Consumer Technology Blossoms in NYC: 20 Valuable Startups in 2020
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Consumer technology can be defined as all the technological products that face customers directly and aim to improve the quality of our daily lives, making life more convenient, intelligent, connected and accessible. Consumer technology can be divided into these five categories: health and fitness, smart home, wearables and intelligent home appliances. The marriage of wireless and 5G, coming together with AI applications and these hardware systems, is set to add another transformative layer to our social world. What innovators are making the most spirited bids for success in this new environment?

According to the CTA (Consumer Technology Association), revenue growth for the US consumer tech industry is set to grow to a record USD 422 billion in retail revenues in 2020 – nearly 4% growth over last year. Consumers are caring more and more about their user experience and interested in trying new technology to improve their lives. Several sectors stand out – such as wireless earbuds, smart homes and smart speakers. And technology is brought into various application scenarios, including home, business, entertainment, architecture and health.

For smart home technology, audio and video devices maintain the greatest prevalence among US, with 56% of respondents indicating ownership of one of these products. Home networking and home security are the second and third most-owned products, respectively. Startups Latch, Kangaroo and Canary are rooted in home security and Nucleus focuses on home networking.

For health and fitness, AI and big data are trending. Imagen Technologies is using AI to reduce diagnostic errors and improve patient outcomes. According to Yahoo, the Global market for health and fitness trackers will reach USD 5 billion by 2025. Wearables are rapidly moving into the preventative care, diagnostics, and urgent care segment. Demand is also building in the healthcare industry for remote monitoring and diagnostics - Ro provides digital remote health treatment, while Sward Health pairs licensed physical therapists with innovative technology to help patients recover.

The smart home appliances market has the potential to grow by USD 31.66 billion during the period 2020-2024. Over 40% of the market's growth will originate from APAC and China is the dominant player in the region. There are several notable startups in this category, such as Temi, a home robot, and Eight sleep, which can provide higher quality sleep every night.

For Wearables, the market size is forecast to reach USD 57.49 billion by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 9.9%  from 2020 onwards. The demand for wearables in various applications is increasing. The merging of wearable cameras and virtual reality is further enhancing market growth. The Drone Racing League and Spatial are bringing VR to disrupt sports entertainment and business meeting.

We find valuable startups in all these four categories, and let's meet 2020's star companies based in New York City founded from 2012.

Health and Fitness

The health and fitness sector is now embracing technology to improve health treatment and the fitness experience. Startups take full advantage of the new technology to complete consultations with minimal procedural delay, to improve doctors' diagnostic accuracy and to make fitness accessible and affordable to everyone.

A company named Ro aims to provide digital health services that connect customers with the right treatment and professionals. They specify services for common problems, such as smokers who want to wave goodbye to cigarettes. As a customer, you can save the time you'd spend finding a clinic, choosing a doctor and then spending an hour to find your way to the clinic. The whole process has been cut down by Ro – doctors can get your information and provide solutions and treatments for each patient. Another company, named Imagen Technologies, uses AI to analyze medical images to reduce diagnostic errors and improve patient outcomes. Over the long-term, they are conducting research to find the next set of breakthroughs at the intersection of AI and medicine to transform early disease identification and management. In Imagen's scenario, human doctors disappear totally, and AI is your physician.

Technology and human experts do not need to be framed as in competition, however. We are seeing increasing amounts of sharing of resources between medical equipment makers and medical experts. Sward health is a tech-enabled musculoskeletal (MSK) care provider. They pair licensed physical therapists with innovative technology to help people overcome pain faster and more cost-effectively. Patients will access exercise programs with all the exercise data recorded and sent to the digital therapist. The therapist will reply and provide advice about the recovery process. This approach promises to reduce medical fees during the long recovery process from a traumatic injury, for example.

The emerging trends are also acquiring general headings: mHealth, otherwise known as mobile health, is the category under which many innovations are being grouped. MHealth describes the use of mobile and wireless tech to improve health broadly and strengthen the outcome of therapeutic interventions. One example is RapidSOS, an emergency technology company providing a direct data link from connected devices to emergency hotlines and first responders. It already connects more than 250 million devices directly to local public safety agencies. TytoCare is transforming primary care by connecting people to clinicians to provide the best remote home examination and diagnosis solutions. They have three telehealth products: TytoHome™ for consumers, TytoPro™ for professionals, and TytoClinic™ for remote point-of-care locations.

In fitness area, Mirror offers a nearly invisible, interactive home gym. The user will have a mirror that looks the same as a normal mirror, but will display both yourself and an image of your 'coach'. A body characteristic index will also show on it. While some people like to do fitness at home, some prefer outside. International  fitness technology company Hammerhead has launched a navigational device called Karoo that augments your cycling experience with sophisticated GPS navigation and real-time ride data, connecting sensors via Bluetooth to track your heart rate, cadence and power.

Smart Home

The Smart home means using wiring technology, network communications, security technology, automatic control technology and audio and video to integrate technology into one's living space related to the management of the home, with a special focus on family life.

Three companies on our list have chosen to focus on security systems. Latch company specializes in manufacturing keyless entry security systems, giving property owners the ability to manage every door in a multi-family building. Moreover, residents can also give access to guests as well as service providers through time-limited access codes. Kangaroo is an electronics company that provides simple home security systems, together with a monitoring kit. Their product also includes a water and climate sensor, and window decals. The Canary company  harnesses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to provide actionable, video-based intelligence about the home and activity within it. Canary knows when you are at home or out, or when you’re sleeping, and it will automatically change modes. Next comes Nucleus, the smart home wireless intercom system that lets you make video calls from room to room, home to home, or country to country instantly for family members. Their product Nucleuscare is designed to enhance the lives of everyone in a senior living community. Hello Alfred aims to make home service more available, to save time and space. It includes in-home services and on-request services. Members are assigned a personal home manager, 'Alfred', and can make requests of him via the company's app.

Smart Home Appliances

A key feature of smart appliances is their responsivity: they have the ability to automatically sense the status of the home space. They can automatically activate or receive control instructions from the residential user, who may be inside the house or outside.

A key feature of smart appliances is their responsivity: they have the ability to automatically sense the status of the home space. They can automatically activate or receive control instructions from the residential user, who may be inside the house or outside.

In this area, many companies are combining technology to provide products that can make our home life more comfortable. For example, Eight Sleep is the first sleep fitness company. They have launched a 'memory foam' that automatically adjusts temperature, furnishing you with a sleep report each morning. Eight Sleep cares about our nighttime health, while Willo cares about our oral health. AXIS Labs is developing innovative window covering solutions that blends intelligence with simplicity. The company's first product, Gear, was launched as a compatible smart device that motorizes and automates existing window shades in minutes. Gear was named as the 2017 Motorized Product of the Year by the Consumer Technology Association. Aura Frams are building connected digital picture frames to fill your home with photos of your friends and family. Select the people in your life that matter most and Aura Frams automatically displays the best photos of them on your frame. Meanwhile company Temi is an intelligent, mobile, personal home robot. The robot will come to your children's location and display what they're doing. It can also be used in retail places and business scenarious to act as a salesperson or business assistant. KeyMe brings key-scanning kiosks for people who fear lsoing their keys and want to duplicate them. With the KeyMe app for iOS and Android, users can save, copy, and share keys via email or text, and choose from over 100 designs. They have set out nearly 20 key duplication service points in Manhattan.


A wearable device is a portable device that is worn directly on the body or integrated into a user's clothing or accessories. Wearable devices constitute more than one kind of hardware device. They can realize powerful functions through software support, data transfer and cloud interfacing. Wearable devices are likely to continue to bring great changes to our lives and our routines.

Among wearbales, VR is one of the stars in our list. The Drone racing league combines e-sports Formula 1 and a touch of virtual reality. Competitors wear VR headsets and then control their drones to fly them through tracks. Another company, Spatial, creates a real-time virtual workspace for users. When users wear VR headsets and choose a scene, their virtual avatar will be displayed along with those of colleagues in a digital space, no matter the distance between them in real life.

Another company, called Kinetic, has chosen a different type of target customer compared to the previous two. It creates wearables that reduce workplace injuries for the industrial workplace. The product automatically detects high-risk postures and provides workers with feedback whenever high-risk montions occur. Kinetic is small enough to be kept safely in a pocket and can be carried almost anywhere. Portability is one of the obvious added benefits that wearables have compared to other categories referenced in our list.

*Contributor: Ivan Platonov | Editor: Luke Sheehan
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