New tech trends disrupting travel, finance and other industries
The success of tech-enabled startups from around major innovation hubs in the world is astounding – in such a way that it is almost hard to pick the winners. Today I’d like to focus on a few examples, by industry, of companies who have really managed to set new trends in the way they deployed the technology.
Off course, working in an environment that is AI and data-driven, I have developed accurate ways of spotting the winning trends and companies that tap into it with much success – but there are several research tools available these days to identify them. Let’s share a few:
AI-Driven credit card comparison engine disrupting finance in the Asia Pacific
Roland Bleyer is busy disrupting the finance industry in the Asia Pacific: His company is quickly showing users that loyalty to any one particular bank can actually be quite expensive. The platform creditcard.com.au serves as a real-time aggregator on which financial institution provides the best terms in the market. The platform also runs an education facility where consumers can get wiser on money matters, break free from harsh conditions and tricky fine-print and ultimately to incur more savings.
The most significant impact on the industry?
Many would argue that Bleyer already succeeded in changing the conventional attitude of Australians towards personal finance. They are now becoming wiser after taking his online courses and less loyal to big banks that cost the Australian nation around $5.3Billion in annual interest. Will his highly successful business model outgrow Australia and eventually cover all of Asia Pacific or even Europe? Time will tell!
Reservations.com – fastest-growing travel platform, driven by a renowned leadership team
Publicly available traffic statistics show that Reservations.com is growing rapidly. A closer look will explain why: The CEO and co-founder, Yatin Patel, is a well-known tech entrepreneur with intense knowledge of the travel market. He was recently recognized at the 2019 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business awards.
Most travel platforms are big on price cuts but not great at delivering a special experience. However, the modern consumer is already used for online travel bookings and do not have the time to physically visit a travel agent to book a special experience. Reservations.com now offers that special experience online. It has points of parity with the biggest travel platforms – but also with conventional agents who can tailor the experience.
Therefore, it succeeded in creating a new segment of users who are highly loyal and in search of something special. They take both satisfied and dissatisfied customers away from other travel platforms and retain them successfully with the R Club loyalty program.
How did they sustain it in such a competitive market?
Their secret was not to roll out new technology and to get rid of people: They deployed highly trained travel specialists alongside the latest technology. In fact, they were received a “best place to work” award in Florida, which explains why customers encounter such helpful and motivated travel advisors. It goes a step further: they know how to keep hotel owners happy and are seen to be different as other online travel platforms. This is because they focus on selling special inventory for a great experience, as opposed to aggressive price cuts.
With a low market penetration, growing inventory and further investment in people, process, and technology, this is one of the most notable companies to watch in the travel industry.
The voice economy: marketing and customer service sectors in focus
The way in which humans interact with machines is changing – thanks to voice. Tech firms were first to lay the foundations, and now marketing and communication firms are riding the trend. Sitetrail, for example, is a marketing agency that optimizes all it’s content marketing for voice search, preparing all client content to map both text snippets and the likely formats that are picked up by voice search.
Our own teams at SnatchBot, for example, are highly advanced in the use of NLP, which is a key enabler for many SME’s to adopt voice technology that integrates with the entire digital infrastructure of a business. Google’s famous Duplex assistant, made a successful call to human phone operators – and confirmed a restaurant reservation.
There is more than one company that is currently racing to differentiate the way in which voice can be used. At the end of the day, it will be a generic function that will penetrate all the layers of society, where most differentiators will be short-lived. This core change in how we interact with machines is already embraced in epic proportions as almost 55% of users in the US, already tried voice search with Google via mobile.
My own prediction is that we will soon see how robotic process automation (RPA) and voice tie in seamlessly to create the kind of competitive advantage that businesses could only dream of in the past – and this is a space to watch.
Blockchain and blockchain as a service (“BAAS”)
I had no choice but to tip two companies when it gets to blockchain innovation, as they both bring something truly unique. Chromaway (Stockholm, Sweden) and Ezetech (NYC, USA). This is because they are fairly recent startups with decent valuations, who make a big impact on the blockchain industry as a whole.
Chromaway does call itself a blockchain pioneer and is distinct in that it builds smart contracts and apps. It is clear from numerous case studies that it has nailed down a successful model to assist a wide variety of industries.
Ezetech comes from web development and consulting angle, zooming in on ecommerce, fintech and media. It serves as a gateway for non-technical entrepreneurs who seek to excel at MVP strategy.
The final scoop
Each month, we become aware of new amazing companies that are changing the way we do business – and how consumers want their services delivered. I take great delight in scanning the horizon to see which trends are next and look forward to sharing more on this soon. Whether you follow this as an investor or innovator – this is certainly an exciting space to be in.