New technologies and their widespread adoption by regular people around the world have done a lot to change our jobs, economies, and everyday lives. Besides making us ultra-connected with our friends and families, mobile and communication technologies have lead to the development of the on-demand economy.
The on-demand economy is essentially any economic activity that’s facilitated by technology to provide immediate goods or services.
Another innovative new system, the Internet of Things (IoT), is a growing network of objects (things) that have internet connection capabilities. When you take physical inventory count, these objects can communicate through an IP address with other objects and systems.
One of these might seem to be more service-oriented than the other, but that’s not really the case. On-demand services are used by many every day, but what few realize is the importance of connectivity for on-demand businesses to operate. The Internet of Things supports the type of interactions on-demand businesses require, which is why this evolving economy goes hand in hand with IoT advancement.
One prominent example of an on-demand service is Uber, a transportation network company that didn’t exist mere years ago, but now functions across the world to provide people with on-demand transportation services, and has even managed to rock the taxi industry to its core.
But one of the things that really sets on-demand services like Uber apart from the rest is not the speed of service, but the data involved. Uber managed to disrupt an industry by providing individual users with a plethora of information that improves customer satisfaction in the process. Thanks to mobile data:
- People don’t have to pick up a phone and tell the taxi driver where to pick them up, he knows already from mobile tracking
- The taxi driver doesn’t have to give an estimate of when they’ll arrive -- customers can track the cab in real time on a mobile map
And as more on-demand services make use of device connectivity to function and keep customers satisfied, we’ll see a continued advancement in IoT adoption.
Uber, AirBnB and other trendsetters have already given birth to many other on-demand businesses that function thanks to IoT connectivity. For example, there’s Zeel, a service that brings a massage therapist to your door, or Dog-Walking, a service that finds you an on-demand dog walker, and even allows you to track them and your pet through the neighborhood.
A variety of on-demand services are pushing the IoT envelope. Fitness wearable devices and health monitors are in the process of generating considerable health data related to individual users which can already be used to inform personalized health and medical recommendations remotely. These results are then delivered on-demand. Over time, people and medical professionals will have access to a whole lifetime worth of health data to inform them about potential health complications, all thanks to device connectivity.
Klaus Schwab, the founder and Executive chairman of the World Economic Forum expects great things from technology platforms that enable information sharing. He said, “A key trend is the development of technology-enabled platforms that combine both demand and supply to disrupt existing industry structures, such as those we see within the ‘sharing’ or ‘on demand’ economy. These technology platforms, rendered easy to use by the smartphone, convene people, assets, and data — thus creating entirely new ways of consuming goods and services in the process.”
Joe Coleman explained in a Fast Company article the difference between the Internet of Things and the “Internet of People.” Just as devices have begun to work together to deliver services and meet our needs, groups of people have gotten organized in a similar way for a similar purpose.
But the important connection to draw here is the underlying technology people are using to make on-demand services possible. According to Plusvouchercode, "As this business model increasingly becomes the norm, we’ll see that connected devices and the data they provide becoming key features of any successful enterprise. This, in turn will further contributed to the advancement of IoT as a global necessity."
IoT promises a lot of groundbreaking developments in how we do things. There's enormous opportunity in it for those who can see the big picture from today and take action. Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, for instance, was one of those early adopters of the Internet for business purposes and today, he has a net worth of $30 billion.
The bottom line is that IoT offers unique support for on-demand services, which will continue to drive adoption of both innovations.