areas to research to developing better software to manage patients or ways to process and understand existing data.

Workplace Wellness

Companies are becoming increasingly turned on to the importance of all around employee health, both physical and mental. With company culture and other soft factors gaining the attention of managers and CEO’s, a more holistic approach to managing, gauging and nurturing employees is coming into play. More than two thirds of U.S. employers offered wellness programs in 2015, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. With services that offer wellness programs and apps that monitor emotional wellbeing already proving popular, there are a range of opportunities in the space, from software to events, games, nutrition solutions and wearables.

Algorithmic Personality Analysis

Yet another potential growth area spawned from big data and machine learning, the use of algorithms to detect personalities and make predictions based on that analysis is a rapidly growing and innovative trend. Already employed by health insurers  the technology has a range of applications, from working out who is likely to be a reliable person to lend money to, to ascertaining whether a potential employee would work for you long term. From harnessing algorithms for new markets to developing your own proprietary systems, expect a lot of upcoming activity in this space.

Bots

Bots, aka automated programs that assist with tasks, are one of the biggest and potentially most exciting new developments this. Already garnering a lot of interest from VC’s, a range of companies have started releasing bots, from microsoft’s controversial chatbot to numerous bots for Slack. With the ability to save time and automate a variety of processes, bots offer a lot of potential, from chatting with customers to conducting marketing. With increasing amounts of data or mundane tasks involved in daily jobs, effective bots are likely to be very popular. This is a particularly interesting and new area to keep an eye on.

3D Printing

While not a new area, 3D printing technology has been maturing significantly over the last few years. What was a novelty is becoming widely used in a variety of industries on a daily basis. With more and more materials now able to be 3d printed, from food to carbon fibre, the potential applications have also widened considerably. 3D printing is still in its infancy commercially, however, with many advanced printers in the hands of institutions and not readily accessible for businesses. From plans or platforms for products that can be printed through to commercial facilities that offer 3D printing at scale or replacement/spare part printing services, this could be the year that 3D printing comes into its own.

Virtual Reality

2016 is the year that the public will finally be able to get their hands on the much-touted next generation of virtual reality devices. With Oculus Rift already released and HTC’s Vive and Playstation VR both coming out this year, high end virtual reality will become an actual reality this year. In addition, a range of cheaper options are also coming to market, such as Samsung’s Gear VR. With sales estimated to be £631 million this year, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, there’s a lot of potential in the market. From accessories for the new devices to apps and games to business solutions, there are going to be a lot of early adopters to service very soon.

Any opportunities that we missed? Let us know via Twitter 🙂

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