Internet of things (or IoT) is one of the most promising directions in technology. Commercial success of the majority of such start-ups proves: the innovations become closer. If in the XXth century the new technologies were strongly associated with “great projects” – discovery of space or nuclear synthesis, in the XXIth century the inventions are being tailored to human size. “Smart” gadgets and mobile applications help people to make the life more comfortable, meet the needs for creative self-fulfillment, sound communication with close ones, care for health and cautious treatment of natural resources.
The latter is critical to Ukrainian society that is only starting to realize the practical value of energy saving. Perhaps that is why one of the most known recent Ukrainian IoT start-up is Ecois.me. The idea of the project is to create a “smart home” system with intelligent energy consumption that is being monitored by the “house overseer”. “If you forgot to turn off the iron or stove, Ecois.me will take care of it and send a notification to you”, - as comment their device the inventors. By the way, the innovative solution has already been noticed by emblematic businessman Richard Branson, who “took away” Ukrainian start-up to his Virgin Media Accelerator.
A range of Ukrainian projects denounce a common opinion that digital gadgets alienate people from each other. Interesting example occurred in an IT-company, whose employees were literally sleeping at office while developing a new platform for market targeting. Finally they realized that working hard is good, but not worse ignoring phone calls and messages from loved ones. That is how the application “FamilyInSafe” has been born. Its users create closed groups (hubs), accessible only by invitation. The application precisely captures user’s geolocation, omitting faults done by other popular geo-services, while also notificating group’s participants about planned activities and grouping selected places on the map: shops, cafes, pharmacies, municipal establishments etc.
Another popular Ukrainian start-up that managed to acquire $ 3,8 million investment, gives a possibility always to stay in touch with a house pet. It is referred to Petcube – device that allows the owner to survey remotely over his dog or cat and entertains them with laser beam with the help of a smartphone. The developers are planning to install PetCube for free at homeless animals’ shelters.
Naturally, the Internet of things was deemed to once intersect with another modern trend – growing popularity of the healthy lifestyle. There are several start-ups emerged at this intersection that turned out pretty successful. One of them has been created by grade students from Kyiv. Their project named Helko is a virtual gym instructor. “Embedding” into any implement, the device captures the initial load and calculates its optimal volume for the user. The same thought direction has been adopted by other two start-ups - FORCE emotion and Mevics. The first one is the “smart” bracelet that monitors the physical state of his owner, the second – device to control a person’s posture.
However, healthy lifestyle is not only fitness but right nutrition as well. Ukrainian start-up BioSens offers to anybody to conduct a 15-minutes express-assay of food products, while Myhelix project gives individually-tailored nutrition and lifestyle recommendation based on a person’s DNA test. Following those recommendations is facilitated by UAberry start-up, specialized on small strawberry farms with automated watering system and temperature control. These farms could be placed in summer house, balcony or roof-top and enjoy fresh strawberry all year round.
The list of Ukrainian start-ups can be much longer. The main question is what is in common between such different propositions while simultaneously making them popular. It seems to me that all such innovations are driven by the sustainability concept – sustainable development and responsible consumption. The penetration of this concept into common conscience of Ukrainians by the means of useful devices and services is excellent news for our country that has been stuck with resource-dominated economy for the long time. Meaning, that aside of their main tasks, Ukrainian start-uppers are engaged in a very important mission – “background” reforming of social practices that leads to a more modern Ukraine.