All things as service - MWC 2017

2017-04-05, 14:16 Posted by: Knut Gudjonsson

Ownership implications of smarter and cheaper drones

This year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we saw a lot of known and unknown companies being able to build highly advanced drones (autonomous in many cases) at a very low price point. Me and @PeterTyreholt guided our (Cybercom’s) customers through the meta trends that are most relevant for them. The advancements and cheap supply of robots and drones were one of these trends.

Venture capital has been pouring into companies working and developing drones and applications around drones. The potential use cases are many; hazardous work, night work, 3d map large areas, assistance in firefighting, using as firework-ish at a Super Bowl concert (Lady Gaga had 500 drones in sync showing the American flag).

In this post I would like to scratch the surface of a future use case and implications that could have on consumers and business - autonomous drones that delivers goods. Amazon (among others) is piloting drone delivery. A couple of months ago a customer went from click to buy to delivery in 13 minutes. 

13 minutes from that the need occur until a solution is delivered. Regulations a side (not such a minor part thou), in a few years we will have a bunch of companies being able to deliver products and services in less than a minute from need to use.

If I need a saw, I can get that in my hand a minute after the need of sawing something occurred, and that could be on the 9th floor in a suburb. That should mean substantial changes in how we perceive ownership and what that is. There will be less friction renting the saw than actually owning a saw and needing to go down to the basement and fetch that saw in your unorganized storage room / tool shed.

A classic IoT-use case that we are, together with our customers, experimenting quite a lot with is renting-business models (i.e. letting your users/customers rent your tangible products as a service). They are in demand and growing, but there is still friction of moving physical objects. This friction still gives companies and consumers incentives to own products instead of renting them - even though they are only used 0,01% of the time. When this friction is removed through cheap, smart and reliable drones it will mean a massive change in the society and how we behave. The companies that create ecosystems around renting platforms, or smartly jack into some of the big ecosystems most definitely will have great advantages. An interesting ecosystem-question is how local and niched ecosystems will stand against the global ones.

As a consumer, I obviously look forward to getting my burgers through my window at the fourth floor. And what a dream it would be to not have to take up space with stuff that is seldom used. Chairs, sofas and tables, disco bowls might be delivered on demand. If someone rings the bell at the ground floor, an extra chair could be flown into the apartment whilst that person is on his way up. 58m2 sounds immensely big suddenly, and all things as a service sounds like the ultimate clutter free (and ownership-less) way of living.

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