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As we enter the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – new technologies are emerging that are disrupting traditional business models. One of the most exciting and disruptive new trends is the emergence of “as-a-service” models. Rather than buying a product outright and having to maintain it and pay for upgrades or support, businesses and consumers alike are embracing the idea of subscribing to virtually anything for a monthly fee.
This shift is driven by the need for flexibility and agility in an ever-changing market. By using as-a-service models, companies can stay ahead without making long-term commitments or investing in expensive infrastructure.
Simply put, as-a-service models are like Legos for businesses. You can mix and match services to build the perfect solution for your needs, then change services or add new ones as your business evolves. In a time of red-hot inflation, tighter IT budgets and critical labor shortages, this approach is more important than ever.
The umbrella category of SaaS, or software-as-a-service, is the largest and fastest growing segment of the market. But as-a-service models are not limited to pure software games. There are now such offerings for everything from fintech and manufacturing to logistics and healthcare.
Fintech as a service
Fintech has transformed banking as we know it, and its as-a-service model is leading the way. From online lending to blockchain and digital payments, fintech companies are inventing new ways to better serve customers – and they’re doing it at a fraction of the cost of traditional banks.
Consider the case of card issuance. Companies like Amazon, Delta, Apple and even Shell and ExxonMobil have all launched their own branded payment cards in recent years. Because these brands are focused on providing a great customer experience, they can offer features and benefits that traditional banks can’t match.
Fintech-as-a-service recently made headlines with the announcement that Solid, a provider of software and services for developing financial applications, raised $63 million in Series B financing. With offerings in banking, payment, cards and crypto, Solid proves the value of a fintech-as-a-service platform.
Not a day goes by without headlines about the latest data breach or cyber-attack. As companies become more dependent on technology, they also become more vulnerable to attacks.
While analog companies may have been able to get away with patchwork security solutions, in the digital age that is no longer the case. Businesses need comprehensive, end-to-end security solutions that can evolve as quickly as the threats themselves.
It would be prohibitively expensive for a company to build its own security solution from scratch. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone: security-as-a-service providers are here to help.
Security-as-a-service companies offer a range of solutions from data loss prevention and firewalls to identity and access management. By bundling these services, businesses can get the protection they need at an affordable price.
A company within the security-as-a-service niche, Dedrone, was recently established $30 million for its drone protection platform. The platform uses sensors, AI and machine learning to detect, track and neutralize drones entering a protected area.
Hardware as a service
Physical hardware may be the last thing you think of when you hear “as a service,” but it’s becoming an increasingly important part of the Industry 4.0 landscape.
In the past, companies had to make huge upfront investments in hardware, whether it was servers, PCs or production equipment. Today, they can subscribe to hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) offerings that give them access to the latest and greatest equipment without breaking the bank.
HaaS providers offer a range of benefits, from lower cost to greater flexibility. In many cases, businesses can only pay for the amount of capacity they need, making HaaS a scalable solution that can grow with your business.
Berlin-based startup Topi recently Raised $45 million to enable sellers to rent equipment such as smartphones, printers and robotic arms. The company’s HaaS platform is designed to help businesses manage their hardware needs in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
Consumer use and ownership of electric vehicles are two very different things. For EVs to be adopted by the mass market, some argue, users should be able to subscribe to them on a monthly basis, just like any other service.
Electric-vehicle-as-a-Service (EVaaS) is an emerging category that is beginning to gain popularity among both consumers and businesses. Raised recently $60 million to launch its EV subscription service.
The company’s offer includes not only the electric vehicle itself, but also all associated services, including public charging, insurance and breakdown cover. The subscription includes 750 miles per month.
Industry 4.0 is also bringing new SaaS applications to consumers. The modern consumer spends most of his waking life online, to the extent that we are seeing new applications of the metaverse.
a firm, Yep, uses machine learning to take advantage of the growing internet economy. The social platform, which recently launched in beta, reached more than 100,000 users with AI-powered meme creation features such as a Face Swap algorithm, automated content suggestions, and the ability to edit text and fonts in images.
Companies are increasingly using memes to market to consumers, and the use of Industry 4.0 technologies such as machine learning is accelerating this trend.
As we can see, “as-a-service” models are popping up in every industry imaginable. These models offer a number of advantages over traditional approaches, from lower cost to greater flexibility. In an ever-changing world, they provide the perfect way for businesses to stay ahead of the game.
Valerias Bangert is a strategy and innovation consultant, founder of three media outlets, and published author.
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