Platform industries don’t need a brick and mortar location like most of their competitors. They use the power of information aggregation to supply their product. In most cases, these marketplaces cut out the middlemen and let companies sell directly from the site. Others allow shared services, which encourages the share economy model that has been rapidly advancing. Digital platform business models are allowing buyers and sellers to take more charge of their business and their products; cutting out “information middlemen.”
Farmers use platforms for many things. WeFarmUp is a platform that lets farmers rent out each other’s equipment. This eliminates an intermediary and allows for the two farmers to directly handle the deal. Platforms also help farmers consolidate food that is getting too old to sell.
Agrilocal connects farmers with public buyers in need of extensive catering services. Because these catering services are usually one-time buys, it's hard for these two to connect. On a platform like Agrilocal, you will always find one buyer that needs surplus food and vice versa.
Uber was one of the first successful digital platforms to introduce the sharing economy. Uber connects drivers with riders, but instead of a traditional schedule structure like Yellow Cab, drivers decide when they want to pick up passengers and make money. Uber and Lyft are even cheaper than regular taxis because the platform takes such a small percentage of the fare.
There are fewer people to pay and less upkeep, which is in effect killing the yellow cab industry. It cannot be helped; Uber and Lyft are far more efficient and many traditional taxi drivers today are making the switch.
Airbnb has been in the spotlight since its inception for disrupting hotel industries. It allows strangers to trust renting out another stranger’s apartment through Airbnb as an intermediary. In today’s world, many millennials don’t feel they need to pay for the luxuries that a hotel offers.
The comfort of somebody's home also allows for a more natural, comfortable feel, as opposed to a hotel’s sterile approach. Even though Airbnb is currently being regulated all over the world, many still choose to use the platform. Airbnb has recently been going after business customers, which is where the bulk of guests still use hotels.
In 2016, 36% of viewers aged 13-24 said they use TV services to watch videos. Almost double of that percentage stated that Youtube is a must have. Youtube offers much more than your TV does; not just sponsored videos, but millions of self-uploaded videos. Although many people still watch TV today, it is becoming clear that digital platforms that provide live video streaming and user-uploaded content are the choice of generations to come.
5. Subscription TV
Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon are among the many new paid streaming services to come to the internet. Many offer their own shows as well, producing content that can only be viewed on their network. These platforms can use Big Data to personalize each member’s page, recommending content that they would be interested in seeing. What we do know from the trends of Millennials, Gen X, and generations to come is that they are going away from cable, and into online streaming.
The Amazon and Ali Baba race to $500 billion in value are discrepant when compared to brick and mortar stores race for survival. It is possible that 8,600 physical stores will close in 2017. Online shopping gives no space to competition when they can provide so much variety at lower prices, free shipping, and quick delivery.
Ali Baba is considering itself as a data company; they now have an app called Sesame scores, in which they track their client's credit behavior providing a personalized profile and credit scores that give them benefits with other business. Amazon, on the other hand, is investing in the grocery industry with the acquisition of Whole Foods and is implementing AI technologies on Amazon Go physical stores.
As healthcare is listening to the concerns of customers, and the rise of Big Data and AI is underway, it is becoming more apparent that health care will be taken to the home, not just the hospital. Platforms are developing applications for patients to understand health from their phones and laptops, via IoT devices and Big Data.
MotherKnows is a platform that will work to digitize and record all interactions with your child, to help with routine check-ups and predictions based on genetics. Wearable IoT devices can send information to doctors that help monitor their bodies from home so that the patient doesn't always need to be in the hospital. While this technology is still new, it is clear that healthcare will be largely disrupted by digital platforms.
In the traditional sense of raising money, investors generally need to either be accredited or hire a stockbroker. With the rise of the blockchain, anyone can now invest in start-ups. Many companies are now switching to ICO, or initial coin offering, as a way to raise funds for their project. ICOs allow anyone with the knowledge of cryptocurrency to contribute and be a part of the fundraising.
Many online cryptocurrency exchanges provide ICOs, and these platforms are where anyone can go to invest in a project they truly believe in. Like Uber, exchanges cut out intermediaries that one would typically need to go through to invest in a startup.
9. Real Estate
Real estate platforms offer information that you would normally need a human for. Although a broker may understand the market in his/her locality, Big Data understands the market all over the world. Many platforms, like Zillow and 42 Floors, aggregate property information, so clients can search information on a map and do the research themselves. This also allows for homeowners to sell a house themselves, and for buyers to buy on their own.
The music industry was in bad shape when file-sharing got popular. Artists were losing control on pirate downloads, and big music channels like MTV were also falling apart; leaving musicians with few options to capitalize. Companies like Spotify saved the scene with music streaming. Music platforms became more attractive to users than file- downloads. For a little amount of money, browsing and sharing various contents is possible, and no hard drive space is used.
Seemed like a perfect solution until artists start to realize that their gain was small compared to what the business was making on top of their songs. Today, new solutions based on the blockchain technology are promising a flip to the artists. Opus ICO, for example, aims to give more benefits to artists and users using a decentralized platform.