The collaborative economy is a model in which services are considered exchange goods. Currently, almost all sectors of the economy already have collaborative businesses.
The Internet and new technologies have promoted alternative consumption models in recent years. The relationship between who offers a product and who has a specific need is changing in a significant way.
The massification of the internet in the late 2000s with the arrival of smartphones, tablets and home wi-fi networks, have allowed large groups of people, communities and companies to be connected 24/7 at very low cost, to share information and make transactions in real time, being backed by advanced security mechanisms.
This opened the door for companies to emerge whose main operations would be online and the benefits can be enjoyed more immediately, often without having to pay for the ownership of products and services. Instead, it is paid for its temporary use, although it is not its only use.
This new model is commonly known as Collaborative Economy and it is already drastically changing the economy as we know it. This consists of exchanging goods and services through digital platforms with a focus on the needs of the users and not on the final economic benefit.
In this scheme, instead of companies investing in physical infrastructure to deliver products or services, they focus those resources on designing and building online platforms to act as intermediaries: they connect people who have a product or service and offer it to exchange of an economic benefit with those that require it temporarily.
The company charges a commission for the operation of the platform and everyone involved gets something of value in exchange for their investment.
Many companies that have experienced accelerated growth in recent years belong to this scheme and their success also implies the decline of other products and services. However, there are different categories in the collaborative economy such as:
• Collaborative consumption
It is the best known and allows the exchange of goods and services through digital intermediaries.
• Open knowledge
It includes platforms for exchanging information and spreading knowledge without high investments or costly intermediaries.
• Collaborative finance
This model allows obtaining financing for projects connecting those who are willing to finance, contribute or invest as the projects that require it.
Characteristics of the companies that operate under the collaborative economy model
• They use information technology• They rely on user-based rating systems for quality control
• They offer workers providing services through digital correspondence platforms flexibility to decide their typical work hours.
Main benefits of collaborative consumption
The advantages of this model of economy for businesses or companies are very diverse. Some of the most notable are:
• Sustainable development
• Resource management
• Greater offer
• Environmental benefit
We are in a scenario where collaborative economy PPPs are booming.