Here’s a list of five trends that have changed our lives in the last five years:
- Going Mobile:
A few years back, this were the headlines in the newspapers – “People in China and Taiwan use mobile more than computers for accessing internet ”. Today this has become a reality – mobile has practically changed the way we work and the way businesses work. A smartphone is now an essential product and not a luxury product. For a common man, smartphones have replaced his old bar phones as well as his music player and digital camera; he now books his tickets through mobile, does mobile banking and uses mobile for social networking. For businesses, mobile has become a huge segment for advertising – with companies such as Google and Facebook competing for a share of pie, and early adopters such as InMobi fighting back.
Although a bit hyped these days, e-commerce has practically changed the way we shop. An average Indian, who five years ago was hesistant to shop on Amazon or Ebay because of “trust” factor, now does all of his shopping online. After years of struggling to become monopolies, home grown companies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal have a huge share in the e-commerce industry. But companies like housing.com, bookmyshow, makemytrip.com, yatra – although having small share of the overall market – still are monopolies in their respective segments. Now there is an e-commerce company for almost every business – Bigbasket for your daily grocery or Washkart for your laundry! One of my personal favourites is kwench.in – an online lending library!
There was a time when you used to travel by a local bus, which would probably break down every now & then. Now cities have metro rail, Volvo buses. Now buses are not only comfortable, but are faster (no change in overall travel time though – traffic jams & improper roads still exist). But one segment where your local transport has changed – Taxis! Five years back, the only way you could book a taxi was to contact a local taxi guy (or someone who owns a fleet) and book a taxi days in advance. With large scale taxi-aggregators like Olacabs or Uber, planning your taxi ride takes not more than 15 minutes.
Online courses(MOOCs) such as Coursera and Udacity have revolutionized education. Integration of online & offline channels, usage of social media to provide correct and accurate news is something has changed the media industry. You get to know news by tweets and answers from Quora. Although the reliability of information is a big challenge, this segment has a huge potential that has changed how content management works. Add data analytics on top of this segment and we can make better decisions. Peer to peer sharing of knowledge through Quora, or information through social media is something that revolutionize our lives.
- Government decisions:
On number 5 is government decisions. Five years ago, applying for a passport used to take six months. Now, the verification processes take a few weeks. Earlier, booking rail tickets required you to stand in a queue at your local train station. Now, IRCTC has changed everything (including the meme industry). People are now aware of scams that have happened in the past. This segment is still the one that has the biggest opportunity. The new government is trying to reform things – step by step, but understanding that government decisions have the single biggest impact in our lives is the key.