AFDA BCom student Ziphozethu Gowa talks about

News, 27 August 2019



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I got the opportunity to attend Unbound, the UK’s largest innovation festival. Throughout the two-day event, we saw an eclectic mix of discussions involving some of the most influential thought leaders within digital transformation and innovation. The festival also opened up the stage to a number of upcoming and inspirational start-ups, battling it out head-to-head to win various pitching competitions.

My favourite part was exploring “Scaling your Disruptive Startup” also known as your “unicorn startup” Uber being an example. It was highlight that it was because of “human behavior” rather than the business itself made Uber successful. People reacted quickly to Uber because it served a purpose that:

 Made their lives easier.

 Comfort for consumers to be able to complain to someone about a bad taxi experience.

 The empowerment of drivers and people wanting to earn some extra cash through the platform.

In essence, it is how we use the technology and not the tech itself that makes it successful. Healthtech was a very hot topic at Unbound. Taking the stage were start-ups such as WeWalk – which makes ‘smart canes’ for the visually impaired - and Surgeonmate, developer of smart-glasses for surgeons that focus on recording, managing and editing video content from surgical procedures.

One talk that truly stood above many others was from Tara Boler, CEO and founder of Elvie. Elvie is on a mission to revolutionise women’s health and break societal taboos by creating smart connected devices especially designed for women – from pelvic floor trainers to breast pumps. Three years ago, the femtech category didn’t even exist. Its crazy when you consider that 90% of women are the primary healthcare decision makers for their household.

Funny enough another trending topic was immersive technology. (funny, because it is a part of our narrative this semester at AFDA.(ps. I didn't know) The VR and AR market is estimated to grow to over £116bn by 2020, representing a huge opportunity for brands to transform how their customers interact with their products and services. Google is using AR features within its Google Lens, to overlay information such as restaurant menus, language translations and product reviews. The style match feature also lets you point your smartphone camera at any object and it will automatically find the same or similar-looking items and direct you to the relevant websites where you can buy them.

Of course, fintech was a word never far from anyone’s lips. Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, insuretech and mobile-first platforms were the hot topics this year. The CEO of Tide said that ‘businesschallenger banking is now at the very exciting mass adoption stage’. So brace yourselves for these disruptive fintechs making even bigger headlines over the coming year. Overall, the two days were filled with a fantastic array of speakers, and it was especially refreshing to see so many start-ups led by female founders. It will be exciting to watch these start-ups grow in the coming years, as they continue to disrupt, innovate, and even create new markets. And it will be equally intriguing to see how incumbents either re-invent themselves, or seek out partnerships to deal with the threat.

Written by ZIPHOZETHU GOWA

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