Traditionally, the concept of “business” was limited to a single organization selling a commodity to a “single” user or consumer, who had to pay up the whole cost of the thing in question. This conventional business model was all we knew on how things can only be used after we buy them outright. This confined the use of a lot of things to only the luxury or hard to access category, making it harder to sell products or services that fell within this category.
But, two things seem to have revolutionized the whole concept of using resources of which the first one serves as a viable business model to replace the old and conventional one, while the second one, serves as the major tool to abridge this business model with the consumers. They are the sharing economy and the apps.
The sharing economy is a business model that allows people to freely use goods and resources by bringing them on a singular platform, in other words, its collaborative consumption. AirBnB and Uber are the quintessential torch bearers of this business model.
They have gained massive popularity and have gunned out their competitors like conventional singly owned taxis and hotels like no other thing could have. But these companies, which now are worth more than some of the more established firms in the industry in terms of market capitalization; do not own a single resource themselves. What they do own is just an app that allows them to bring the resources that people own onto a single platform, where others can benefit from the same resources when they lie redundant.
For e.g. you commute to your work in your car in the morning and return in the evening through that same car, so the car is lying idle for the rest of the day. Even when you are commuting, the car is able to carry more people than just you. The sharing economy will make you a large amount of cash for maximizing the efficiency of your resource, while at the same time, other people could use that resource for their benefit as well.
This makes the apps they own intensely powerful, moving them away from their predefined usages which served as just an extension of desktop services like playing games or e-commerce stores. The concept of sharing resources has morphed apps to have their own specific business model, which cannot be used elsewhere.
Apps stand to redefine their own potential and now the businesses should also look at them from a different perspective and instead of each business getting one specifically to serve their needs, the idea should be to build an app that is innovative and is designed to get maximum exposure while capitalizing on the other possibilities that the sharing economy has on offer.
You might opt to buy a jet ski, an expensive purchase, but you go the beach or nearby water resource only once or twice in a single year, while the rest of the year, the jet ski happens to just gather rust in your backyard. The sharing economy now provides the option of letting other people use it the whole year round and let your asset work for you. The financial promise that this model provides offers just a glimpse into how important apps are going to be in the upcoming future.
This opportunity is not restricted to people who would want to get such apps made for them, but it also offers a new window of opportunity for app development companies around the world, to work on apps that focus more on assisting this process more smoothly rather make them appear as just fancy add-ons. Substance, dynamicity, flexibility, smoothness and relevancy are the key components to look out for the in the checklist when going through the inspection of an app designed specifically for the sharing economy.
The brevity of the overall structure of the app which includes the UI/UX design, internal coding, usability, and responsiveness, will define the success of the app itself in how it fares in connecting the resources to the users in a manner that stands to satisfy and benefit everyone.
The idea has just started to take shape, despite what the success of giants like Airbnb and Uber might show, things pertaining to this concept, are yet to be figured out completely. This includes the question of profits to the parties involved and will the sharing economy be the first time in history that an item could fetch much more in terms of money than it’s probably even worth. Uber is a place where this premise will get tested very soon as most cars there are still some time away from being rendered unusable.
The same holds true for apps, the potential price for which they could be made will be far less than what the companies or people who get them might end up making, opening up an avenue where app developers would be offered a share in the value chain as well. The potential of this question, when it does come, is hard to ignore and requires foresight on part of platforms where these apps are going to take their shape.
The underlying power of the concatenation between the sharing economy and apps is huge for the developers and their firms and makes this a tantalizing opportunity as well as an incentive and impetus for them to focus more on building apps that serve the sharing economy well.
Companies like Uber and AirBnB, who function in the sharing economy, will benefit from a rise in revenue generation that is expected to rise from just $15 billion in 2014 to a whopping $355 billion in 2025. Nothing like we have ever seen before. In there, lies an unprecedented opportunity for the developers to ride this wave and benefit from the unparalleled promise that the future of the sharing economy begets.