The Internet, appification and adoption of the smartphone in our world has brought about significant business and social changes, just over the past few years. The way we shop, celebrate (Facebook birthday parties anyone?) and how we share the essential elements of our lives have all changed. And rapidly. This has left some once billion dollar big businesses, like cameras and film, in the waste bin, while others, shopping, drastically different than they once were. And this digital disruption continues. Today, the largest hotel, Airbnb, doesn’t own any rooms, the biggest distributor of movies, Netflix, doesn’t have a theatre and the largest taxi provider, Uber, doesn’t own a vehicle.
But disruptions don’t come easy to everyone, especially those, like taxi drivers and taxi companies that need to change the way they do their business or end up with camera film in the past. I think most taxi riders would agree that the taxi industry needed changes. Commonly described as expensive to use, unreliable and typically sullied, there seemed like no alternative at the time. Until Uber came along and, unexpectedly, disrupted a long standing model. Riders rejoiced while drivers either switched sides, as many have done, or protested (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/24/rio-de-janeiro-uber-protest-taxis). Even Uber’s own drivers have some qualms about the new business model (http://qz.com/492964/a-federal-judge-greenlights-a-class-action-suit-by-uber-drivers-seeking-full-employment/). So these changes need time to be absorbed by all those involved. Many disputes relate back to labor laws in the U.S. from 100 hundred years ago, which have yet to catch up with modern technology and ways of working.
These new ways of working have already caught up with many companies though. Mobile technologies have changed the business model of many industries. A prime example is the shrinking of real estate at many company headquarters as employees are moved into hoteling solutions and often, work from home or customer sites. This reduction in office space has saved millions and has become quite common. Computers have shrunk down, although notebooks have yet to be replaced by tablets. However, as tablets become more fuller functioned in enterprise application support, offer competitive price ranges and an improved user experience for work apps, notebook replacement is bound to more generally happen too as it has with certain work functions, field sales, for example.
Changes in society, business and standard practices are hard for many, whether driven by regulations or technology. But the pace of change is increasing, driven by the constantly connected culture and the free market of ideas. Many cultures are realizing they have more in common then different, equality is spreading in all corners of the globe, which can eventually lead to a much greater society than we have today. And all starting with the digital disruption.