With the introduction of the NDIS, and with increased opportunity for clients to exercise choice, the advent of on-demand, “uber-style” models were inevitable.   With decreased entry costs for new enterprises, increased technological abilities and the right market conditions, 2016 saw a dramatic increase in the number of new groups, leveraging the power of peer connected technologies. But why?  What is a “peer connected technology” and why can we not ignore them?

The core ideals behind businesses like (for example) Uber and Airbnb, is a concept called collaborative consumption.  Otherwise known as the sharing economy.  It is built on the understanding that, at any one given time, there are substantial unused resources around us.  Ranging from things like cars or houses, to people, skills and even money.  The world is moving from a place of centralised management to a vast array of decentralised groups offering new and existing service models. Specifically within Aged / Disability Support, there are already a number of groups providing on-demand support services that give clients and their advocates the opportunity easily self manage.  Groups like BetterCaring, Home Care Heros, and HireUp are just a few of the newer groups offering choice, transparency and control.   With 75% of the worlds population having a mobile phone, creating connections between people and those resources has never been easier.

What are the longer term implications for more traditional service providers considering the emergence of peer-connected businesses? What we can be sure of, is that the new world is showing us what is possible.  That includes, showing clients a new way of interacting and engaging with services.  The new world is not for everyone thats for sure.  Many clients we speak with prefer to leave their current arrangements as they are.  But what we are seeing, is the next wave of clients, those who are about to or have just started their journey, are looking for more effective ways to procure the services they need.  For many of the “uber style” business, their value lies in a significant cost benefit, as most are able to deliver services in a leaner manner than their more traditional counterparts.  People, in large, are generally motivated by things that can save them time or money.  Said another way, convenience gains and lower costs drive a significant shifts in peoples behaviours.  What these platform offer, is a more efficient way to source and manage the support clients need.  This is where the ultimate power of these peer-connected platforms lie.

As people become more aware of new ways to approach existing problems and challenges,  it is evident that they will be looking to providers (traditional or new) to deliver using these approaches.  The next few years will show a significant increase in providers looking to harness more effective ways to engage and support their clients using mobile technologies that provide instant, real-time access to the services they require.  By investing in client facing tools, that support self service, automation, and intelligence, providers are set to respond to the new “uber-style” world and better support their clients expectations.