Digital Platform Models and the Sharing Economy


With the rise of smart cities, Digital Platform Business Models and the Internet of Things (IoT) we are beginning to see significant changes in productivity, lifestyles and business models. Yet, companies are still grappling with the changes to consumer facing applications and navigating the data they produce.

Travelers are beginning to feel the true power of mobile and other disruptive technologies and what they offer to the travelers experience. Until now, only the majority of travel suppliers such as hotels and airlines offered basic functionality, including flight and hotel check-ins, boarding passes, itinerary updates, and shopping with booking capability.

This confluence of technologies, with its cloud computing, increased processing power, (IoT), etc. has begun to push mobile channels into hitherto unthought-of areas of travel and improving the overall trip experience.

Now more than ever, travel companies and tourist destinations, aligned with transportation, hotels, flight and activity providers are giving unprecedented attention in providing an end to end consumer travel experience.

Companies involved in the tourist and transportation arena, need to engage with potential customers from their early thoughts on taking a vacation, to booking, to their ride to and from the airport, flights, accommodation, and finally what activities they actually partake in once they arrived at their destination.

The accommodation and airline industry have already made inroads into ensuring that accommodation and flights have become a commodity transacted over the Internet with its attendant depression of gross margins to the smaller accommodation providers, etc.

When we analyze and study the large number of ground transportation providers at major destinations it can be seen that it remains a fragmented and somewhat challenging part of the seamless travel experience.

More and more we are seeing the individual activity and transportation websites being overtaken and supplanted by the newer transportation startups such as Huber, Lyft, etc.

These companies currently are almost exclusively seeking travellers in the highly lucrative on-demand market. The other side of this ground transportation coin is the multibillion-dollar industry of prebuilt transportation.

Also at destinations and other tourist locations, we have a wide range of activity providers. Typically each activity provider has their own unique website being marketed specifically for their activity.

In order to progress in providing maximum consumer benefit and withstanding the coming industry disruption from other major players, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, etc. and subsequent depression of margins as seen in the accommodation and flight booking arena, then companies need to be looking forwards also into the sharing economy.

One of the most cost effective entry points into the sharing online economy is by implementing and digitizing mobility solutions with platform-based business models.

Digital Platform Models

A digital platform-based business model creates value by connecting individuals or companies. As previously mentioned with Uber, Amazon etc. these types of businesses are becoming more common through the evolution of the Internet and are operating from platform-based models.

According to Forrester, the digital platform companies that collectively make up the sharing economy represent $100 billion market.

A platform business model is actually a plan for creating revenue by allowing registered members or suppliers to create product content that can be consumed by a specific user group or general audience.

A platform can either provide open APIs or integrate other APIs to provide external developers the ability to expand the platform’s functionality by allowing other application programs to interact and share data.

By creating a multi-tenant, multi-supplier ecosystem that encourages registered users and product consumers to add more value to that platform will in turn, attract additional product content creators and consumers.

As such a platform develops more connections to mobile and Internet of Things devices, they must be based on open standards and APIs to make the platform shareable and attractive to ecosystem partners.

Thus, they will need to be based on a cloud/hybrid cloud foundation that is technically designed to scale with the networks effect of the ecosystem.

What are your company’s current digital technology capabilities? Are there gaps in your existing website that need to be filled or redesigned to become a platform ecosystem?

Then, if you are seeking a purpose built, scalable business model for collective, collaborative and enterprise growth, it’s the perfect time to get started with ODIN, and agile, scalable, tourism and transportation software platform