The global pandemic has resulted in the rapid acceleration of the digital transformation of many aspects of our lives—how we work, where we buy, and what new services and products are offered to us. But it and also exposed the inadequacy, inefficiency, and the sheer primitive aspects of the many processes, practices and policies governing the way we live now. Which technologies promise at least some progress in the near future?
Top tech trends 2021-2022
In an online broadcast to a global audience, leading VC firm OurCrowd released today a list of what it considers the top tech trends in mid-2021, when global venture capital funding reached an all-time high with more than $288 billion invested worldwide in the first half of this year. “There is no better time to analyze what the tech trends are for the smart investor, and where the technology market is moving,” said Jon Medved, OurCrowd’s founder and CEO, opening the broadcast. And the top 10 tech trends are…
Work. Pray. Love: Life Becomes Virtual
From e-Commerce to work-from-home to online gatherings, the world has moved on-screen and many tech startups have either adjusted to the new virtual reality or were born to be virtual. Event platform Bizzabo, for example, pivoted during the pandemic to provide new technologies to maximize participant engagement at virtual and hybrid events. “We are on a mission to redefine events,” Bizzabo CEO Eran Ben-Shushan said at the virtual event. “We believe that looking at the future of events… it is all about reinventing the hybrid experience.” Other startups driving this trend are Papaya Global, developer of an automated global payroll while re-inventing workplace onboarding and engagement worldwide; and JumpCloud, providing secure remote access without on-premises hardware.
Science Is for Dinner (Foodtech)
A $6 trillion industry is being re-engineered by plant-based and lab-produced food, meeting increasing demand for quantity, quality, and sustainability. “There is a consensus among experts that one of the biggest challenges in the food industry is finding alternative protein sources to feed the increasing world population,” said Dr. Tammy Meiron, CTO of the FreshStart food-tech incubator. But new alternatives are emerging: “There are several promising protein sources that are being intensively developed currently: plant-based, algae and micro algae, insect, fermentation, tissue culture, and others,” said Meiron. Startups driving this trend are Aleph Farms, developing cultured meat; BlueNalu, maker of fresh and frozen sea food products from lab cultivated cells; Ripple Foods, producer of dairy alternative products; and Plenty, an indoor vertical farming company.
Retailers Double Down on Digital
Personalization, localization, voice shopping and chatbots are the new tools of the trade, merging digital and commerce. Noam Levavi, CEO of ByondXR, provider of immersive virtual showrooms, explained: “Experiences that were originally built into the physical world are not translating well into 2-D and static images.” ByondXR lets consumers experience products in a virtual store. Other developments driving this trend include personalized advertising from Clinch; relationship commerce experiences from Ordergroove; and the checkout-free stores created by Zippin.
Water Means Business
Making the world’s most essential natural resource safe and abundant for all. “Water technology companies have been around for a long time,” said OurCrowd partner Eli Nir. “What we are seeing today is a new breed of companies which are truly technology companies. With significant and excellent IT in a range of fields, all the way into AI and cyber security, using machine learning to prevent hackers getting into critical water infrastructure.” BlueGreen Technologies is one of the startups driving this trend, clearing toxic bluegreen algae from contaminated lakes, and restoring billions of gallons of drinking water.
Logistics Are Suddenly Sexy
Covid has revealed how vital – and how vulnerable – supply chains are and the sad fact that since the introduction of standardized containers in the 1950s, not much have changed. “The pandemic has more than doubled the inflation rate of e-commerce from 15% annually before 2020, to almost 40% today, with significant impact across the supply chain. It is clear that supply chains must evolve in efficiency, capacity, and agility,” said Ilan Reingold, CEO of BionicHIVE, a startup turning warehouses into robotic logistics hubs. Other startups driving this trend are Freightos, the international online freight marketplace, and Trellis, using AI and cognitive learning to optimize the food, beverage and agriculture supply chain.
Data Gets Really, Really Big
Data is eating the world and its smart and safe application is the focus of startups such as data.world, provider of cloud-native data catalogs; Materials Zone, providing tools and services that harvest, interpret, and exchange materials science-related data; and Dataloop, providing a data platform for vision AI systems in development and in production.
Telemedicine a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Onsite diagnostic testing, online medical visits, and remote monitoring are just the beginning of healthcare moving into the 21st century, giving a whole new meaning to the term “digital transformation.” Startups driving this transformation include Tytocare, developer of a handheld exam kit and app that lets consumers at home perform guided medical exams with healthcare providers anytime, anywhere; Sweetch, a clinically validated disease management optimization platform; and Sight Diagnostics, changing the way blood testing is done.
Spatial Computing Maps the Future
Advanced AI is both driving and leveraging the spatial computing revolution, bringing human-machine and machine-machine interactions to new levels. Startups driving this trend include TetaVI, provider of affordable and portable volumetric video capture technology that creates high fidelity holograms, delivering immersive viewer experiences on any device; Edgybees, provider of AI-powered real-time, high-precision geo-registration, bringing clarity, precision, and speed to mission-critical operations in public safety, defense, critical infrastructure, and commercial sectors; and CorrActions, using sensor data to evaluate a user’s cognitive state.
Energy Goes Green, Clean, and Lean
Innovative solutions are taking hold to meet both surging energy needs and demands for sustainability. “I think there has really been a shift in the way people are thinking about this, partly because while climate change has been a conversation for a long time, it is becoming very real now,” says Kathy Hannun, co-founder and president of Dandelion Energy, which replaces furnaces and air-conditioners with geothermal heat pumps that use the constant-temperature air underground to heat or cool a home, drastically cutting down on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Other startups driving this trend include mPrest, whose micro-services based, real-time orchestration and optimization platform brings the power of AI and IoT to the digital transformation of various industries, from energy and smart cities, through oil & gas, connected cars, water, defense and other industry 4.0 applications; and H2PRO, Enabling affordable green hydrogen production at scale.
Quantum Computing Beefs Up, Scales Up, and Shores Up
“Quantum computing does not promise us better computing. It promises impossible computing,” Itamar Sivan, CEO and co-founder of Quantum Machines told me recently. Other startups moving quantum computing closer to practical applications are Classiq, energizing quantum software development; Entangled Networks, developing a quantum interconnect and supporting software to enable a novel multi-core architecture; and QuantLR, developer of a secure, low-cost Quantum Cryptography solution.
A survey by Accenture Research of 6,241 business and IT executives worldwide earlier this year revealed that not only VCs are eager to invest in these technologies. 83% of executives agreed that their organization’s business and technology strategies are becoming inseparable—even indistinguishable. And 63% of the executives surveyed reported the pace of digital transformation for their organization is accelerating. “Leaders don’t wait for a New Normal, they build it,” Accenture concluded.
The OurCrowd event was hosted by Alex Roy, a motorsports champion turned tech investor and entrepreneur. “I’m obsessed with making the impossible possible, and making science fiction, science fact,” said Roy. “The best way to predict the future, is to build the future.”
I’m Managing Partner at gPress, a marketing, publishing, research and education consultancy. Previously, I held senior marketing and research management positions at
I’m Managing Partner at gPress, a marketing, publishing, research and education consultancy. Previously, I held senior marketing and research management positions at NORC, DEC and EMC. Most recently, I was Senior Director, Thought Leadership Marketing at EMC, where I launched the Big Data conversation with the “How Much Information?” study (2000 with UC Berkeley) and the Digital Universe study (2007 with IDC). Twitter: @GilPress