Instead of planning and buying upfront, we can get stuff when we need it, where we need it. Join the revolution!
Life as a Service or LaaS seems to be everywhere. Today, we can live our life as a service. Instead of making large, upfront investments, like buying a car or hoarding groceries, we can pay for the services that we need when we need them. We can commute, eat, get help around the house, getting all our needs met instantly, even when we’re traveling near and far.
A car is this revolution’s perfect example. Even if you’re a road warrior, commuting two hours a day, the car is idle for the other 22 hours. Zipcar lets you rent a car by the hour only when you need it. Uber gets you a ride on demand from other drivers. Via is also a shared-ride provider for just $5/ride, making ridesharing more affordable.
Even grocery shopping is becoming Uberized. Instacart is promising to do your local-store shopping in less than 1 hour. Other companies such as EatStreet aim to revolutionize food deliveries by taking care of the logistics behind deliveries.
Joining the parade is iPhone offering a subscription model in place of a purchase. Instead of having to buy a new iPhone every couple of years, rent one for as low as $10 per month, and get an upgrade to a new model every two years.
Retailing giant Amazon is getting into the act with the Amazon Dash Button. Their goal is to make it easy to get everything you need fast. The Dash Button lets you get household supplies, food and groceries from Amazon simply by clicking a button. Bid farewell to the grocery list—just click a button and get it delivered via Amazon Prime.
Powered by the cloud
What is the difference between the new LaaS and just ordering a taxi or getting grub delivered? All of these services are powered by technology and data. Technology, by reducing transition cost, has made management and execution of these services easier and cheaper than ever before.
And the larger companies like Uber become, the more data they can collect about people and physical assets, allowing for even greater economies of scale and better efficiency.
All of these new LaaS startups rake in more money by making better use of physical assets than was done in the past. Uber can better utilize their drivers than a traditional local taxi driver. Using technology, they analyze location data from your phone, pair it with the driver’s location data, and before you can spell GPS, they’ve got the driver nearest you on the way.
Amazon expertise in logistics and their efficient delivery centers make it economical for us to receive deliveries of single items. Delivery companies are experimenting with new delivery models that calculate the most efficient route every time.
LaaS offers a win-win for both consumers and companies. Technology makes just-in-time inventory available to all when it used to be an impossible business model. Now everyone can get things delivered just as they’re needed. No one has to hoard groceries or pay all day every day for a car that’s used only an hour a day. Companies leverage the abundant data provided by our mobile devices and pair it with the cornucopia of cloud-based information to make these new services feasible, accessible and affordable.
What does the future hold?
The future looks like the LaaS revolution may be destined for more prominence. Autonomous cars such as the Google Self Driving Car project are likely to make care ownership obsolete. Who needs a car parked in the garage when you can just pay as you go?
And do you really need all of that clothing in your closet? Probably not. What if, instead of buying so much H&M, you’ll be able to rent an Armani or Luis Vuitton. Guess what, you can. Rent the Runway lets you rent designer items for a fraction of the retail price. You can make a different red-carpet appearance every time.
LaaS innovates the way that we eat, commute and live our lives—and this revolution is likely to rapidly expand in the future. Algorithms, data and groundbreaking logistics combine to make these new business models a reality. It ensures a more gratifying lifestyle than we could have imagined before.