Have you noticed a lot of new faces in our profession? New companies bringing new product offerings to the table? Transformative hardware in form, capability and cost. How about software as a service (SAS) or cloud based processing so simple it doesn’t take a geospatial professional to understand and operate?
I remember my first Management Association of Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) meeting where I had the opportunity to do a presentation on Salesforce, touted as the first financially successful cloud based SAS model. Salesforce is a Client Relation Management (CRM) tool, that is still the most successful CRM in the market. This was the first introduction to many of us in the capabilities of the cloud. Soon after we learned of the processing power to be had in the cloud through products like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and a few traditional geospatial services providers began offloading computing over to these sites. However, up until very recently most continued to cling to the belief that computing hardware and processing capabilities were to remain physically within their domain.
So what does this have to do with the Sharing Economy? What is the Sharing Economy? The sharing economy is a term used to describe a movement toward among other things peer-topeer-based sharing of access to goods and/or services coordinated through community-based online services. The Sharing Economy is also described as Collaborative Consumption where assets are shared rather than individually owned. I first heard of this in the mid 2000’s while in DC. I think I still had an IPod back then and was listening to a Podcast of a TED Talk. I know, I said it…TED Talk, just let it go. You all have skeletons in your closets as well. Anyway this one was on car sharing services and how they were going to revolutionize the way we move from place to place. This was before Uber by the way. I forget who the presenter was, but I do remember why she thought sharing services were going to be successful. Millennials were not going to fall for the same old mantra that we must own things to be happy. Rather they were more likely going spend their income on experiences and make use of assets at a fractional level. In the case of cars, why buy a car when 95% of the time it’s sitting in the driveway. Why not use that existing asset in someone else’s driveway by paying for it when in use. Car2Go, ZipCar and Uber are now prevalent and have brought the traditional cab companies to the brink of extinction in some cities. Another successful example of this model is Air BNB where property owners will rent out their homes or a room to travelers who prefer to not to stay in hotels.