July 24, 2012 Leave a comment
It’s a Saturday morning in 2022, and you’re trying to decide what to wear to the dinner party you’re throwing that evening. All the clothes hanging in your closet are “smart”—that is, they can tell you when you last wore them, what else you wore them with, and where and when they were last cleaned. Some do this with microchips. Others have tiny printed tags that you can scan on your hand-held device.
As you prepare for your guests, you discover that your espresso machine isn’t working and you need another one. So you pull the same hand-held device from your pocket, scan the little square code on the back of the machine, and tell your hand-held, by voice, that this one is broken and you need another one, to rent or buy. An “intentcast” goes out to the marketplace, revealing only what’s required to attract offers. No personal information is revealed, except to vendors with whom you already have a trusted relationship.
Click to read the whole article - Video – The Customer as God: A Vision for the Future of Commerce – WSJ.com.
This is an interesting article touching on the power the consumer now has, and how that will continue to grow into the future. We used to be tied to our local brick and mortar stores and to the prices they set. Now, with the Internet, the consumer goods market has become a global adventure. You can buy a desired item from almost anywhere in the world. With the Internet, we now have smart phones that give us shopping power from anywhere. Having options, especially in mature markets, allows shoppers to choose where they go. Just look at the smart phone market.
A few years ago a cell phone carrier was tied to a particular model, allowing numerous cell phone makers to prosper. The iPhone created such a high demand that every cell carrier wished to carry it. This led to intense competition to innovate new mobile technologies. This brought more options to a single cell phone provider. It has caused prices to drop on smart phones and tablets as the competition has become so intense. Apple is even working on a smaller version of the iPad, and they continue to sell older iPhone models at cheaper prices.
Another market that consumers will be able to dictate, thanks to the Internet and advancing technologies is in training and education. Prices for attending a four year university have skyrocketed over the past few years. Now, with cloud computing, the speed of service, and the mobile platforms to access from anywhere there is a dogfight brewing over providing a cost-effective education online. The University of Phoenix is one such school to offer a cheaper option online. Many traditional colleges, such as the University of Maryland school system have created online programs. A step further is traditional colleges offering free, introductory classes online. Such classes can be found on Apple’s iTunes U, and now also with a new start-up, Coursera. There are also numerous free and cost-effective ways to learn online, such as with Codecademy, a site that teaches you the basics of computer programming. The Internet provides educational options, and this will allow the consumer to choose, which should eventually lead universities to find new ways to restructure and cut costs to meet the changing demand.
There are many ways the Internet has impacted us, giving us the power to choose. Over time the impact will be even greater. Maybe gas prices and rental housing will drop as well. Maybe cable providers will finally offer customized packages. Maybe one day we can immediately get competing offers on AC repairs when internal sensors notify us and contractors that the AC has malfunctioned. Power to the people!