We've been told over and over again how transformative technology is and how 'going digital' can improve our lives and businesses. But how many of us have grasped exactly how much things can be shaken up and improved with technology?
All too often we simply want to transfer what we do physically into something we can do digitally. This is the safe option, “I know the process works, so why change it, just let me do it with my tablet”, right? This allows us to build a product quite quickly, but we're also missing a chance to re-evaluate and challenge the status quo.
Uber, at their core, are a taxi company. But they are designed for a digital age. There are plenty of other taxi apps, recreating the real-world experience of ordering a cab – instead of calling someone, you tap some buttons. Beyond that nothing has been changed.
Uber have used all the relevant technology at their disposal to make their offering a much more pleasurable experience. Using GPS to order a cab, letting you track your driver on a map, cashless payments and the ability to split a fare at the push of a button. These are not difficult features to implement but no other established taxi firm had the vision to invest properly into digital in this way.
By simply re-evaluating what a taxi firm could be in the 21st century, Uber have been incredibly disruptive. So much so they have caused worldwide protests from an entire industry. Taxi drivers around the world are challenging Uber, not through competition, but through the courts. They know Uber and similar services have the potential to completely overtake the traditional taxi process and they are scared they have missed the boat.
This Is Not a New Story
We've seen this before with the recording industry. The internet was exploited to share music by those willing to innovate when the traditional industry was happy to sell £15 plastic circles. The recording industry's first reaction was to take this to the courts in the same way as the disgruntled taxi drivers.
Today more music is now legally available online than ever before, piracy hasn't gone away. By competing with truly digital options, the music industry is playing catch-up with what was possible 15 years ago.
Re-imagine Your Experience
This type of story isn't unique to digital. Many times new ideas have made old ones obsolete, but never before has one aspect of technology been capable of transforming so much in so little time.
No company, sector or industry should be afraid to experiment, to discover the true potential of moving to digital. The way we do things traditionally, in the real world, face certain limitations that digital does not.
With a fear of change, cynicism of new approaches and simply by not trying something new there is every chance you will be left behind by those people re-imagining what an industry experience can be.