The media abounds with new phrases which seek to define emerging trends - the sharing economy is one such trend. Danny Wootton in his blog, The Collaborative Economy – A Constant Through the Ages explains the idea behind the sharing (or collaborative) economy. Taking examples from the work of Jeremiah Owyang to show how consumer trends are moving away from traditional service or product purchase to sharing asset ownership eg a house (Airbnb), car (Uber) etc.
Such services involve an individual, a smartphone and an online service. However, there is another dimension that could be added to such services - through the asset itself contributing information. The Internet of Things is another phrase that has come into the media and used to describe different concepts, but at its heart is the capability for things or assets to communicate about their status or condition to remote operators or users. So the Airbnb owner might well benefit from environmental condition monitoring of their house to ensure appropriate use is being made of the property. This would be a help to the owners reported recently to have had their home damaged and neighbours disturbed. A simple CO2monitor could have told them something about the numbers of people present and certainly a sound monitor would have given them a big clue to the party underway. Then of course there could be Uber with autonomous cars, which raises many exciting possibilities. These may appear to be of rather marginal value (unless it was your house!) or a little far-fetched but the approach could make a big impact not just for the individual but for society as a whole.
Saturday afternoon parking is a very stressful experience in many towns and cities. Despite the efforts of municipal councils, getting the flow of the traffic through an urban environment efficiently is a challenge. It requires managing the conflicting demands of public transport, cars, car park availability and supporting the commercial life of the town or city to name just a few. Such issues become even more important when the sun comes out at a seaside resort or a major event occurs in the town, and visitors come in and then are seeking parking near the beach or attraction.
However, if the city works together they can make best use of the private and public space available which helps everyone. Remote monitoring of parking spaces whether they are municipal, commercial or private premises can be brought together for the benefit of parking space owners, drivers and traffic operations.
San Francisco have pioneered such an approach, http://sfpark.org/, they have shown;
- Average parking rates were lower
- Parking availability improved
- It is easier to find a parking space
- It is easier to pay and avoid parking citations
- Greenhouse gas emissions decreased
- Vehicle miles traveled decreased
So letting your assets contribute to the sharing economy could make a bigger difference than you think!
If you’re interested in finding out more about IoT, download a free copy of our IoT for Dummies Guide.