What the heck is Uber?
Uber is an app-based ride-hailing service. You download the app, request a ride when you need it, get a notice that a driver has accepted your request, get a picture of the driver and a description of the car with licence plate number. When they drop you off at your location, your fare (which is about 30-50% cheaper than a taxi) is automatically charged to your card.
Uber vs. Taxis
I don’t have to explain to you how Uber has left the taxi industry reeling. All of a sudden, your neighbor downloads an app on his phone and spends his free time driving around and taking your passengers. No overhead costs, no dispatch, no licences or permits. Just an app.
What’s in a name?
The word “Uber” has become a synonymous with “Digital Disruption”. A Digital disruption “is a transformation that is caused by emerging digital technologies and business models. These innovative new technologies and models can impact the value of existing products and services offered in the industry.”
So if we stick with the Uber example, a $50 taxi ride is now worth $26. Sounds disruptive, right?
Uber isn’t the first example of Digital disruption. Airbnb is having a far-reaching effect on the hotel industry and the real estate industry. And who remembers how Netflix forever changed how we rent movies.
How to stay ahead of it?
In his article “What the heck is ‘Uberization’ of mining?”, George Hemingway gives some good advice about “Digital Disruption”. “Digital is an opportunity to view your business in a new light through new capabilities and ways of interacting, rather than just use new technology to do old things.”
In other words, remember when we got computers and e-mail in the workplace? We were promised a paperless society, but we just started printing all our e-mails. We saw technology as helping us perform our tasks more efficiently. Digital disruption is about rethink the whole thing.
Who’s doing what?
There are some industries who are taking this as an opportunity to lead their own digital disruption. The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada hosted a panel called “Uberization of mining, oil & gas, and housing (Digital Disruption)”. They suggested everything from “implementing different finance models, leveraging existing resources in local communities, and creating strategic partnerships”
In Oil and gas, Accenture talks about turning the well into the customer. What if instead of sending someone to inspect a well for leaks, the well could detect problems before it started leaking, then would request maintenance right away? Watch their video to see how they’ve rethought their whole operating model.
Digital disruptions have the potential to challenge most industries. Many of them will be forced to adapt and evolve if they want to survive and thrive in these uncharted waters.