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Cool New Products Review for 2021 – 12 Innovations You Might Not Know Existed

  1. Apple AirTag Tracker
    There are a number of Bluetooth trackers on the market, but not many can boast Apple’s Find My Network. The AirTag Tracker can help customers find any device or item with visual and haptic guidance. It’s easy to set up and utilizes Apple’s My Find Networks millions of devices to locate an item. For $29, it’s definitively one of the best gadgets for 2021.
  1. iTouchless Handheld Heat Bag Resealer
    No need to keep that drawer of chip clips anymore. This handheld device lets customers quickly reseal snack bags and more that are made of plastic and/or aluminum. Offered in multiple colors and fueled by 2 AA batteries, it is also one of the cool new products consumers are enjoying.
  1. Blunt Metro Wind Resistant Umbrella
    With autumn and winter seasons ahead, most everyone can appreciate a high-quality umbrella. But no one wants one that’s going to fold under pressure. As one of the best gadgets for 2021. This Blunt Metro umbrella won’t disappoint with its ability to resist winds up to 72 mph. It also includes fiberglass rims, water-repellant fabric, and a price tag of only $79.
  1. Ekstar Parliament Smart Wallet
    This bifold smart wallet is another one of the cool new products released this year. It offers RFID coating to prevent identity theft, and an easy-to-use button ejects credit and debit cards automatically. It also comes in stylish leader, has Bluetooth tracking, and holds up to 10 cards. Plus, it’s quite reasonable at a price of $89.
  1. LUFTQI Duo Filterless Air Purifier
    Given the pandemic threat over the year, it’s not surprising some cool new products offer health protection. This small air purifier not only transportable but also significantly reduces exposure to dust, pollen, as well as viral particles. Its ultraviolet LED emissions eliminate the need for filters as well. Consumers can literally clean the air around them on-the-go.
  1. Coldsnap Ice Cream Machines
    Keurig revolutionized the way consumers make coffee in years past. Now Coldsnap is trying to do the same for ice cream, frozen yogurt and more. It’s Keurig-like design allows customers to enjoy their favorite frozen treat by simply inserting pods into the machine. Its patented freezing technology and simple use makes this one of the best gadgets for 2021.
  2. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Sur Mesure Powered by Perso
    Many cool new products are combining AI with existing products. This is one such product. This smart lipstick lets users design their own shades of lipstick color using an AI-drive smartphone app. Customers can adjust shades based on time of day and occasion. Its release is scheduled in the U.S. in September this year.
  3. Toto’s Wellness Toilet
    Though not perhaps as attractive as the other best gadgets of 2021, Toto’s Wellness Toilet still deserves recognition. This product is capable of analyzing customers’ waste to determine health and wellness. Through an app, the device can then recommend dietary and activity suggestions to improve wellness based on fecal analysis results. This is among other cool new products emerging in the health and wellness IoT area.
  1. Roborock’s S7 Sonic Mopping Robot
    Vibrating at a 50Hz frequency, this vacuum-mop robotics device uses sound waves to clean the home. It both removes dirt and dust and then mops thereafter, making it also one of the year’s cool new products. It even lifts itself afterwards to prevent streaking of the floors. Plus, it operates via voice control using Siri, Alexa, etc.
  1. BebeLucy’s Baby Crib
    For parents who enjoy hi-tech, BebeLucy’s baby crib is one of the best gadgets for 2021 to consider. It’s a smart crib and recliner that uses 5 different motions and motor speeds to soothe infants to sleep. The crib can also detect when a baby is sleeping, monitor heart rate, and track sleep positions. It even has multiple white noise options as well
  1. Gardyn’s Vertical Indoor Growing Garden
    Despite only requiring 2 square feet, Gardyn’s vertical growth system can produce up to 30 plants. Using AI-powered insights, the closed-loop system utilizes both indoor hydroponics and aeroponics. (Read about how indoor agriculture companies are forging a sustainable future in this Bold story.) Plus, it alerts customers when it’s time to water, fertilize and more. Gardyn’s system is thus one of the cool new products for those looking to cultivate a healthier diet organically.
  1. Ampere’s Shower Power
    Another one of the best gadgets of 2021, this Bluetooth speaker is perfect for those who sing in the shower. Shower Power is made from recycled ocean plastic, and it is also hydropowered using a hydroelectric generator. Because of this, it offers endless hours of music listening in the shower. Plus, it can even store up to 20 hours of power for use after the shower is over. Its ecologic design and engineering makes it also one of the cool new products of the year.

An Unfortunate But Essential Developing Field: Disaster Response Technology

For many decades, the world’s leading scientists have warned that climate change is inevitable based on current activities. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise with natural disasters increasing in both frequency and magnitude. Based on the latest reports, the time to reverse these changes are all but impossible. Unless carbon emissions come to a dramatic halt, the world can expect progressive natural threats from many decades to come. As a result, we must begin to focus more on new innovation in emergency response measures instead of prevention. This is why disaster response technology will be an important and essential area of interest moving forward.

The ideal situation would allow “green” companies and scientists focus solely on prevention and mitigation in terms of natural disasters. (Read more about the green companies taking steps to safeguard our future in this Bold story.) But unless investments are made in disaster technology response approaches, the ability to save lives will be limited. Fortunately, many companies and startups are already focusing on disaster response solutions. By allocating resources toward new innovation in emergency response systems, they hope to make a difference. But funding such endeavors is tough, especially when one is betting on disasters to occur. These bold businesses not only need ingenuity and creativity but financial supports as well.

“It is a statement of fact, we cannot be any more certain; it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet.” – Professor Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, U.K. and Member of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The IPCC’s Latest Report – A Harsh Reality

Released this month, the IPCC report highlighted a number of concerning findings along with their conclusions. Experts now estimate that the earth with reach a 1.5-degree Celsius increase before 2040 now instead of later. They predict with high confidence that this will result in marked increased in fires, droughts, as well as rising sea levels as a result. They also suggest that by 2050, 100-year ocean events like typhoons and hurricanes will occur annually. And even if human activity causing global warming were to cease today, some progression would still occur. In other words, things have already been set in motion, causing a progressive increase in natural disasters.

Understanding this, it will be crucial that disaster response technology be employed to save lives and reduce impacts. This will not only include new innovation in emergency response efforts but early even detection as well. One of the challenges for disaster response technology is the broad array of pursuits to consider. A new innovation in emergency response could mean an improved way of predicting wildfire spreads. Or it could involve mental health measures to manage stress among victims and first responders. Given the inevitability of these changes to come, these will represent areas that will deserve significant attention.

Current Disaster Response Technology Pursuits

While there will be an evolving need for new innovation in emergency response, several companies are ahead of the game. A number of startups in disaster response technology already exist and are invested in dynamic resilience. The following are just a few that are exploring different strategies to enhance response to natural disasters when they occur.

  • Rapid SOS – Startup focused on improved data collection during emergency response calls to reduce call response time and enhance quality outcomes. They are dedicated to new innovation in emergency response efforts.
  • Qwake – Company pursuing hardware and cloud-based services that can help firefighters visualize their surroundings in smokey environments. This startup has received $5.5 million in venture capital funding.
  • Gridware – Technology-forward company placing audio sensors on power poles that can detect potential damage to structure before loss of power. This IoT company has received $5.3 million in investments to date.
  • Cornea – Advanced disaster response technology that allows firefighters to better predict how forest fires will travel and behave. This company has over $15 million in funding to advance its platform.
  • Alto Neuroscience – Intriguing investigation into brain wave data to predict early development of PTSD and other trauma-related mental health conditions. This is one of several startups exploring disaster response technology in mental health.

 

“We can no longer assume that citizens of more affluent and secure countries like Canada, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. will be able to ride out the worst excesses of a rapidly destabilizing climate.” – Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy

Challenges for Disaster Response Technology Firms

Despite interest in developing new innovation in emergency response systems, many firms face notable challenges. Among the most formidable one is that related to adequate funding. While several of the disaster response technology startups cited have received venture capital, it hasn’t come easy. For one, government-based funding is difficult because of its irregular schedules of funding. Likewise, disaster-related events have extreme seasonality, which tends to create varying levels of interest among investors. And while natural disasters are increasing, they remain infrequent enough that limited funding exists. In many cases, new innovation in emergency response is handicapped by these financial constraints.

Some sort of hazmat tent set up outside a chemical plant
The nature of our world means disaster response technology will always be a growth industry.

Despite this, there is tremendous potential for disaster response technology firms in recovery efforts. Indeed, the risks related to developing new innovation in emergency response systems are notable. Significant investments in time, money and other resources could fail to generate revenues if disasters are too infrequent to warrant them. But for those that address major needs, the payoff could be sizable. Wildfires in California and Greece are already year-round events, and disaster response technology in these areas are desperately needed. Similar needs appear to be growing in relation to droughts, flooding, and hurricanes. This is especially true for rescues, recovery, and relocation logistics as well as food and water storage. The key is targeting the right areas for new innovation in emergency response that are most likely to be in high demand.

Learning a Lesson from the Pandemic

While many may not think of the pandemic as a natural disaster, it posed widespread challenges and demanded global solutions. In many ways, infrastructures, supply chains, and other systemic factors were inadequate during the early response. As natural disasters increase, these same inadequacies cannot be tolerated. Lives will be lost that could have been saved. And the damage that results will be more extensive than it needs to be. With this in mind, venture capitalists and businesses alike must acknowledge the pressing need for disaster response technology growth. The time for prevention and mitigation alone has passed. New innovation in emergency response efforts must be developed in order to reduce the impacts that rising natural disasters pose.

 

The official Bold Business survey results are clear: most favor work-from-home over going back to the office. Read more in this important Bold story!

Modern Challenges to Business Success – Addressing the Skills Gap

According to recent job reports, there are nearly 10 million unemployed Americans in the country, while there are 9.2 million jobs currently available. This mismatch seems odd, given the pandemic-related economic stresses that many individuals are experiencing. But there’s more to the situation than simply connecting job-seekers with job openings. In fact, several factors likely account for this situation, and one of the most important involves a notable skills gap between jobs and an available technical talent pool.

Analysts have evaluated the current job market situation and cited several issues driving these changes. For some, there is a fear of contracting COVID by returning to their positions. Others have childcare responsibilities that prevent them from returning to the workforce. And some suggest unemployment supports have reduced employee incentives for seeking jobs. But these developments cannot account for the skills gap that existed prior to the pandemic. The technical talent pool was already limited before COVID appeared. Now, it’s simply worse, and businesses must decide how best to deal with the situation.

“The competition for talent will only continue to grow, so manufacturers absolutely need to do everything they can to widen their pool of potential candidates. This should include actively recruiting capable individuals from non-traditional or alternative sources.” – Kylene Zenk, Director of the Manufacturing Practice, UKG

Firms in Need of Technical Talent Pool

According to employer polls, roughly 60 percent of companies are experiencing a skills gap in employee recruitment. As technology has advanced, new job positions have emerged. Many were concerned about workers suffering from job displacement in the process. And while this has occurred to an extent, the number of new skilled jobs have outpaced those lost. This coincides with worker sentiments that describe 40 percent of employees feel they need additional skills. Likewise, nearly two-thirds are willing to learn new abilities and talents. But despite this, the technical talent pool remains insufficient.

One of the major barriers in advancing the technical talent pool has involved costs. Employees often cannot afford to pursue such training on their own. Others invest in college education and degrees that fail to match up well with job market needs. As a result, the burden falls on businesses and employers to decide how to attract and keep key talent. But with the skills gap growing each year, the competition for highly skilled workers have increased substantially. The pandemic didn’t help the situation, with 54 percent of manufacturers describing difficulty finding talent. But even before this, nearly 40 percent reported skills gap challenges in recruiting workers.

“There’s a lot of amazing software that’s making robots easier to program and repurpose – but not nearly enough people to do that work.” – Ryan Kelly, Business Group Leader, Association for Manufacturing Technology

Robotics and Software Not Always the Answer

For many larger corporations and businesses, advanced technologies have helped address a skills gap. Robotics and enterprise software allow some businesses to streamline processes and improve productivity. However, this is not often a feasible option for small-to-medium enterprises. In fact, the use of robotics in manufacturing firms with less than 500 employees is rare. Therefore, an insufficient technical talent pool hinders these businesses significantly. With more than 40 percent of all manufacturing employees hired by smaller businesses, this poses a problem.

Even for businesses able to finance advanced technologies, there remains a need for a technical talent pool of workers. Skilled talent is required for technology oversight and to implement effective operations and processes. Likewise, a skills gap often exist in areas like cybersecurity and data privacy protections. (Read about how cybersecurity versus ransomware is non-negotiable for every enterprise in this Bold Business story.) These areas have increasingly become an important need for nearly all enterprises today. While software and robotics facilitate efficiency and productivity for many companies, this doesn’t necessarily obviate the need for well-trained workers.

“Businesses must work together with their hiring teams, committing to a solid plan, leaning into the end-to-end process and together thinking about how to attract, engage, assess and onboard broader pools of potential talent than ever before.” – Tom Lovell, Managing Director of Tech Skills, techUK

Potential Solutions to the Skills Gap

Fortunately, businesses have a few options in addressing the skills gap and the lack of a technical talent pool. For many businesses, upskilling and reskilling are strategies being used. Upskilling refers to training and development an existing employee for additional responsibilities and tasks. (Read about Bold Business’ training solutions here.) In contrast, reskilling describes training a worker for an entirely new position and set of skills. Both can be helpful and add value to an organization. Likewise, these can create a culture of learning and innovation that boost employee retention. These are reasons why companies like Amazon, Google and others have pursued these approaches.

Someone reading the classified with a magnifying glass
Yes, there’s a skills gap between the number of job openings and the technical talent pool–what’s the solution?

Of course, not every existing worker is a great candidate for upskilling or reskilling. Those with good management abilities, high reliability, and strong initiative are among the best. But even for these employees, businesses must decide how to go about training. This often requires curricular development and notable investments in time and mentoring. Companies must also determine whether such training is offered online or in-person. These determinations will vary based on business needs. However, developing such upskilling and reskilling programs can be highly effective for many companies.

Offshore Hiring a Technical Talent Pool

Not every company has the capacity to invest in reskilling or upskilling. Others may be under time pressure to acquire a technical talent pool  in order to meet market demands. As a result, many smaller businesses have considered some hires that may not otherwise be ideal. Not only can tis be a waste of time and resources. It may also affect the quality of work performed and damage business reputation and brand. For such companies, offshore hiring of business processes may be a better approach in dealing with the skills gap. Likewise, outsourcing training and development services to a reputable firm may also be effective. In any case, successful companies will need to effectively address modern skill gap concerns. Several options exist, and finding the one that best suites a specific business is essential.

 

The official Bold Business survey results are clear: most favor work-from-home over going back to the office. Read more in this important Bold story!