Image | Nicolas Nova
New technologies have long been making life easier for those who use them. But increasingly new services appear that create real trends in the digital world. This is the case for “on-demand” services. The concept is clear: offering just what the consumer wants.
In the United States, it’s possible to find “on-demand” services ranging from household services and repair to video channels and movies. They can all be accessed from a computer or through applications on smartphones and tablets. It’s a service linked to technology that facilitates access for those who don’t have time for much except to contract services. Additionally, it gives employment to those who can’t find a find a place in a crowded labor market. Everyone wins.
These days it’s possible to order breakfast with Bon Dia breakfast, outsource your ironing with Ihateironing, clean the house with Helpling or do the laundry through Lavalocker or Washrocks. Indeed, the CEO of Washrocks, Ignacio Espada said, “We speak of ‘on-demand’ when it is a service offered on demand to users, i.e., there is no surplus of products, but this is offered by the need for our market. It is a form of business that helps attract and retain customers without taking too many risks.”
In the case of Washrocks, “Users can ask for the service they need at any time, and we adapt to them – both in service itself and in how we provide it. With Washrocks you choose what, when and where you want – you can choose your type of wash, and the time and place of the collection and delivery.”
With SMS, you get what you ask for
One startup that has taken on the “on-demand” concept is Magic. This is an application in which you can order anything you need just by sending a text message. As simple as that. Magic is a pure service without interfaces – without apps and without the web. It’s just SMS. And what do they offer? They promise to get us anything we need. You can order anything – they tell you what it costs, and if you agree, they will deliver it to you wherever you are. This business has not gone unnoticed by the major venture capital firms. It recently made headlines because it has managed to raise $12 million in a round of funding and is currently valued at $40 million
The cinema, the star product
One sector that has greatly benefited from on-demand services is film and television. In the US more than 40% of households subscribe to an on-demand service. Netflix is the main winner in this market, with 36% of these households. After Netflix, Amazon Instant Video ranks at a distant 13%.
On-demand transportation services
In Helsinki, they’re launching an on-demand bus system called Kutsuplus.
It is a minibus for up to nine travelers, designed for people making trips in the same direction at the same time. Users can reserve a spot on the Internet or by SMS. Each trip is paid in advance using the ‘Trip Wallet’ or ‘travel purse’, which can transfer money from a bank account or a credit card.