Thanks to a new crop of so-called collaborative consumption startups, people now have unprecedented access to other people’s homes, time and expertise. But in the not-so-far-off future, those companies themselves could start collaborating to give people even more streamlined experiences.
At GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco, Mike Curtis, Airbnb’s vice president of engineering, said that three pillars support collaborative consumption, or a sharing economy: identity and trust, a payments platform that makes the experience feel native and a marketplace. But he added that different kinds of experiences could be integrated on top of that foundation.
“[In the travel space], there are so many parts you could layer on to core accommodations,” he said. “Concierge [services], rides to the airport, you could think of a thousand things you could layer on to travel.”
Aunkur Arya, Braintree’s general manager of mobile, added that increased integration among collaborative consumption companies would follow a larger trend he sees in commerce.
“I think this relates really well to the concept of commerce actually becoming context-driven and not intent-driven,” he said. Now, Android phone users can access Google Now to get useful information when and where they need it. Arya said he expects to see that kind of experience increasingly influence commerce, including travel and other verticals. Instead of transacting with several different but related services, new companies could pop up to help people stitch those experiences together with streamlined payment platforms and other services, he said.
The panelists also said that they could envision the rise of the connected devices and the internet of things influence collaborative consumption and make peer-to-peer interactions more seamless.
“The connected device in your pocket knows all about you. At every step along the way in a trip, it can be communicating with the environment around you… to remove friction from that trip and make it easier for you,” said Curtis. For example, once you walk into a host’s home, the lights could dim or the door could unlock based on information relayed from your smartphone. “Just because your device knows you, it can customize that experience for you and make it possible for you to feel at home anywhere in the world you travel with Airbnb,” he added.
Check out the rest of our Mobilize 2013 live coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below: