By 4 July 2015 No Comments

Thanks to the Internet and smart devices, the sharing economy is rapidly bridging social and economic divide and is radically changing the face of business globally.

Spurred by strong consumer appetite, so-called peer-to-peer companies like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Lyft, and Borrowell (the social lending platform) and many others are all at the forefront of this global business transformation. This unfettered online trade and exchange of services, empowered by everyday entrepreneurs, is pushing the frontiers of innovation and transforming businesses from centralized structures to collaborative communities. The upshot is now vastly lucrative business ventures, and in some instances reaching several billion-dollar valuations in just a short number of years.

Faced with this reality some corporate markets remain resistant to change while others are eagerly harnessing the collaborative economy to their advantage. BMW for instance has launched a program called “BMW Drive Now” which offers a membership programme for customers to borrow Electric 1-Series vehicles at designated lots in various cities.

This reshaping of traditional markets is challenging every aspect of incumbent businesses, the rapid uptake of this nascent economy has left many policy makers searching for answers. From privacy to consumer protection and competition matters, the list of policy matters to address is far-reaching.

While the uptake in peer-to-peer companies is opening new opportunities at the business and consumer levels, the impact of this emerging paradigm, the COT, on labour markets is yet to be fully understood.

The advent of what is sometimes referred to as “fractional employment” – where individuals take on extra work when desired – is blurring the lines between independent contractors and employees. Another labour dimension emerging in recent years, however, is online digital labour availability. Fostered by an increasingly connected landscape, the value of the online labour worldwide market is projected to exceed $5B within the next three years. This trend will potentially reshape the workforce strategies of corporate businesses in the years before long.

In a series of monthly white papers called “Trend Focus”, ICTC will be examining this and other important trends in the digital economy and providing critical insights on policy matters.

Stay tuned for our first release this Thursday July 9th on mobile payment.