Will we soon be doing everything via internet platforms?
In 2005, the average person would never have believed that social media platforms would completely transform the way people communicate. Until 2010, that same person would never have dreamed that ride-sharing apps would take down the taxi industry within a few short years.
Today, all those things (and more) came true. Internet platforms continue to change the way the world works, but people still doubt the extent of these platforms’ power to disrupt. By now, the question should not be if Internet platforms will change the industry, but when.
Today’s consumers depend on online platforms to order their groceries, do their jobs, watch movies, listen to music – even sell their homes. And with the development of IT technology and sensors, these platforms are becoming even more innovative. Smart home sensors sound an alarm when eggs run low, and users tell their speakers in the kitchen to remind their spouses to buy more.
It’s not magic; that is the power of internet platforms and soon no aspect of human life will remain untouched.
Why do internet platforms make more sense?
People depend on platforms for two basic reasons: functionality and data.
Internet platforms eliminate time and location constraints to facilitate collaboration. Office workers, for example, can work together using platforms like Google Drive to edit spreadsheets and co-create documents. On a more tangible level, online platforms allow companies to streamline their transportation operations, minimizing wasted effort and saving money.
Amazon’s shopping platform introduced consumers to personalization. Now, consumers expect businesses in every industry, from tool sales to dentistry, to accommodate their wishes and remember their past activities. Further, consumers are becoming more comfortable with predictive recommendations, which means that companies that anticipate future needs earn more business.
Through online platforms, companies provide unprecedented levels of customized service. Even industries that people assumed were safe from the Internet’s influence—for example, groceries—have begun to integrate with new platforms.
Internet platforms will change everything about the way people live and work. Those who doubt the ability of these platforms to reach untapped niches do so at their peril.
Where will internet platforms attack next?
People once believed that basic functions like nutrition and healthcare would never fall prey to the absorption of the Internet. Obviously, that’s not the case. Every industry needs to prepare for further work through online platforms, but these two sectors should be ready as soon as possible:
1. Financial guidelines
Once upon a time, financial advisors held the keys to the investment empire. The average person was only vaguely aware of market fluctuations and trusted an advisor who held a firm hand to make the right choice.
Today, online investment platforms like Robinhood and E*TRADE make it easy for anyone to act as their own financial advisor. Blog posts recommend investment strategies to the layman, and message boards are full of people recommending index funds over individual securities. Cryptocurrency wallets empower ordinary people to become part of the cryptocurrency revolution. Users choose their favorite coins and hope to strike it rich, using an internet platform that most financial advisors would have called pipe dreams a few years ago.
2. Higher education
Long gone are the days of racing for finals in the library. Today, online education is not limited to unaccredited for-profit universities on TV commercials. Major schools offer fully accredited online courses to meet the changing needs of today’s students.
The concept of online school is not new. However, as younger generations head off to college – and as more adult professionals seek continuing education – the discerning students of the future will start giving more of their money to schools with the best online platforms. Soon, even the most prestigious schools will have to provide students with fully Internet degree programs or find themselves losing top minds to more Internet-savvy institutions.
Many niche industries believe they are insulated from working on internet platforms. Those industries should be careful: Even grocery stores never thought customers would start ordering eggs online. These industries have already begun to experience dramatic changes since the rise of internet platforms, and if history is any indicator, they will be far from the last.