These days it seems extremely easy to get a ride – all I have to do is pull out my iPhone, open the Uber app, broadcast my location, and a bunch of nearby Uber cars compete to get my ride with prices that are almost always lower than a typical cab ride (if I can hail down or call a cab and afford to wait for it). Within three to five minutes a car arrives and takes me to my destination with no cash exchanged (unless I want to tip the driver), and everything is done on my credit card.
Like the 100th Monkey Effect, “Uberizing” has spread well beyond cars and the monkey see, monkey do analogy, into the world of personal services for all manner of things such as lifestyle services for on-demand workouts, pizza ordering and delivery (call it push-button pizza ordering), fetching coffee (for those of us too lazy to make a cup), menial chores around the house, or waiting in line for a theater ticket, and even our personal laundry and certain types of medication are not immune to this growing trend. But most of these new Uber-type services aren’t available in my ZIP code, or yours, yet. Project our imagination five years into the future, though, and what will we see in 2020?
I’m either afraid or happy to say (depending on your disposition about these things) that most of the common needs of life will be a push button away.
Amazon is already experimenting with push-button ordering with the recent introduction of Amazon Dash, but Amazon can “converge” push-button ordering into its huge online order system because the rest of the infrastructure and services are already built, running, and mega testing its system billions of times a year. Amazon knows it’s just a short jump from push-button ordering of household items to push-button “anything” – even a goat!
Perhaps we all are trained to want things on demand, as Ray Wang, an industry research analyst for Constellation Research puts it in his new book Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy. I suppose we can even take a Pavlovian viewpoint here and say that we have been conditioned to want certain things (already) and now we have push buttons (or our seamless apps) that satisfy our needs, whatever they are.
Is it possible that the convergence of data and intelligence services will soon be a push button away?
After all, it’s highly customized to meaningfully blend data into a meaningful interpretation that can be acted on, though there are many common elements that do figure into pulling, cleaning, organizing, and visualizing data streams, along with the companies like IBM that are on it with IBM Watson, et al (think Domo, Salesforce, Oracle, etc.) – it can’t be THAT SIMPLE.
There are lots of services and needs that are harder to “Uberize” and where there are barriers to moving more fully in that direction. Labor and competition laws and guidelines are one thing, but many of the services that an organization needs to converge aren’t easy to fasten or data smelt together, and there are services where, as much as a push-button delivery might be desirable, it probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Let’s take 911 emergency services, an ambulance, for an example of the Uber effect. After all, dialing 911 should get the ambulance to you, wherever you are, and drive you to the hospital, as fast as Uber does it – and, I bet hospitals would love to take the costs right out of your bank account/insurance company, etc. as your medical experience unfolds. But what happens to you at the hospital is hardly something Uber can (yet) help you with.
The same thing goes with converging data that has a great deal of customizing that needs to happen to make the data joins work – and after all, you can spend thousands of dollars on a suit of the best fabric and cut, but I doubt it will be wearable without tailoring. And even if you could Uberize that… would you?
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