1. Anything delivered, anywhere
On-demand is already a massive industry with players likes Uber, Netflix and Just Eat boasting exponential surges in revenue.
But in New York, a handful of start-ups have gone one better, offering an “anything delivered, anywhere” service.
Postmates and Seamless are at the forefront of this wave, and can deliver anything from concert tickets to a Big Mac to a needle and thread to their users. The trend has yet to truly hit the UK (certainly outside London), but is likely to be a huge hit when it does
2. Drink coolers
Various material technology companies are working on developing drinks coolers that cool your beverage rapidly on contact and keep your fizzy pop, beer or wine cold as you sip. Once a sound, cost-effective material is sourced, the demand from drinks giants, as well as the leisure and hospitality industries, will be vast.
3. The internet of things
This trend has already begun, but is still in its infancy. Fridges that can text your phone to tell you you’re out of milk; radiators that keep tabs on your whereabouts to ensure that your house warms up on your way home.
Wifi tagging and radio frequency communication technology can be applied to almost any appliance imaginable. If you can think of an innovative reason to get devices talking to one another, the time is now.
4. Become a drop box
Homes and garages could become the drop-off locations of the future, as internet shopping continues to grow apace.
At the moment, UK organisations like TfL are creating lockers where supermarkets can leave goods bought online, but entrepreneurial types with sizeable property portfolios could explore this niche to make the most of their unused buildings.
5. Virtual reality
Facebook spent $2bn on virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift in March this year – a serious punt on a nascent industry. This has prompted industry pundits to claim that next year will be the sunrise of VR.
Publishers and production companies are already experimenting with games and apps for the new technology. For engineers and coders looking for a lucrative niche, virtual reality could generate impressive real-world returns.
6. Curation tools
The internet is a noisy place. Apps and tools that help users cut through the hubbub to find the content and products that are most relevant to them are becoming increasingly popular.
The technology giants are ever on the hunt for new curation tools to add to their portfolios. Summly, which allows users to skim headlines on their preferred news topics, was sold to Yahoo! last year, netting its then 17-year-old founder Nick D’Aloisio $30m (£18m).
7. Next-generation 3D printing
3D printers are becoming increasingly accessible to the man on the street. But there is still scope to come up with new applications for the technology.
In medicine, for example, 3d printers have been used with stem cells to create heart valves and even whole ears.
Manmade food, spare parts, drone accessories and personalised/customised goods are all areas that can be exploited by entrepreneurial types.