Next-Generation Sharing Economies: Why Real-Time Matters Most



The sharing economy is a concept that was introduced by author Lawrence Lessig in his book Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. He suggests there are two different economies, commercial and sharing. Commercial economies are typically what we are used to – markets, products/services in exchange for money. Sharing economies are “outside the monetary exchange” and are based on relationships.

This article’s author, Mark Gilbreath, highlights sharing economy products and services with the theme that real-time information and services are becoming more in demand.

There are a number of examples of new services that recognize the importance of real-time and he briefly discusses the different time-based delivery approaches of each:

  • Airbnb, which was recently valued at $1billion, is the considered to be the most common representation of the sharing economy.
  • Hotel Tonight is another example of the sharing economy. It focuses on real-time reservations, and the real-time use of latent capacity.
  • Uber’s car service business is incredibly time-sensitive.
  • LiquidSpace provides the ability for a person to book workspace as needed.

The author makes other observations regarding real-time services:

  • The more time-sensitive a market becomes for buyers and sellers, the more lucrative the corresponding business opportunity.
  • A ton of information can be extrapolated about preferences — from who customers are likely to collaborate with to where they like to work or hang out.
  • With this real-time data, a service provider to find other ways to make customer services much more enjoyable.
  • Whether by offering new services or opening up this powerful real-time data, service providers are exposing new revenue streams that the sharing economy enables .
  • On short notice, sharing economies are harder to organize, and they involve more risk.

Curator’s Comments

It is not surprising that new economic paradigms are emerging from the social networking and internet-based businesses. There are several coincidental technological and social developments that have made this possible. Mobile computing consisting of ubiquitous Internet and mobile handhelds, social networking infrastructure expansion (YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and many more), digital native market emergence, and multi-media.

The other observation is that along with increased bandwidth due to multi-media usage, there will be a corresponding quality of service (QoS) demand due to increase of real-time services.

Call to Action

We are concerned that the demand for these types of “sharing economy-based” services will place additional demand on the currently overburdened internet/bandwidth/mobile infrastructure. Business and IT executives should proceed warily when adopting these new products/services and make sure that their testing processes are robust enough to assure meeting user/customer expectations now and in the future.


Original Article

Next-Generation Sharing Economies: Why Real-Time Matters Most, Mark Gilbreath, Liquidspace, Jan. 14, 2012. Mark Gilbreath is co-founder and CEO of LiquidSpace, a mobile application that helps people find and share available workspaces.

Related References

Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy,, Lawrence Lessig