Brain Dumping: 10 startup ideas

One of the main ideas of creating a startup (aside from the all the potential bazillions of dollars) is to solve a problem. And as an exercise in COMM 579, approximately 10 startup ideas were concocted as possible solutions to potential problems. They range from the serious to the eccentric. Each idea presents a problem, a solution, and a concern. This is very far from complete, but it is at least a beginning to an interesting project. Please return for updates.

1. Mobile Phone Silencer: People attending an event such as a religious service or movie in a theater often do not silence their mobile phones despite repeated requests and warnings. A broadcast signal sent to devices for RF/NFC(?) to silence their devices without interfering with wireless or cellular signal. Signal could be broadcasted at entrance or room or theater to silence device and would revert back to previous settings once user leaves area. However, laws exist to prohibit interference with wireless communication or too intrusive as it gives element of control to others.

2. Device Usage Tracker: A computer or mobile device user may not know the amount of time spent on their devices if not actively keeping track. To address this, a plug-in or app to track usage time on a respective device is a possible solution. The tracking could appear to intervals and is non-intrusive. Yet, would users care to know their usage time?

3. Advertisement Only Channel: As users move to video on demand services, people no longer have access to current commercials or have limited exposure to video commercials through Hulu or Youtube. As a solution, an advertisement channel can showcase current, creative and noteworthy commercials on-line. People could select the commercial type or genre that they wish, either on demand or randomly. A question to ask is: would viewers actively seek to watch video commercials?

4. Product Ratings Aggregator: Finding a given product rating is easy for a single site, yet not as easy when attempting to find them all at once. Google can show you a star rating on some products, but is not really useful nor comprehensive. To address this, a combined gallery or aggregation of ratings from reputable sites can be used to display a packaged collection of ratings on a given product. This would give consumers a single source for rating for buying decisions. How technologically feasible is this, and how many ratings of each item would be sufficient?

5. Water Usage Sensor: Apartments dwellers typically don’t have effective and cost effective way to gauge their water usage. For apartments, a small, inline (on exterior of water pipe) water meter on could be made and installed on water valves for sinks, toilets and other water outlets. This meter must be small and inexpensive, and includes low-cost sensors that can detect water flow. This would be available to a computer or mobile device for access. Can this device be manufactured in a way for it to be cost effective?

6. The Decider: Choice Selector: People often encounter the problem of not knowing where to eat, or have difficulty in deciding which of their favorite restaurants to go to. “The Decider” will randomly provide you a choice of where to go based on personal preferences that have been pre-entered, or a list of existing favorite places. It can incorporate an existing list of choices as well as new or suggested places. However, is this too similar to UrbanSpoon?

7. Color Changing Cases: Many Android phones have a LCD message light, and some iPhones light their camera’s flash to indicate a message. However, they cannot convey the type of message or from whom. Color changing cell phone cases based or coated glass can display more information or simply change the color of the phone itself. It is important to ask, is this technologically possible?

8. Big Data Collection Tracker: Users of computers and mobile devices have no effective way to know what aspects of their personal data is being collected. This may be while browsing or using a respective app, and may include data that already has been collected. This may include the data that is entered as well as tracking (or cookie) data. As a possible solution, a plug-in or app can provide real-time status updates on their data acquisition while using their respective devices. However, it is unknown how this may be accomplished. Areas of caution are existing services such as Ghostery’s, and the possible need of cooperation with data gathers or site trackers. In addition, is the data viewed as proprietary?

9. Multiple Profiles / App Virtualization on Mobile Devices: Typically, mobile devices do not have easy ability for multiple profiles or allow a more than one copy of an app to be installed on a single device. Multiple profiles could exist virtually with each user having their separate settings. In addition, specific apps could be virtualized to allow more than one of a specific app to run. This may be accomplished on a device level or app level. However, attempts at mobile virtualization have been tried without significant traction.

10. LCD Car Signs: A vehicle owner may want to follow a cause or show support for someone without committing to placing a bumper sticker that is permanently attached, and risk damaging the paint if it were to be removed. With a small screen placed in the rear window, one could advertise their opinions without damage or send messages to nearby vehicles. In addition, the screen can change to different things and events, or be used as to advertise their products or services. Laws must be reviewed to the status of con vehicle advertising as to whether this is legal.

This pages has been updated.