6 Startup Trends to Focus on in 2020

A new year often signifies new beginnings, new opportunities, new inventions and new trends to look out for. 2020 is said to bring along a number of trends that will shape the landscape of the startup world. A number of advantages, tools and solutions stand waiting for founders and business owners to try their hands on and scale up.

Here’s a list of the 6 trends to look out for this year –

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is the process of building smart machines that perform tasks which would otherwise require human intelligence. It is an extended branch of computer science and aims to replicate human intelligence in machines. Many people assume that AI is a mere concept of the future but in reality AI already plays an important role in mainstream business.

How does this benefit startups and business as a whole?

Startups have limited resources. Hence, anything that simplifies and eases the work process is welcome. There’s no doubt that in any sort of business, customer is king and companies that provide quick, efficient and hassle-free customer support tend to succeed more or so over others. AI helps in providing such customer service tools. For example – many companies use AI serviced chatbots to connect, chat and quickly respond to customer queries.

Advanced computing tools, machine learning, predictive analysis and AI have fueled the growth of new-age business intelligence tools. Overall, AI tools can aid in the collection of complete and consistent data. It can analyse a huge chunk of data and provide an insightful analogies to customer behaviour and needs.

Artificial Intelligence also forecasts future sales and estimates market trends, manages digital campaigns and improves hiring processes.

2. Remote Work

As the global market consistently brings together the economies of the world and the number of people taking part in the gig economy increases, the trend of working remotely is on a rise. A large chunk of the workforce is constantly looking for more flexible work schedules and are willing to change their jobs if it means they get an opportunity to work remotely. Temps, contractors, freelancers all fall into this category, often working jobs short-term or on a project basis. This not only benefits employees through increased flexibility, time saved and transportation reduced, but also employers and business owners as they are able to hire talent globally and reduce over-head costs.

Of course, not all jobs are suited for remote work. Jobs where employees are required to concentrate and need time for focused, a shared office space full of interruptions and distractions might not be beneficial. For example tasks like creating software codes, reports, spreadsheets, etc.

Remote work is a management tool like any other out there. If managed well, remote work does have the potential to improve performance, increase employee satisfaction and be beneficial for a business.

3. Voice Recognition Technology

Voice or speech recognition is essentially the ability of a machine or device to receive and interpret voice commands. It has gained prominence and use with AI and intelligent assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

There have been vast improvements in natural language understanding and speech accuracy rates which has led to companies creating more and more voice-enabled experiences. For example, banks see a great advantage in voice-based banking as it reduces the need for human customer service representatives and therefore reduces staffing costs. Having access to your personal banking assistant and avoiding the effort of physically going to a bank increases customer satisfaction and retention.

“So much of HR work is transactional, repeatable, auditable and documentable – that is what bots are great at,” says Jason Averbook, CEO of Leapgen, and a specialist on workplace technology.Similarly, marketing professionals would also benefit from voice-assistants for scheduling social media posts, creating reports, etc.

Companies all around the world are testing new ways in which this dynamic tool can help imporve the overall customer experience. Hyundai has an in-built feature wherein Google Home assists in starting your car; and Tide built an Alexa skill to help guide you through removing delicate stains.

4. Edge Computing

There are no two ways about the fact that we are will into the cloud computing era. Both consumers and businesses across the globe have benefited from centralised services, such as cloud storage and communication tools, just through active internet connection.

The advantage is that there are just a handful of companies dominating the cloud computing space at the moment. They’re dependent on a network of data centers located in secure locations. These data centers must communicate with users and with each other (often over great distances), which opens the possibility for lower latencies and security risks.

With edge computing, computation is performed on distributed smart, or “edge” devices instead of taking place a centralised cloud environment. Closely related to the internet of things (IoT), edge computing is seen as an important concept for the creation of smart cities and physical computers (computers which can interact with the physical world).

As things progress, in the future, computers the size of our smartphones may be able to take on workloads that only a data center can handle today.

5. Hyper Personalisation

Hyper Personalisation is the use of data and AI to provide more customised and targeted products, services and content in view of the ever evolving customer trends. We live in an era wherein customers make very informed choices and don’t blindly put their trust into brands. So the only way to make a product or service stand out these days is by providing highly personalised customer experiences. Hyper-personalisation uses real-time and behavioural data to connect with the consumer in a more relevant manner.

As studies have proven, a message only has 8 seconds to grasp a customer’s attention. therefore, the communication needs to be clear and clutter-free. A personalised message would be addressing the customer with his/her name. While appreciated, this effort doesn’t prove to be as useful. Hyper-personalisation is a step above this. For example – if a user searches for ‘black running shoes’ of a particular brand but doesn’t make the purchase instantly, a quick analysis of the user will deliver the following information –

a. their natural liking towards purchasing goods that are discounted
b. the usual day of the week and time they make an online purchase on – Sundays between 4pm and 6pm
c. the prior search and purchase history of the said brand
This would lead the customer receiving a ‘push notification’ on Sunday between 4pm and 6pm about the particular brand’s running shoes selling at discounted rates. All this, through hyper-personalised campaigns.

6. Offline Marketing

In the past 5 years, we have seen a massive growth in the digital and online marketing sphere. But now, with the online market becoming overly saturated and huge changes in data protection and privacy, brands can benefit from offline activities.

For example – Slack, a digital communication platform that has successful taken collaborations between people and companies online, has experienced rapid growth rates in the past 5 years as it has gone offline to interact, engage and communicate with its users through brand activations, events and meet ups.

Even tech startups have taken to community meet ups and brand events as a part of their marketing strategy.