Forget the Alexa-powered toasters at CES, these innovations will really shape 2018

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As CES rolls out troves of new Alexa-enabled toasters, mirrors as well as shower heads, the collecting has become just another symbol of Silicon Valley’s disconnect with the requirements of normal people.

Meanwhile, we’d lately challenged Silicon Valley to find new solutions for life span at which we could all use a bit of assistance, including: 1) graduating with student loans, 2) moving into a city and paying rent, 3) becoming a parent, and 4) living comfortably post-retirement.

2018 is the year we can finally look forward to exciting developments in all those classes. In the coming year, we’ll see major shifts, including the biggest brands competing for the attention of baby boomers, not millennials; new apartments in cities such as NY charging half of the lease you’re paying now; and even checking your fertility becoming as easy as swiping.

Unfortunately, none of these inventions are matters you will be hearing at CES. So at the conclusion of this year, I sat down with Dr. Oz, Bobbi Brown, President Fox and others on our Kairos board to map out the huge changes we hope to see in 2018.

Here are some of the things we predict will occur:

Prediction 1: Baby boomers will become the new millennials

  • Consumer brands will change focus to the boomer generation.  Boomers are tech savvy. They’re busy on social websites (72 percent are busy Facebook users) they use smartphones (>60%) and they’re accustomed to the ease of on-demand services such as Uber, grocery delivery and much more. With more than 10,000 people retiring every day, this is the year we’ll see the growth of new lifestyle brands/services competing for the attention of boomers, perhaps not millennials.
  • Boomers will find part-time jobs with a goal. Don’t even anticipate retiring boomers to be sitting at home or playing golf daily. This generation, such as millennials, needs companionship and the opportunity to take part in purpose-driven work. Expect to see an influx of new businesses built around seniors offering services with significance. Examples include housing solutions where seniors rent out rooms in their now-empty houses to students or where seniors offer daycare services for neighborhood kids.
  • Healthcare will transition out of the hospital to the House.   Boomers are the first wave of couples comfortable with digital technologies in their everyday lives. And because of this, anticipate tech-savvy boomers to lead the charge in transferring health from the hospital and into the house. They will be accustomed to using fitness trackers and home diagnostic kits to monitor their wellbeing. And when hiring at-home older care for themselves or their parents, boomers will expect physicians to use the latest technologies to increase therapy, track outcomes and decrease costs. This transformation in the elderly-care sector will imply more seniors will be able to stay healthier, happier lives in the freedom and comfort of their own house.

Prediction two: Being a better parent will be as easy as swiping

  • Fertility services will go mainstream.   Starting a family is expensive, and people are beginning to wait until later in life to have kids. But until now, fertility services have been expensive, complicated and taboo. In the coming year, we’ll find new manufacturers creating affordable, consumer-friendly services which make fertility testing as easy as a at-home pregnancy test.
  • Peer-to-peer platforms will transform services.   Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars annually on a conventional daycare, you’ll soon be able to find neighborhood parents or parents who are turning their houses into licensed daycares thanks to new Airbnb-like platforms. This will help lessen the cost of childcare in a time when more than 60% of households have both parents working!
  • New youth nutrition services will be front and center.   You will find more fresh food options today for pets than there are for kids! But in the next year, expect to finally see a surge in high quality nutrition services for early youth delivered right to your door – which is especially significant given the outsized effect the first couple of decades of diet has on a kid’s lifetime of health.

  Prediction 3: Paying rent will no longer break the lender

  • Traditional houses will become the new apartment buildings.   In 2018, we’ll finally find a surge in new housing supply, but not because of new construction. By better using floor room to increase the number of rooms per house, single-family houses will become multiple private apartments with shared common spaces. These apartments will every lease at almost  half of the price of other neighboring units and come with flexible rentals, making housing accessible to a much larger population. Expect to first see these solutions in major cities such as NYC, SF and London, with smaller cities to follow.
  • We’ll no longer have to put a giant security deposit.   Putting up 1-2 months of lease in an untouchable escrow can have a huge toll on the bank accounts. But in the coming year, you won’t even need to put aside a large chunk of money for security deposits. Rather, new services will let you pay a tiny monthly fee for an insurance policy that provides landlords the same protection for a deposit.

Prediction 4: New college degrees won’t even leave you drowning in debt

  • New levels will have tuition tied to future earnings.   More than 1.3 million students are graduating with debt this year, and, subsequently, we are seeing more and more young people questioning if amounts are worth the cost. In reality, a recent study showed more than 30 percent of graduates with student loans have said they believe the costs outweigh the benefits! But in 2018, we’ll begin seeing the cost of amounts attached to post-graduation income, so you’re never paying more than you are able. Consequently, search for an increase at trade-specific levels.
  • Insurance will ensure the value of your level. We’ll also see new insurance programs for individuals and universities which will guarantee your new level gets you a salary bump. This income protection will help students make smarter decisions before taking out a hefty loan.

2017 was a tough season for lots of us, but entrepreneurs around the world are beginning to respond to the actual needs of the society. I hope that you’re as enthused as I am for what we’ll see in 2018.

*Disclaimer: Kairos is currently working with entrepreneurs at the spaces of early-childhood nutrition, new versions of housing and elderly care.

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