Trends in the FinTech app space affect trends in the broader technology space and vice versa. So, for today let’s park the conversation on money matters. Instead, let’s talk about some sophisticated, new apps (unrelated to FinTech) that you might want to keep your eye on.
As I was sifting through a bunch of ‘best app of 2017’ type lists, these apps jumped out at me. I believe each of these apps pushes the boundaries of technologies from artificial intelligence to virtual reality that will dominate our futures. That’s why I’ve included them in my list below. As a disclaimer, the process of picking these apps wasn’t scientific. I’m sure there are other apps out there that are pretty amazing, and meet the criteria I mentioned above. So, here we go:
AirMap: Many people operate drones for fun. There’s now also a group of people who are commercial drone pilots — this includes people such as professional videographers. With a growing number of industries that might depend on commercial drone pilots such as package delivery, drone safety is of utmost importance. It’s also one of the biggest hurdles in widespread drone usage. In the commercial sphere, safety often depends on the drone pilot’s understanding of evolving rules and regulations, and communication with airports. AirMap is an app that makes this communication simple. The company’s new app allows commercial drone pilots to view aerospace information, report the details of their flight, and share that information with airports in their vicinity to ensure safety. They can also access flight restrictions and other flights activity.
Duobook: We spend so much of our lives staring at screens including our smartphones and our computers. The line between our digital and actual existence continues to blur even more with technological advancements. Sometimes your eyes need a break. This app is perfect for the person who loves to read when the want to take a break, and also wants to rest their eyes. Duobook allows you to switch between reading and listening to the same book via their app. Currently, the app is available on iOS and it’s free.
Facebook Spaces: We’ve all read research on, and potentially experienced one of the most negative side effects of technological evolution — social isolation. However, Facebook claims that with Facebook Spaces, the app they just launched at the end of April, that they want to make virtual reality more social. The app is limited to people who have Oculus Rift, but if you don’t, you can also join via a Facebook Messenger call. Right now, you choose an avatar. Four people can join a space. You can look at photos, videos and FB posts with the group. The app is still in Beta version, and users will likely see several upgrades in quality and experience as they learn how users want to share this virtual reality space.
IFTTT: You’d be surprised at how many tasks you perform each day that can be automated. IFTTT, a startup led by CEO Linden Tibbets, allows you to do just this. The company, which stands for “If This, Then That,” allows you to connect your smart home devices, platforms and much more. Some of the neatest connections the app allows for includes finding your phone if you lose it with the light switch in your home, building an automatic pet feeder, and waking up to a perfectly curated sunrise if your schedule is not already inline with sunrise. The app also now integrates with newspapers, Evernote and LinkedIn. You can even automate the process of sending yourself an article every time a particular name gets mentioned. The best part is that it’s all integrated into one app, and available on iOS and Android.
Speak – People spend $90 billion a year on English teachers each year. Yet, they often still aren’t able to speak with fluency, accuracy and confidence. Founder Vu Van wants to resolve this problem because she experienced the issue herself. She was born and raised in Vietnam, and later moved to the U.S. After beginning an MBA program, she realized her English pronunciation was becoming an issue. She just wasn’t able to communicate as fluently as she wanted with the people around her. So, she decided to create an app to help people with this. Speak allows users to access different vocabulary curriculums depending on who they plan to interact with. For example, if they plan to use English in the workplace, the app will walk them through words that might be used in this context. The AI used in the app will flag any mispronunciation of words, and share the correct pronunciation of the word with users. Van believes that as she feeds more data into the app, the pronunciation corrections will become more and more accurate similar to Siri and other apps based on AI.