We’ve selected 10 new business ideas that will provide entrepreneurs with plenty of inspiration in 2014. Spotted from countries all around the world, these businesses offer a taste of what’s to come in the year ahead.
Top 10 business ideas & opportunities for 2014!
Top 10 business ideas & opportunities for 2014!
Top 10 business ideas & opportunities for 2014!
We’ve selected 10 new business ideas that will provide
entrepreneurs with plenty of inspiration in 2014. Spotted from
countries all around the world, these businesses offer a taste
of what’s to come in the year ahead.!
1. Swedish invisible bike helmet, now available to buy!
Cycling take-up by city dwellers varies around the
world — almost one quarter of all journeys taken in
Malmö, Sweden, are made by bike, while air pollution
and rise of automotive trafﬁc make Beijing a cyclist’s
nightmare. It’s no surprise then that Swedish
innovators are behind some of the most impressive
tech solutions to increase bicycle uptake, such as the
Hövding helmet. Typical helmets can be uncomfortable and there is continuing debate about whether
they actually protect wearers, meaning that some
cyclists don’t even bother. The Hövding is essentially
an airbag that is packed away and stored around the
neck when cycling. In the event of a crash, the airbag
is activated and covers a much larger area around the
head than a regular helmet would. !
The Hövding provides greater protection and comfort for the increasing numbers of cyclists on
urban roads, as well as helping to encourage more people to take up the green mode of
transport in their own city.!
Read more about the Hövding »!
2. From Finland, platform enables consumers to pay with their face!
This year, Uniqul has shown that streamlining product
purchases using digital and web technology is not
just limited to online shopping. The Finland-based
company launched physical checkouts that
automatically load customers’ payment details by
recognizing their face. Not only can the platform
reduce high street checkout times to around ﬁve
seconds, but it also offers a more personalized
service with huge data collecting capabilities.
Although reminiscent of sci-ﬁ ﬁlms such as Minority
Report, Uniqul is working to turn the system into a
reality and is currently preparing to launch in Helsinki.!
Uniqul falls into a more general growing trend for
using facial recognition tech in the retail space, which!
this Year also saw the UK’s OptimEyes develop digital ads that collect information about the
demographics that notice them, and Russia’s Synqera create an emotion-detecting platform that
offers shoppers discounts depending on their mood.!
Read more about Uniqul »!
3. Shopping cart-mounted tablet detects nearby items and offers
recipes in real time!
Continuing the theme of supermarkets becoming
smarter, this year saw Hellmann’s Brazil return with
another novel marketing campaign. Having leveraged
receipts to print personalized recipes depending on
shopper’s baskets in 2012, the mayonnaise brand
teamed up with creative agency CUBOCC to ﬁt
shopping trolleys with NFC-enabled tablet devices.
As customers made their way around the store, the
displays offered different recipes — all featuring
mayonnaise — depending on the products they were
near to. The ads acted as a call to action, using tech
to target consumers in the moment of their decision
This tactic was also utilized in another innovative bit
of marketing courtesy of Microsoft, which launched a print ad in Forbes magazine which could be
used to connect to free wiﬁ as a way to demonstrate the ubiquity of the cloud, a key feature of its
Ofﬁce 365 software.!
Read more about the Recipe Cart »!
4. In Japan, web search 3D-prints results for visually impaired!
One of the major buzzwords for 2013 was 3D
printing, however, the concept is more than just a fad
and we’ve seen more businesses truly integrate the
idea into their services this year than ever before. Our
favorite? Yahoo! Japan’s Hands On Search gave
children at the Special Needs Education School for
the Visually Impaired a tactile experience of the web
by printing out 3D models of search results. The
project shows how 3D printing can move beyond its
obvious use for modeling and prototyping, and can
create objects on-demand with genuine utility.
Similarly, iLab Haiti is also using 3D printing to
provide emergency and medical workers with the
equipment that is sometimes lacking, exactly when
they need it.!
While few homes and businesses currently have their own 3D printers, 2014 could see this
change signiﬁcantly with the concept becoming an industry in itself. Ideas like 2013′s Filabot,
which enables users to turn their recyclable plastics into 3D printing ﬁlament, will set out to prove
this to be the case.!
Read more about Hands On Search »!
5. Real-time translator could be the end of awkward foreign language!
One problem with Marshall McLuhan’s “Global
Village” is that not everyone is on an equal footing in
terms of communication — while English has become
the de facto language of the internet, the world is still
multilingual. However, there are companies striving to
provide a seamless link between businesses and
consumers who speak different tongues. One product
making moves to solve this problem this year was
SIGMO, a palm-sized device that translates speech
into 25 different languages and relays it as audio,
enabling real-time two-way communication between
users of different nationalities. SIGMO broke its
Indiegogo funding target in spectacular style in
October, eventually raising just shy of USD 250,000
from an initial aim of USD 15,000.!
While instant translation tools are useful for consumers of all kinds, ELSA is another device that
uses remote human translators to provide on-demand translations for emergency services
dealing with immigrants and other diaspora. Both SIGMO and ELSA could help real-time
translation go big in 2014.!
Read more about SIGMO »!
6. From Switzerland, Lego-like blocks enable plug-and-play smart homes!
Many home electronics companies in the past 12
months have been scrambling to ensure their
products are now as smart as the phones in
consumers’ pockets. However, almost anything can
be connected to the web, a fact realized by
companies such as Switzerland’s digitalSTROM and
China’s Plugaway. Both are solutions to retroﬁt smart
capabilities to any existing home device that’s
connected to mains power. Not only do these
systems provide remote control from smartphone
apps, homeowners can also monitor their energy use
and other data about their property.!
We’ve seen a plethora of new products in 2013 that
include these capabilties — August, DoorBot and!
Greenbox to name a few — but both digitalSTROM and Plugaway are making this tech available
to consumers in all income brackets right now.!
Read more about digitalSTROM »!
7. In South Korea, ‘smart hospital’ offers services through smartphones!
The healthcare industry has long relied on innovators
and risk-takers to come up with new ways to tackle
diseases and improve hospital conditions across the
board. Some are going further than others in
embracing digital, however, such as Seoul National
University Bundang Hospital in South Korea. This
year, it released its own Patient Guide app, using
electronic medical records to deliver information
about scheduled appointments, expected waiting
times and healthcare costs whenever they need it. Its
RFID-enabled patient tags also hold information
about inpatients for doctors, as well as enabling
guests to log into a personalized entertainment
system during their stay.!
The smart systems developed for the hospital offer a taste of how consumer tech will help to
improve citizen experience at hospitals and other government facilities through the coming year.!
Read more about the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital » !
8. In London, customers design and print fashion items live in-store!
Personalized services are helping consumers
become more demanding in terms of what they want
from businesses. In the fashion sector, consumer
creativity is at its most evident and YrStore was one
project to fully embrace customers calling the shots.
The pop-up store enabled visitors to design their own
garments before having them printed live in store.
Located on London’s Carnaby Street, the outlet
offered a completely different vibe to the typical
image of dead-eyed crowds sifting through shelves of
garments, and instead saw them get hands-on with
design software to create fashions that more faithfully
expressed their personalities.!
Although a temporary project, the principles under-!
pinned by YrStore offer a taste of greater customerinvolvement in the creation of the products
they consume, and ideas such as Spain’s Fabrican spray-on clothing hint that in the future they
won’t even need to head to a shop to do it.!
Read more about YrStore »!
9. Blog feeds turned into personalized TV show!
2013 may have ushered in the death of one of the
most popular news feed aggregators — Google
Reader — but the reaction to its closure offered a
great insight into the way many now receive
information — from multiple and widespread corners
of the web. Its organization therefore is of great
importance, something recognized by Guide, a
platform that takes news from users’ favorite blogs,
news sites and social network feeds and presents it
as their own personalized TV news channel.!
This reorganization and repackaging of the web’s!
growing content is another example of consumers
demanding new ways to customize their daily
experience, and has already been picked up by plat-!
forms such as Wibbitz, which boils down news articles into visual, bitesize chunks. Given the
popularityof services like Feedly and Flipboard, expect to see more personalization from these
services in the coming year.!
Read more about Guide »!
10. At Rio carnival, beer cans recycled in exchange for train rides!
Telling consumers to commit to more environmentallyfriendly actions without offering any tangible incentive
cannot be the way forward. Promoters of green practices
must offer something in return, without canceling out their
good work. This was exhibited in ﬁne style this year by
Brazil’s AlmapBBDO, with its Beer Turnstile campaign.
Operating at the famous Rio Carnival, revelers were
encouraged to hold onto their empty Antarctica beer
cans, rather than throwing them into the street. The
reward? A free ride home on the Rio metro system if they
handed the cans into waste collectors who made sure the
trash was properly recycled. Not only did the campaign
ensure 1,000 cans per hour were recycled, rather than
sent to landﬁll, they also saw an increase in the number
of people taking public transport rather than their cars,
reducing drink driving in the process. Also offering incen-!
tives for eco behavior with similar success, Austria’s BIOMAT restaurant gave customers discounts if they
brought in food waste from their homes, which was processed and turned into biogas to power the
eatery’s kitchen. And ﬁnally, customers of Germany’s AOTERRA‘s cloud service had the company’s
servers installed into their homes, using their excess heat to warm up the property in an eco-friendly way
while also saving them money. These disparate examples should provide plenty of inspiration for
companies hoping to encourage consumers to go green in the next year.!
Read more about the Beer Turnstile »!