Back in the 1780s, when the Industrial Revolution occurred, the peasantry had no way of contributing to its evolution or be on the receiving end of its progress for they were constrained by lack of skill and knowledge. In the early years of the 20th century, the manufacturing boom, powered by the Assembly Line production, had no room for labor that was unskilled or skeptical of the modern methods. The computing revolution in the last decade of the same century eliminated paperwork and anyone who still wished to cling on to it from the collective workforce. Turns out, every breakthrough or innovation pertaining to commerce in the past had a tendency to isolate some segment of the population. However, things changed in 2009 when an enterprise in San Francisco decided to create services powered by technology solutions that brought everyone together. From the pioneers to the explorers, no consumer or worker was left out by the revolution. Since the inception of Uber in 2009, Gig Economy has come a long way. Inspiring annual user spending that amounts to $60bn in the US alone, one wonders where the next breakthrough lies?
The Next ‘Big Thing’?
Fortunately, the answer lies with us, as consumers, for our consumption habits are already dictating the next big thing in On-Demand Economy. Location based services have been in the offering for long by enterprises like Uber, Airbnb, InstaCart, and many others. However, these enterprises are now striving hard to use the location of their consumers to evaluate the trends pertaining to Geo Analytics, or data based on geography. This analytics contains information about where the user is, where they wish to avail the services, the probability of availing a service in a given location; and the trillion dollar question, where does the equilibrium lie for the supply and demand to coincide.
Unlike the breakthroughs mentioned earlier, the Gig-Economy has been successful in getting everyone together. According to a study carried out by the Harvard Business Review, more than 50% of the consumers constitute people who are either new to technology or skeptical of it. Another 25% comprises of the ones who resort to technology as their last option or are hesitant to adapt to new platforms. Thus, Gig Economy has managed to impress those who would have otherwise preferred waiting for a Yellow Taxi in Manhattan against ordering an Uber through their Smartphone.
The story of progressive emergence isn’t restricted to Uber. Healthcare has emerged as another favorable destination for investors, garnering 1/6th of the total annual investments within the On-Demand economy inside the US. The transition from millions to billions has been rapid for many leading enterprises. However, the challenge lies in sustaining this success and appealing to consumers worldwide. With more and more users moving to these services, enterprises face the challenge of sustaining the promised quality of services, impeccable delivery times, and efficient customer services; and this is where Geo Analytics come into play.
For the supply-demand equilibrium to be achieved, the key for enterprises doesn’t lie in cracking the number of demands, but also the location where these demands come from. For instance, a taxi company like Jugnoo in India, Uber in the US, or Didi in China might have their cabs all over a city. Also, let’s assume that they experience a surge in demand around a stadium inside the city after a Coldplay concert or Kung fu championship has ended. To avoid any peak charges, it would be intelligent on the part of these enterprises to already have their drivers around the stadium to cater to a probable demand. However, Jugnoo, Uber, and Didi do not operate in a single city alone, and at any given moment, there are an infinite number of events going on simultaneously. So, how does one work around demand expectations and achieve 100% efficiency when it comes to customer aspirations on a daily basis?
What Geo Analytics bring to the Consumer?
Instacart, a grocery delivery service based in San Francisco promises to deliver groceries in less than an hour. However, it is easier promised than done for the enterprise. None of it matters to the consumer, though. Once they have downloaded the app, they expect their demand to be met, and to be met in a time window that can be narrowed down to less than 60 minutes, irrespective of the variables involved. Companies use data garnered via Geo Analytics to meet these expectations. Using the location for multiple transactions, they create trends, delivery schedules, and collaborate with service providers accordingly. For every user who gets their groceries delivered on time, it amounts to a successful atomic transaction, thus helping the microeconomics of the enterprise which eventually adds to the growth of the macroeconomics of On-Demand economy. This is where expansion happens in real-time.
Enterprise and Geo Analytics: The Unbreakable Vow
Today, each service within the On-Demand domain has numerous enterprises, looking to eliminate their contemporaries and attain complete domination in the market. Uber and Airbnb are looking to do it worldwide, along with many firms operating locally in developing economies. Their growth is assisted by extensive data and trends that are accumulated through Geo Analytics and a careful understanding of the data it offers. This enables enterprises to calibrate their network of service providers, maximize delivery efficiency by minimizing time, and understanding consumer requirements over a specific period. This is especially for the enterprises dealing in retail products, meal deliveries, and other utility services. For an On-Demand enterprise like Instacart, Geo Analytics will a long way in helping them eliminate their delivery losses, delays, and order procurement issues.
Enterprises are not alien to Geo Analytics with many of them already employing information obtained through Big Data to increase their outputs. However, enterprises working on a local level are far from leveraging the potential of Geo Analytics to grow their business. As bigger Corporates seek relevance in the On-Demand economy, one can expect a paradigm shift from the users across the globe towards On-Demand enterprises, and this shift won’t be restricted to US or Europe alone. Thus, enterprises operating in culturally diverse nations such as India and China would gain immense assistance from Geo Analytics as it would help them understand what users in different geographies are looking for in terms of utility services.
Charles Darwin talked about the survival of the fittest in his theory of evolution. In the competition of On-Demand enterprises, it won’t be about valuations, customers, or ideas alone, but the application of all these with data that dictates user habits by location, thus removing the randomness.
Supply-Demand may have impressed the likes of Adam Smith, but to impress the 21st-century users of On-Demand enterprises, the critical principle is going to be Supply-Where, Demand-There. Geo Analytics is not a luxury, not some USP, and definitely not an enterprise specific entity, but the future of an industry that could touch the trillion dollar mark in the upcoming decade.
Those who adapt shall prevail, and those who don’t will have to comfort themselves with the works of Charles Darwin.