As our modern world continues to evolve, the relationship between technology and business is adapting constantly. The rapid growth of the gig economy has produced massive changes in the way peer-to-peer enterprises around the world do business.
Instead of hiring employees and contractors in a traditional manner, the gig economy has allowed individuals to work on-demand and set their own schedules and work priorities.
In this guide, we’re going to walk through some of the largest tech trends in the gig economy. Not only that, but we’ll discuss how they’re impacting companies and enterprises around the world and advancing the industry.
What is the gig economy, simplified?
In essence, the gig economy is a free market system that introduces flexible, temporary jobs across various industries. It operates by hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of permanent, full-time employees.
The rise of the gig economy has significantly altered how individuals perceive working in the modern workplace. Gallup recently found that roughly 36 percent of workers in the United States are currently gig workers.
Technology and smartphones have paved the way for a particular type of gig economy. It allows individuals to work virtually anywhere. All they need is a smartphone and the fastest internet provider or phone data plan.
1. The Rapid Rise of Ride-Sharing
As the gig economy continues its exponential rise, made possible by rapidly advancing smartphone technology, more and more individuals are turning to ride-sharing. Ride-sharing services can act as a taxi replacement service for passengers, a side income, or even a full-time job for workers.
Tech Trends: Advancing GPS and Safety Technology
The primary tech trends coming out of the ride-sharing movement have been further advancing GPS technology and improvements in safety for drivers and passengers. Also, the tech involved in the driver onboarding process allows quick coverage to such perks as accident coverage.
Ride-sharing apps typically use location tracking for both the driver and customer. In addition, Uber is one of the companies that tracks workers’ driving safety habits. While some see this as an invasion of privacy, Uber claims it gives them data needed to block unsafe drivers if necessary.
For additional client safety, ride-sharing platforms have been requiring increasingly robust background checks for drivers. Typically, these checks look into both criminal history and moving violations.
Unfortunately, the popularity of ride-sharing apps has made them a target for hacking. In 2014 and 2016, Uber experienced widespread data breaches. Due to the fallout from these incidents, security concerns have become an issue for platforms.
Future advancements in the industry could potentially include connectivity embedded in the vehicles themselves. This would enable additional data collection and less reliance on smartphone technology for drivers.
2. Short Term Rentals and Vacation Stays
Short-term rental (STR) companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo have dramatically disrupted the real estate and hospitality industries in recent years. This system allows anyone to book a vacation rental or overnight stay with just a few quick taps of their smartphone screen.
Tech Trends: Improved Remote Locks, Remote Property Management
Some technology trends that short-term rentals have accelerated include the rapid advancement of remote locking technology. It allows visitors to enter their rentals without a formal key and without even having to see the host. Additionally, remote property management and cleaning services have also been improved.
No longer do travelers need to book a hotel room in advance. They don’t need to go through the traditional process of booking a rental. STRs have simplified the process for users and provided another income stream for those willing to rent out their real estate to strangers.
There are both pros and cons to the short-term rental gig economy. Issues of safety and liability concerns are certainly something to note. However, there’s no doubt that STRs have shifted how we think about real estate, hotels, and vacation rentals.
3. Online Deliveries Galore
Online delivery and courier services, such as Amazon Flex and Cargomatic, have brought shipping and delivery services directly to people’s doorsteps. Gig workers who work for these delivery services get paid to drive around and drop products off on people’s doorsteps, and customers get the unique benefit of not having to step foot outside.
Tech Trends: Logistics Networks Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Delivering millions of items to customers in hundreds of thousands of different locations is an enormous logistical challenge. Companies such as Amazon have invested significant sums of money into improving and automating their logistics networks through AI and machine learning.
In traditional shopping, the customer has to go to their store of choice and actually walk around inside creating foot traffic. As online delivery services for day-to-day shopping continue to grow, we’ll likely see less foot traffic and a continued shift towards online shopping.
4. Food Delivery Services
Food delivery services have experienced tremendous growth in the past several years. Companies such as Doordash and Deliveroo (UK) have experienced massive growth and acquired a staggering number of customers and contractors.
Tech Trends: Restaurant Locators and Suggestions
Food delivery apps continue to rise in popularity. One noticeable technological trend is how restaurants are discovered and presented to users. Through the use of personalization, customers can get recommendations that suit them best.
Not only that, but GPS tracking in drivers’ phones has become more precise. Customers are often able to track their food in real time and watch their driver’s location on a digital map.
The gig economy has both benefits and drawbacks for customers and workers alike. However, it has ushered in a new era of possibilities for freelancers and gig workers around the globe.
As new areas of our daily life get converted into their gig economy equivalents, we’ll likely see even more technological advancements and improvements.