4 ways of improving your competitive edge in the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain

May 17, 2019

Make way for the order of the new digital world. Our everyday lives are fast chronicling innovative examples of deep tech inclusions.

Household Internet of Things (IoT) sensors are monitoring our lifestyle patterns and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is then prompting resultant actions such as automatic grocery shopping, health check-up scheduling and many more – with the whole chain of events being recorded and secured via Blockchain (BC) systems. In the industrial set-up, enterprises are adopting this terrific trio to boost productivity, lower costs, streamline operations, create safer workplaces, all while retaining a competitive edge. The future is indeed digital!

Led by tech startups thriving in a strong support environment, Southeast Asia (SEA) is at the forefront of this digital revolution, and is now home to 6 tech startup unicorn - including Grab the ride-hailing company that competed with Uber for regional dominance in 2018.

Singapore ranks amongst one of the top 12 startup ecosystems globally. With billions of dollars pouring into deep techs like IoT, AI, and BC the competition is rife. Start-ups looking to foray in to IOT, AI, Blockchain led services and solutions must strategize on how to scale fast and compete effectively. Read on to find out more on how to equip your start-up with the coveted competitive edge.

  1. Play the non zero sum game

It is essential to find a partner with complementary skillsets and capabilities to create a distinct advantage in terms of time to market, access to newer segments, and leaps in innovation. The lure of common gains has helped collaborative innovation gain momentum, opening new doors for start-ups and corporates alike.

In April 2018, Appier – a leading Taipei-based start-up that develops AI software announced a landmark integration with LINE, one of the largest messaging platforms in Asia, to generate powerful AI-driven insights into their follower base and increase their reach with highly targeted marketing messages. Nokia in partnership with NGP capital hosted an open innovation challenge worth $175,000 in 2018 looking for new innovative products and solutions within the Industrial IoT domain.

Facebook in a tie up with the Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched Startup Station Singapore in 2018 to help tech start-ups grow and connect with a wider network of opportunities. Leveraging on opportunities for open innovation may well be one of the most powerful mantras for start-up successes.

Want to see how it can change the game for your start-up? Talk to our experts at Interchange Network.

  1. Harness the sweet spot at the convergence of the digital trinity

The convergence of AI, IOT, and Blockchain is inevitable by design. AI cannot function without data, IoT provides the data but is limited without intelligence and insights, and both counterparts need Blockchain to provide security. With the world rapidly embracing the bundled benefits provided by IoT, AI and BC, start-ups and enterprises alike have started investing in all three digital majors to ensure a stronghold in all three deep tech domains.

Gartner predicts that by 2022, over 80 per cent of enterprise IoT projects will include an AI component. Research and Markets data predicts that the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37 per cent through to 2023.

Recognizing the potential of the digital trinity in harmony, the community is rapidly building fresh and integrated solutions. Signzy, an AI and Blockchain start-up, is helping digitize customer authentication and on boarding for banks while minimizing the risk of fraud. Backed by Hyundai Corporation, HDAC, a Korean start-up, is building a multiple-chain based Blockchain platform to help ensure speedy and secure transactions on IoT devices as well as facilitate machine-to-machine transactions and authentication and mapping of IoT devices.

Looking for potential partners and interesting challenges to solve at the crux of AI, IoT, and BC? Find both in our community at the Interchange Network.

  1. Work with Accelerators and Incubators as a success leverage

For early stage start-ups, accelerators and incubators offer dynamic resources to grow businesses and provide frontrunners with competitive advantage. Both offer benefits such as domain rich ecosystems, expert guidance, prototyping labs, and quick access to the world of investors and clients. Founders can seek help to quickly jumpstart their business, and often improve their chances of attracting top Venture Capitalist (VC) firms to invest in their start-up at a later point.

In 2011 the National University of Singapore (NUS), SingTel Innov8, and the Media Development Authority of Singapore collaborated to turn Blk71 into a start-up incubation space, similar to 500 Start-ups - the pioneering incubator launched in Silicon Valley.

Block 71 is a cluster of seven incubation buildings and hosts over 250 start-ups, 30 incubators, and VCs -- making it one of the world’s largest start-up clusters. Several top-notch technology accelerators such as Y Combinator, The Asia Accelerator, and IoT tribe and Incubators like Techstar and Launchbase that could become an integral part of your start-ups success.

Want to understand how you can benefit from accelerator programs? Ask our experts at the Interchange Network.

  1. Take the Venture Capital route

The number of venture capitalists (VCs) in South East Asia has increased exponentially in recent years. Go-Jek (Indonesia) and Grab (Singapore) have attained the unicorn status with the help of their venture capitalist partners – the funding helping them grow fast and build an astounding market valuation. Deep tech sectors like IoT, AI, and BC are hugely popular with VCs and larger organizations alike.

Malaysian VCs such as RHL Ventures and Cradle Fund are clamouring to grab a piece of the deep tech start-up pie! AI start-up investment by VCs has increased to a record breaking 150% year-on-year globally in 2017 and shot up from $4 billion to $10.7 billion. Apart from providing the much-needed funding – VCs also provide domain expertise, go-to-market strategies and growth insights.

For instance, Singapore-based AI start-up Insider, which prides itself as the world’s first AI-driven integrated growth management platform, raised $11 million in Series B funding in an investment round led by Sequoia in 2018. Collaborating with VCs may be just the competitive boost that every start-up needs.

Want some tips on how to secure VC funding? Get help from our community at the Interchange Network. 

Boost your start-up engine with premium competitive fuel!

In addition to the above, success contributors another important business aspect of these disruptor techs is their tendency to encourage a winner-takes-all dynamic. Start-ups leveraging IoT, BC, and AI – within their digital ecosystems - can develop a substantial advantage over the competition, as these tech powered companies make some extremely appealing business models for investors.

Leveraging disruptor techs allows start-ups to stay ahead of the competition and showcase use cases to potential investors and clients. Google and Amazon are prime examples of enterprises that use deep techs to fuel their internal digital machinery for an incomparable competitive edge!

The current tech space has several innovative start-up competitors jostling for a piece of the proverbial digital pot of gold. Success in any start-up enterprise is not achieved through stellar market research alone. We must be biased toward action and use all the competitive advantages that the digital ecosystem provides.

What competitive edge did your start-up harness today? 

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