We’ve all heard about how technology is working against us. We’ve all witnessed a friend, teacher, colleague or other bemoan the fact that our phones and social media interactions are turning our current culture into a self-absorbed, approval seeking one. Sites like Facebook and Instagram aren’t making us more social, in fact, they’re making us feel more alienated. Even texting has come under fire as the number one culprit hindering our children’s ability to cope with social situations.
Yet, the number of companies working to make our world more interconnected are singing a different tune. In fact, they’re debunking these notions and proving them wrong. From sharing economies like Uber and Airbnb to credit cards that act as networking portals, today’s newest companies are working to scale social interactions and bring people together.
Below are the top companies working to make our world a more connected place than ever before:
Staying up until the wee hours of the morning to study for an exam can be one of the most isolating feelings. Although the rest of campus may be asleep at 4 a.m., Studypool assures us the you’re not alone. In fact, the Microtutoring platform offers instant, 24/7 help from thousands of ivy-league qualified tutors who can answer questions that take anywhere from 1 minute to several hours to work through.
The site is a pioneer in its field, connecting stressed out students with genius tutors for as long as needed. Better yet, students don’t have to shell out the standard $60 per session, but rather, they set their own price point and time frame for when they need their question answered by. Students have the option to choose their own tutor, directly message and collaborate amongst each other, and even skype for a more personal experience. Basically, Studypool is a community of study buddies who won’t let you fail.
Today’s online review sites are becoming more than just arenas for consumers and patrons to critique a venue or service. They’re tilting towards a direction in which users can virtually preview a setting before ever walking into it. UCIC is an app changing the way users make decisions daily, with the help of strangers and friends. Users can save time by summoning the help of an interconnected network to find information about a location, receive advice and get feedback.
Without ever having to make the long schlep to a grocery store to see if those bagels you love are available, UCIC users can ask patrons who are already there to take a picture to answer the question. With UCIC, gone are the days in which you headed to a club only to find the vibe was all wrong or went to a beach in hopes of a quiet day only to discover one you got there it was Spring Break.
Don’t look for Toptal’s corporate headquarters. It doesn’t exist. In just a few short years, Toptal – which connects top talent in technology, design and finance to the world’s best companies — has become the largest distributed workforce on Earth. Thousands of the best, most motivated individuals across the globe are helping small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike accelerate projects, scale rapidly, and tackle tough challenges on demand.
But if you think Toptal is just another “freelance farm,” you should attend one of their events. There’s one happening just about every day, somewhere in the world. You’ll learn how they hand-match people to projects but can still get them underway within 24 hours. This is a community on the move – and it’s coming soon to a business near you.
From watching bulls run in Spain to seeing a new family member take her first steps, Stre.am is a mobile live streaming app, giving users unique moments from around the world to enjoy. The app allows users to broadcast their experiences live from their phones and stay connected with friends in real-time. Unlike apps like Skype or FaceTime, Stre.am gives users a chance to make connections that extend outside the restrictions of their contact list. With stre.am they can communicate with users back and forth via live streamed video and text while also gaining a unique experience.
No one could use the organizational help and guidance of a personal assistant like a student in college. StudyTree is an app giving students on-demand help by providing them with a smart tutor of their own. By blending the academic support services of colleges and other higher education institutions with a mobile academic assistant, the app gives students the help that they need to succeed in school.
Starting with an analysis of a student’s grades and habits the app crafts a customized strategy to improve academic performance. What’s more, the app also helps advisors and administrators. By granting them managerial access to the app, education providers can garner insight into each student’s’ initiative and progress.
SELECT is a members-only “black card” emerging as the ultimate Millennial credit card of choice. The card works to connect the world’s top-level professionals to each other and with unparalleled perks that ultimately encourage networking and improvement. Members reap the benefits of exclusive rates and access to top-shelf restaurants, hotels, travel, retailers, nightlife venues, and more. With hubs already set up in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington D.C the card company is setting its eyes this year on global expansion.
The rewards platform works to create a streamlined and yet still luxury style card experience. Besides receiving the glitzy travel, hotel and restaurant rewards that come with a “black card” the platform allows users to turn any credit or debit card into a SELECT payment card. Membership extends to the young hardworking professionals (aged 23-45) of urban areas who want to access the lavish lifestyles they see on TV without paying for them in full.
Though the world we live in may seem to be more and more connected, the key to really feeling in the present is by making the most of a experience. When you’re out to dinner, studying for a test, or even sharing a link on social media, make sure you understand what’s going on around you.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.