TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2016: A Window Into the Future of Technology Innovation

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Technology Innovation

Technology innovation is moving faster than you think.

I’m at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2016 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City, showcasing Stuzo’s mobile AdTech and MarTech platform, in Startup Alley. After an intense day of lightning-fast conversations with investors, brands, agencies, publishers, and journalists, I’ve taken a moment to reflect on what I’ve seen.

Unsurprisingly, few companies in the Startup Battlefield or Startup Alley are focused on mobile. Contrast this with Disrupt NYC 2011, five short years ago, and you’ll find a plethora of startups focused on mobile, some of which went on to raise significant financing (Getaround, EverythingMe) or have already exited (Rexly).

This year at Disrupt NYC, the battlefield has changed. 3D Printler lets you order a 3D print via a chatbot. Cuju is a software firewall for your house. Think about that. 10 years ago, if you were to install a firewall in your house, it would be to protect against actual fires. Fast forward to 2016, and we need firewalls to safeguard our physical homes against cyber criminals who could hack our home’s software. DigitalGenius is already looking past bots. Didn’t bots literally just come out? created artificial intelligence to help medical software find abnormalities faster. Union Square Ventures Managing Partner Fred Wilson talked on stage about how AR and VR will become mature in the next 5-10 years. People are riding electric bikes around the exhibit hall and controlling robots with gloves. A coffee maker tells your smartphone when it needs a refill of fresh beans from local roasters. Halo Neuroscience developed a brain-improving wearable that makes athletes better, stronger, and faster (and actually works – tested with Olympic athletes). Modern Meadow is producing bioengineered real leather, removing slaughter, waste, and inefficiencies from manufacturing while creating a superior raw material product.

If you’re not convinced yet about how much technology has changed in the last 5 years, this should do the trick:

Dag Kittlaus, creator of Siri (acquired by Apple), presented the first ever public demo of his new startup Viv, an artificial intelligence engine that writes its own software on the fly to handle complex natural speech queries. I took a video of Dag’s presentation and posted to Twitter. Viv is artificially intelligent software that knows how to write its own software.

Viv has the potential to turn any internet connected object into a voice interface and virtual assistant that can help automate your life. (I just wrote about this topic last month, predicting technology like this would be mature by 2025. I believe I’ll be proven wrong. It will be here sooner.)

What changed?

5 years ago, technology companies who had access to the best mobile engineering talent and funding could win. Software was an advantage. Today, any developer with an internet connection has access to inexpensive or free software libraries that can be used to build powerful mobile applications with minimal learning curve. The software has become ubiquitous. Access is democratized.

This is an important and critical paradigm shift. Great software is no longer one of the limiting factors to success. All companies have access to great software. At Stuzo, we often use the MEAN stack, a javascript-based software framework which allows us to build powerful cross-platform applications that scale to the enterprise and perform phenomenally.

Now that things are drastically different, what do companies need to win?

The question is no longer, “what is technology capable of?” The question is now, “what can we imagine doing?” The focus has gone from technology to innovation. Technology is accessible. Innovation is the next frontier.

If your organization is in the middle of a shift in focus toward innovation, my company, Stuzo, may be able to help. We are a Digital Product Innovation firm that focuses on helping organizations define, design, and deliver brilliant digital products. Stuzo can help your organization imagine what’s possible, ideate, and define a digital product that will accelerate your business.

Contact us today to learn more.

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