Ownership Is On The Way Out
Ownership in today’s world is a big deal. In fact, many may say that ownership makes up most of what defines an individual. And with industrialisation, manufacturing and logistics, humanity was able to create an incredible amount of stuff on an unprecedented scale. This, coupled with the idea of individuality and the desire to be unique, or as different from others as possible, have led the world market to produce all sorts of objects, not necessarily different in their use, but definitely different in design.
Don’t believe us? Well, let’s take a look at the fashion industry or the auto industry and see the overwhelming numbers of articles that basically do the same thing as their other counterparts, but look totally different from one another.
With this being said, there’s a growing trend around the world that may put an end to this way of thinking in the foreseeable future. Over the past several years, for instance, we’ve seen a steep drop in people buying music CDs, as well as books. This, of course, doesn’t mean that artists no longer write songs or books, and people no longer listen to music or read.
What’s happening here is that people no longer buy the physical versions of these and instead opt for a service such as iTunes where they can listen to the tracks on-demand. This means music is no longer owned, but rather, accessed. The same thing applies to movies and books, right?
But what about the bigger stuff?
Okay, music, book, and movies aren’t that big and can easily exist solely in the digital world, without the need for them to have a hard copy in the material one. But what about cars for instance? Can we treat cars the same way as we treat music? Here’s where the Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) comes in. MaaS is an “as a service” model that began as a framework in software development where companies didn’t necessarily have to own licences to certain software and instead could only access them for the service fee.
That same principle now applies to other models such as Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb and Uber. So, as the number of these services grows, it becomes increasingly more convenient to have access to them and the services they provide, rather than to own those things directly. So, in a sense, it would be far better for us to have access to a car with a push of a button for a monthly fee, rather than to own your own car, for instance.
You will no longer have to worry about where to park the car at night, or whether to build that garage or not, or about the periodic technical check-up your car needs. Instead, if you need a car, you can just ask for one and it will appear at your front door, or wherever you are at that moment. This can apply to almost anything we own at the moment, from housing to food, to smartphones.
Now, even though this concept might sound a bit too sci-fi at the moment, we have to remember that the trend is already happening and it’s only expanding with every passing day. Not only has this “as a service” model cut down on a lot of physical products to be manufactured, so will it be with everything else. Instead of everyone owning their own cars and, for the better part of the day, these cars will just sit there waiting for us, fewer cars could do the same job, simply by being part of a service.
But as we’ve said in the beginning, ownership is still a big part of our identities nowadays, and this may be the biggest impediment for this service-based lifestyle to become mainstream faster. But we all know that, when owning something, after a short while we begin to disregard it and even forget about its existence. This way, however, something like that will most likely not happen. What’s more, less personal ownership will bring with it a much-needed relief to the planet and its dwindling resources.