Unless you work in the world of technology, you probably haven’t heard these terms before, but they are doing more for you than you realize. If you do business with companies like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Kickstarter, or, of course, ParqEx, then you’ve been working with these concepts for a long time. You don’t necessarily need to understand them in order for them to work for you, but knowing what’s under the shell can help you appreciate how truly amazing the technological world we live in really is. Let’s talk a little more about the collaborative economy.
What is the collaborative economy?
The collaborative economy, also known as the sharing economy, is not new, but it has definitely been growing recently. In this type of economy, the lines between consumer and provider become blurred. Goods and services are shared between peers, to achieve mutual benefit. For example, instead of two people renting their own two-bedroom apartment, they can share one. They each get what they need, but at half the price they would have paid otherwise. Or, if two people only need a parking spot for half of the day, instead of each renting an entire spot, they can share one, only paying half of the price.
The collaborative economy can also connect two or more consumers, allowing them to provide products and services to each other, which at one time were only provided by large companies.
These are the basics of a collaborative economy, but there is so much more to it, and the possibilities are endless.
The power of smart phones
Although smart phones are not a requirement for the collaborative economy to work, they are definitely a big part of what makes it so efficient. Smart phones make it possible to participate in the collaborative economy at any time. Without them, you could still participate in auctions like eBay, or find a loan through Lending Club on a computer, but the smart phone makes it possible to book a night through AirBnB, even after arriving in the city, or find a parking spot for the big game, even when you’re halfway there.
When companies get involved
Even though the collaborative economy is based heavily on consumers, there is still a place for businesses. Generally, these companies facilitate the connection and communication between the consumers, or establish trust. For example, eBay, as well as many other apps, helps people who are trying to sell things to connect with those that are looking for something. AirBnB does not provide places to stay. Instead, they offer reviews and background checks on the individuals who do, creating a sense of trust between users.
Making use of idle resources
The collaborative economy is all about using resources to the fullest, rather than wasting them. In order to do that, it helps consumers share the resources that they already have with those that would have otherwise bought their own. Eliminating unused resources indirectly eliminates the unnecessary purchase of new resources, which helps everyone involved save money. In most cases, it is also good for the world in general. For example, buying used items online prevents new ones from being produced, and sharing parking spaces means that fewer green areas have to be paved over.
The collaborative economy is growing rapidly. As it grows, more people learn about what it can do, and more people come to trust it, which leads to even more technology advances, and the people who find new uses for it help it to become even stronger.
Are you interested in learning more about how the collaborative economy is solving problems? Contact us. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions, and even help you get involved.