Science fiction novels used to scare us with the technology authors dreamed up, which would frequently take over the world or treat humans poorly. Yet we tend to find ourselves accepting of and eager for every little advancement in the real world. Modern fictions like the Kingsman movies even mock our tendency to grab at new tech before we fully understand it. Our ever-present thirst for new tech doesn’t seem likely to abate any time soon though, so we wonder, as another new year looms around the corner, what new companies might be out there? And which ones will bring about the big new trends and the most useful high tech gadgets?
We can’t predict specific companies with accuracy. But here are some areas in which to watch for influential new names in 2020 and the next few years.
New Social Media
If millennials have proven to be all about Instagram and nixing the extras that come with Facebook, then Gen Z is looking like it may be all about video. That’s part of the reason Snapchat has proven to be so significant, with filters and stories making quick video updates interesting and relevant (usually on a moment-to-moment basis for regular users). Sharing videos means catching a glimpse of what’s going on in people’s lives, not having to wonder based on a photo, or read via a status update; you actually get a snippet of a movie, so to speak, about a friend’s life. And as people get more and more dependent on these kinds of updates (and frankly, as attention spans continue to shrink), it seems likely that the next big social media company will emerge soon, and will revolve around video. Identified as a social media platform to watch, Caffeine is one that fits the bill. Launched in 2018, the app lets users stream videos, including screen recording of gaming, and earn money for them; the more viewers and subscribers they get, the more money they can make. This or something like it could very well be the next big social platform, especially for the youngest generation and their penchant for video.
Online gambling is nothing new, but the industry is facing a few big changes that could bring about significant new sites and even new tech. For one thing, gambling platforms are increasingly mobile-oriented, opening the door to innovations in apps, but more importantly in augmented and virtual reality. Additionally, betting activity is spreading to the U.S. In the early going this means that sites will migrate to America as they exist. Sugarhouse has already become an option, as have some other prominent companies. But in the future it means gambling providers will also be looking to gain an edge and show the U.S. market something new and exciting. Given all of this, expect to see some fun tech-oriented concepts and companies arising in this space – most likely in the form of a service that combines virtual sports viewing with internet betting.
Virtual reality gets press for the fun and games it offers, along with the digital traveling opportunities it provides. But some of the lesser-known applications of VR are in the fitness world. Virtual reality can help you feel like you’re working out somewhere besides the smelly, crowded gym you’re used to, or your home exercise room for that matter. And with ICAROS, this capability is really stretched to a level that hints at a whole new future of personal fitness. This company’s machines are being installed in gyms and workout facilities around the world, and with the recently-launched ICAROS Home version, they’ve also become available to individuals. The machines are a bit tricky to describe, but they basically allow the user to strap into a sort of suspended exoskeleton, facing down and with VR goggles on. From there, the machine works with a VR program to present a sort of game-like flight simulation, and the user maneuvers within the machine to make it through the game, enjoying a full-body workout in the process. Whether ICAROS itself makes it big or it simply hints at more, similar machines, fitness-oriented VR equipment could certainly be a space to watch for the next big tech companies.
The Next Big Cryptocurrency Wallet
Right now, people interested in cryptocurrencies actually have a lot of digital wallet options. Coinbase may have been the first to gain widespread recognition, and remains aa popular and intuitive option; Mycelium has gotten a lot of positive attention for mobile compatibility and security; and Robinhood, initially a free-to-use stock investment platform made popular by its low-fee trading, has integrated crypto exchange and storage also. These are all interesting options, but what cryptos have been missing is a driving force behind them, lending them a popular and reliable reputation – a single, major wallet that people could effectively look at as a go-to company for all things crypto. It may take a while for such a leader to emerge, if indeed it’s ever going to happen, but this figures to be an active space in 2020 was well.