Underutilized resources and opportunity through technology disruption
Uber has transformed not only a long dormant industry and improved the lives of urban commuters but has also provided a template for scaling up of operations for all the aspiring start ups.
At it’s core though, the underlying problem which Uber has been able to find a solution to, is the optimal utilization of traditionally ineffective resource ie. time of a taxi driver. The idle time spent on waiting or travelling to pick up a fare has been cut down significantly. In Mumbai, it was not unusual to find Taxi drivers at airport waiting for 4–6 hours before they got their fare. Now, they have a choice to reach out to customers in less than 10 minutes.
If you start looking around,suddenly you see a lot of underutilized resources apart from the known ones, which we assume people are working on (airline seats, hotel rooms etc.) Schools after classes are over, Conference rooms of offices in the evenings , professionals over weekends and Roads.
Yes, Roads. Have you ever felt jealous travelling in a bumper to bumper traffic jam, and on seeing the road on the other side of the divider empty. This happens daily in every big city. Every one travels in one direction in the morning and in the opposite direction in the evening. All this while, 50% of the available resource is at sub optimal utilisation.
You see 50% underutilized resource right there. If someone needs to solve a big problem,this is the one. What if, the dividers on the major roads were not static,and had embedded sensors all along them. Depending on the traffic movement, sensors would detect which side of the road needs more space, the information is routed and dividers would adjust accordingly and create more capacity on one side of the road.
Think about it!