The topic for this post came about as more and more stuff gets virtualized and offered as a service. Software was my first foray into *aaS and I worked at a managed services company in the forefront of the transition from site licensed software to paying for it as a service. I can remember the pricing gyrations we would go through because the architecture didn’t exist to support shared servers in the early days so we had to figure out the license (usually an unlimited version) then add in hardware, bandwidth, and some labor, and come up with a price that made money.
Fast forward 10 years and the software models I grew up with are all but gone. Enterprise Software Licenses and even sales people to a large degree have had to scale and become integrated with the stacks they are now selling as cloud. Even Microsoft came around to some degree and paying for experiences and application functionality has become the norm versus paying for stuff (products usually). People want to pay for functionality and usefulness and we finally understand that it can change, so flexibility is key.
Zoom out to other industries – the automotive industry as an example. In the car business 20 years ago leases were new, and now it’s leases with maintenance thrown in – one monthly payment to just drive a car. You still need to pay for gas, but it’s sign and drive and pay for the car’s functionality and usefulness. I think there are huge market shifting opportunities to go even further in integrating the ‘stack’ even for cars. Imagine a car as a service. The car, the features you want, built for you in your color. The payment (assuming you have one) includes the car, the insurance, the scheduled maintenance, wear and tear items that are part of whatever driver type you are and for the mileage that you want. We have the sensors in the vehicle and the big data mining to stay on top of the trends. Variable costs like insurance – accidents, DWI, and other risky issues, are one time corrections assuming the car is OK and drive-able. Gas you still have to pay for. Or imagine if Tesla, GE, Allstate, and jiffy lube (figuratively anyway) decided to band together and create the experience of just using the car – driving as a service. That would be pretty amazing.
What else? How about home ownership? What if there was a company that provided houses as a service? All of the components exist, they just aren’t integrated. What if I want to live in Sedona AZ for a couple of years, then Kennebunkport Maine, then Austin TX while kids were at school and then find a cool place to retire and everything was provided as a service? My alarm system, keyless entry, lawn mowing, maintenance, wifi, TV and even furniture were offered as a service? Is this where the Internet of Things is headed?
What about airlines? What if each airline has its own experience. Business travelers fly one airline – no kids, families, or bags too big to lift over your head into the overhead compartment. You can’t lift the bag, see you at baggage claim pal for that amateur move. Or one that does cater to kids – tv’s and plugs for tablets & devices to charge and no sugary snacks or juice for flights over an hour with extra time to wheel a house full of stuff brought ‘just in case’ down the aisle. Or the airline that only flies NYC to LA airports but really fast. Each with a different price for each experience and functionality.
Things change over our lifetimes – income, jobs, relationships, health, members of the family, you name it. What if we could roll with those changes better if we just had to live?
What if we just went through life paid for as a service?