IoE – The Internet of Excess capacity
Nature is getting its way and it would appear that new technologies are enabling us to reclaim our humanity.
Only people in dire financial circumstances will trade being human for being a process cog in the factory machine. Such cog work might involve repeatedly attaching the petrol cap to each car on the conveyor belt, or making cold calls for a ‘boiler house’ penny shares operation.
We want to seek out economic activities that capitalise on our human nature. We want to be mobile and social. If we dwell on the social aspect, there are some interesting trends.
Firstly the growth of social enterprises. Businesses set up with the primary driver of helping those in need rather than the bank balances of the shareholders. Whether a business can be fuelled by pure altruism has yet to be confirmed, but in any case it is indicative of a growing cadre of people who put the needs of others before their own.
Secondly we have crowdsourcing. The ability to harness the capacity of strangers to achieve a goal is both amazing and uplifting. Perhaps the crowd’s interest in supporting your goal is the amazing part. In any case new technologies have made it easier than ever to reach out to people we do not know for help. Not all crowdsourcing initiatives are fuelled by pure altruism. In some cases, the ‘trade’ may be economic in nature.
The third element is excess capacity. This might include an unused car, unused room or even an unused pet. These ‘dark assets’ can be converted into economic value, as we have seen with Uber, Airbnb and Borrowmydoggie. These services harness the excess capacity of the crowd to unleash economic value from assets that would otherwise be lying dormant.
And finally with the arrival of the Internet of Things. These dark assets can become turbo-charged with the help of some software. The shopping trolley, or even a pair of shoes will soon be able to provide health advice.
The convergence of excess capacity, IoT, crowdsourcing and social enterprises is an opportunity that is available to traditional service companies as well as those looking to change the world.
Step one is to conduct an audit of what dark assets exist in your organisation, and how might the addition of some tech turn them into a value adding service.