Stockholm Tech Fest 2017
This week, NINE attended the Sthlm Tech Fest 2017. Bustling with tech-heads, start-ups, and innovators of all sorts, the yearly event not only reinforced how much Stockholm’s “Unicorn City” status continues to grow, but also how much challenging the conventional, and designing with “human” at the heart of it all leads to great innovations. Here are some highlights of what we saw and what we learned!
“Meaning is the new currency.”
More than ever before, there’s an aspiration to live more meaningful lives. Mark Drewell and Björn Larsson call this, The Rise of the Meaningful Economy. Where once upon a time it was all about seamlessness of tech, product, and service, we will start to see a new layer unfold, and it’s all about purpose and self-actualization. The meaningful economy brings new opportunities for value creation. Which leads to question; how will the market contribute to helping people live more meaningful lives?
“The future of banking is not full-service banks.”
The conversation around the Future of Finance was held by CEO and Director level panels of popular FinTech companies. Representing the industry were a handful of dapper gents, like founders of Klarna and iZettle, to foreward-thinking giants like MasterCard and Swedbank, led by a powerful line-up of #girlbosses. On a mission to fight cash and plastic, the overall outlook on the future of Finance was all about integrating payments as seamlessly as possible into the everyday life. When asked which service will win over customers, Klarna says it’s going to come down to, “which interface do I like interacting with best? And, who’s taking my data and doing something smart with it.” In short, a smart service, in a nice-looking package!
The future of cities is connected, autonomous, and sustainable.
The future looks pretty good when you listen to Capgemini’s account on Smart Cities. Here, we saw Smart City essentials like connected homes, automated and shared transport, the idea of a quantified body via chip-insert, and the integration of AI in just about everything. The most interesting part of it all- Lilium. A start-up with a mission to re-envision automated transport by air travel, Lilium paints a future where city dwellers can order electric, self-piloted 5-passenger Air Taxis, that are as easy to book as Uber! This got us thinking, if so much of our transport will be self-driving, and (possibly) self-flying, what will we do with that acquired free time? Will transport vessels be a place for shopping? Working? Socialising? And, what will brands do to make the most of this earned time?
The future of AI is Human.
AI, AR, and VR had quite a presence throughout the whole conference this year, and one thing seems clear – the interconnected industries are on a mission to make machines more human. Except, it won’t be about looking human, but learning, thinking, feeling, and interacting in ways that mimic human behaviour and language. And while services like IBM’s Watson and Amazon Web Services are taking the complexity of Neural Networks out of the interface, making it a piece of cake for anyone to integrate AI into their business, the Gaming industry is working hard to develop highly complex social interactions that mimic human intuition, behaviour and language.
According to EA, technology in this sector is expected to advance more within the next 5 years than it has in the last 40 years. Expect to soon interact with smarter than ever retail Chatbots, use more of your whole body in immersive games, and hold deep conversations with Avatars that have learned to converse with you and are no longer pre-programmed.
The future of food is smart, and cow-less. Is it up to Sweden to pioneer the movement?
In a conversation with a panel of smart food solution advocates like Johan Jörgensen of Sweden Food Tech, Klas Balkow, CEO of Axfood, Karl Andersson, CEO of Matsmart, and Toni Petersson, CEO of Oatley, the answer to tackling challenges in the food industry lies heavily in the hands of science and tech. That means, primarily more investment in R&D when it comes to food data (collection and sharing), and sustainable production techniques. For example, those that skip the cow all together, which doesn’t necessarily mean meat-less or dairy-less.
According to these Foodies, we will see, more in stem-cell grown foods, plant-based diets, smart solutions within the frozen foods category, and companies reducing waste by making new use of “flawed” produce and surplus food products. A compelling conclusion to this talk was that Sweden, with its smart start-up scene and innate advocacy for health, wellness, and sustainability has a good chance of leading this movement.
If you want to talk more about the future? We’re really into this stuff. Come by and visit us for a coffee and a chat!