Gone are the days where taxis were booked manually, by going in person, to a taxi operator and book one. Now is the time to book your cabs with just a tap on your phone screen. You can book one, anytime, anywhere, on the go. Such is the ease of operation that has entered the taxi industry, in the recent years.
And all thanks to the revolution created in the taxi/transportation industry by one company called Uber. It has managed to become a great economic force and a major global brand of reckoning. Who would have imagined that a cab could be hailed on the go? Who would have thought that being stuck in a snowstorm, unable to get a taxi back home, would open up a new opportunity?
This is the story of Uber, right from its conception to becoming a market leader and innovator. A start-up company that changed the global dynamics of the transportation industry. A company that uses technology and big data analysis like no other. That is Uber for you! It is a story of how a disruptive technology can do wonders, challenging the very existence of the so-called norms that have been present since ages.
How it all started?
Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, two young American entrepreneurs came to Paris, way back in 2008, to attend a conference. A snowstorm and a bad weather made it impossible for them to get a taxi. This was a turning point. A new opportunity and a new idea took shape. Ubercab was started in San Francisco, in 2010, with black cars and limo drivers. This was preceded by a small testing in New York with just three cars.
The basic idea was simple. A cab should reach the customer within a few minutes. The GPS system of the smartphone is used to connect the customer with the closest cab. From the customer’s perspective, the process was simple. Simply download the app, register and then book a cab on the go.
The ease of operations and the convenience of hailing the cabs were some of the main reasons for the growth catapult of Uber. After covering all the places in America, systematically, Uber entered the Europe market and slowly the rest of the world, from 2012 onwards.
As per the latest statistics available, Uber operates in 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide. As a start-up company, Uber has a high valuation. According to industry experts, Uber’s valuation currently is pegged at $ 30 billion.
Uber raises its capital funding to expand its reach globally. It aims to go a few steps further from taxi services. It has already started testing the food and package deliveries in some cities. Uber aims to use new technology in becoming a lifestyle and logistics company as well in future.
A lot of research and development is happening in the self-driving cars segment from Uber. How this materializes in future is a matter to be seen. It has many real-world hurdles that it has to pass, for it to become a reality.
Not an easy journey all through
As a start-up, with an innovative idea, Uber took the world by storm. People all around, especially the customers took on to Uber with open arms. It provided them comfort and convenience, without being much of a hassle. But the journey was not very smooth.
Uber had its share of stiff competition in most of the markets, be it American or international. Other taxi companies’ business got hurt very badly when Uber entered the market. While questions were raised at Uber’s legal status, protests were held at many places by other taxi companies, in many cities across the world.
Uber has also been accused of practising unhealthy and unethical practices, with surge pricing and things as such. The battle between Uber and other taxi operators is far from over. But it has definitely achieved a major step in changing and fulfilling the needs of the urban transportation system.
What has changed in the transportation sector, because of Uber?
- Peoples’ perception about taxi’s and transportation has changed dramatically.
- People now have the option to buy a ride.
- Dependence on public transportation has decreased.
- Time saved due to lesser dependence on the schedules of the public transportation system.
- A real-world problem has been solved because of the on-demand services.
- Users welcomed the idea of on-demand services.
- Users also loved the reliability, safety, and responsibility that Uber has got in this industry. Thanks to the ride-sharing concept, many cars are off the road, decongesting the urban space and doing their bit to the environment.
Big Data, Technology, and Uber
Apart from the transportation industry, Uber has certainly made an impact on technology and businesses worldwide. Though a different kind of technological disruption, Uber has managed to set some very high standards of delivery, customer satisfaction and experiences. There has also been a shift in the thinking.
Uber has changed the way technology is implemented in its services to make it a very user-centric technology. It solves problems that people never recognized or existed. New technology can be embraced or fought. But once it is accepted and enters the mainstream, there is no looking back. Uber has done exactly that.
With the use of Big Data in Transportation, Uber has altered the existing taxi and transportation system. A small start-up, Uber has grown by leaps and bounds, by making use of technology and Big Data Analytics to the core. Apart from picking and dropping a customer, it has also collected valuable information about the customers’ preferences, behaviours, and choices. With this information at hand, the customer service that is provided by Uber has seen a rise to the next level. It is all about the experience and service, which customers never realised, could be part of the taxi/ transportation system. Traditional systems never thought about these aspects. But Uber gave the customers what they didn’t expect.
Innovation is another significant effect that Uber has managed to sneak into this industry. Companies and businesses are vying hard to innovate and provide the best possible services to the customers. There is fierce competition in the marketplace, which has led to re-thinking, re-designing, and innovating new strategies.
With Travis Kalanick’s exit from Uber, which was prompted by investor pressure, there has been a significant top management change. Any start-up has its share of ups and downs, however good it has been in bringing in in disruptive technology!