Why Uber wants to be “the operating system for daily life”
At last week’s Web Summit, Uber’s Chief Product Officer Manik Gupta discussed what the diversification of options offered by the company meant for the future.
“We started off by creating a black car service,” said Gupta. “And the magic of Uber was that you push a button and you get a ride. Over the years, we moved from that to launching products like UberX, which were more affordable, and then we launched Uber Pool, which is about car sharing, again at a different price point. In the last few years we have really explored multiple mobility options such as jump bikes and scooters. In 10 cities around the world, we have public transit integrated within the uber app.”
Gupta distilled the breadth of Uber’s operations into the following credo: “10 years in the future, we really want Uber to be the operating system for everyday life. What that means is being the one stop shop for daily transportation and local commerce needs.”
When questioned about the similarity of this approach to Asian super apps, Gupta maintained that Uber’s approach was different. “I feel that the term ‘super app’ is overloaded. [...] Our vision is to provide the right information at the right time for every user. [...] We operate in 65 countries and 700 cities around the world, and consumer needs are different. We have to be mindful of that when we are building a global product.”
Gupta also mentioned the internal debate in the company around whether to accept cash, particularly in the developing world. “Today, 40% of our trips are in cash. [...] You have to be very mindful about bringing that level of localisation, even though it may seem very counterintuitive.”
Considering Uber’s recent results, which saw the company lose $1bn in a quarter, against the CEO’s promise of profitability by 2021, Gupta emphasised that “the next phase of the company is about how we use technology driven innovation to gain efficiency. How do we become the most efficient and profitable business [...] but also a platform?
“One of the things I’ve been very focused on is: how do we build long term user engagement on our platform?” Examples of Uber trying to capitalise on its existing userbase include a loyalty program signed up to by 20mn people, one fifth of the company’s users, as well as Uber credit cards.
(Image: Web Summit)
Non-IT experts ‘to build majority of tech products by 2024’
80% of technology products and services will be built by non-technology professions by 2024, says research firm Gartner.
This is according to a new report from Gartner, which claims a new category of buyers outside the traditional IT organisation is now responsible for a growing share of the overall IT market.
“Digital business is treated as a team sport by CEOs and no longer the sole domain of the IT department,” said Rajesh Kandaswamy, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Growth in digital data, low-code development tools and artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted development are among the many factors that enable the democratistion of technology development beyond IT professionals.”
COVID-19 Accelerating Technology
Technology has started expanding into all areas of business, creating demand for products and services outside IT departments. In 2023, Gartner anticipates that US$30 billion in revenue will be generated by products and services that did not exist pre-pandemic. Gartner analysts said the rapid expansion of cloud services, digital business initiatives, and remote services opened the door for new possibilities in integrations and optimisation.
The research found that COVID-19 also reduced barriers for those outside of IT to create technology-based solutions by providing an entry point for anyone who was able to serve pandemic-induced needs. Gartner said technology providers are now finding themselves increasingly entering markets related to, or in competition with, nontechnology providers, including innovative firms in financial services and retail.
Gartner expects high-profile announcements of technology launches from nontech companies to proliferate over the next 12 months.
“The availability of business technologists provides new sources of innovation and the ability to get work done. Thus, technology and service providers will need to extend their sourcing of ideas and technology development into new communities, whether they are based on citizen development, their own customer communities or other sources,” said Kandaswamy