Internet 2020 The Market of One– Part 1Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by Roberto Saracco
Buying products and services is getting better and better. They are more performing as they ever be but this is not the point. What really makes the difference is that they seem to be tailored to fit my very needs and desire. When I go to get a new cell phone I choose the one I like best, shape and colour, and then I just pour into it all functions and information I had on my previous cell phone. The clerk asks me questions on my preferences, what I do for a living, my hobbies and recommends me a certain number of “must have” applications. To some I agree and they are immediately embedded in my new cell phone.
Then I move on for a more important shopping. I want to buy a car. I get inside the broad expanse of the car showroom and I approach a sale’s person. I tell him what I want, my internet browsing has been extensive and I am well prepared. However, I discover that the options are almost limitless. I am asked how fast I would like to have that car going, max speed and also max acceleration. The sale’s rep tells me that the new cars’ engine is completely computer operated. It is the computer that, within the specs limit of the car set the maximum performance limits.
I can opt for a lower performance car and I will pay less in terms of sale cost, insurance and taxes. I can also change my mind at a later stage and I can get a wireless upgrade to extract better performance from it. Of course I will have to pay for downloading the new performance limits into the car computer and I can even opt to request those increased limits just for one week end. The price I will be charged will be proportional to the increase I get and to the time I will be using that extra performance. Part of the money will go to the car manufacturer, part to the dealer, part to the insurance and part in taxes.
The list of options attached to a car and the services related (and provided by different companies) are so numerous that there are no two cars alike on the road.
The fact that I can ask for new services and for changing existing one (performance, as we have seen is nothing but a service) transform that car into a service.
Insurance companies may be willing to charge less to insure my car if I am prepared to disclose my driving habits in real time. They will actually charge me for the risk that I am generating as I drive and as the car is parked in that particularly risky area of the town. Actually, it may happen that the owner of a parking lot may suggest me to park in his very secure area. That would cost me something but would decrease the insurance cost, since the risk will be lowered.