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Uber Rides Are Going To Be Changed Forever In The Foreseeable Future Because Of COVID-19

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Uber Rides Are Going To Be Changed Forever In The Foreseeable Future Because Of COVID-19


The world has changed so much in just two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic which spread across the world.  The virus, which is highly infectious, currently has no vaccine and most optimistic estimates peg the chance of a vaccine being discovered,  at one year away.  So governments across the world quarantined entire countries by imposing lockdowns and not letting anyone come out of their homes.  This was done as a measure to break the chain of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Needless to say, this has disrupted multiple industries with airlines, travel, transportation, hospitality and the event industry bearing the brunt of it.

Swiggy and Zomato, both of which are food delivery applications, have implemented a no-contact delivery where a delivery partner will leave the package at the door and leave.  Swiggy and Zomato went further so as to certify restaurants which sanitize their kitchens regularly and show them on their app for their customers.

Ride hailing companies like Uber and Ola have not seen any business in the last two months in India and have no clarity on when the government would deem it safe for cab services to resume.  However, there can be no denying that your next Uber ride is going to be completely different to how it was before the pandemic affected countries.  Uber in particular is already making changes to how it operates by predicting consumer behaviour in light of the COVID-19 virus.

These are some of the changes Uber is going to make to their operations.

  1. Uber is making face masks mandatory for both drivers and passengers during their rides.
  2. A driver partner will not be able to log in to their account and accept rides until they upload a selfie of themselves with a face mask.  The app will detect the face mask as an object and gives access to the driver partner to accept rides.
  3. Riders must agree to sit in the rear seats and must agree to keep the windows open at all times for ventilation.
  4. Only three passengers are allowed in a single cab per ride.  It used to be four passengers before the lockdown.
  5. Both riders and drivers can cancel the trip if they do not feel safe without any penalty.  
  6. Uber would be spending $ 50 million globally to buy personal protective equipment (PPEs) for drivers including sanitisers, masks and disinfectant wipes.

Uber is just one of the companies that is trying to adapt to the changes in consumer behavior which is bound to change after the lockdowns are lifted and life returns to normalcy.  We will have to wait and watch as to how other industries adapt to these changes in the future.

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3 Comments

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The Rise Of Gig Economy In India 

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The Rise Of Gig Economy In India 

India is notorious for churning out graduates from colleges at a very high rate and the education system in India is always under fire for not focusing on all round development but on marks and grades, instead.  This is a growing concern as there are not enough jobs available to accommodate all the graduates passing out from college.  However, the Indian millennial is a smart individual and when put under pressure, a millennial is capable of coming out of it better.  So, what did the Indian millennial do when there were less opportunities and did not want to be part of the rat race?  They turned to taking up gigs and that spawned an entire economy and industries to flourish.

Gig economy can be defined as a work engagement where on one side, there is a service seeker that is a consumer with a demand for a specific task, and on the other side, there is a service provider that is. a gig worker who can perform that specific task.  The gig economy was able to flourish solely because of the advent of digital platforms which were able to connect a service seeker with a provider.   More and more Indians are looking to escape from the monotony of a 9 to 5 desk job and instead take up freelance gigs which complement their skills.  

In order to put the gig economy into simpler terms, here are some examples.  An individual who likes to drive cars would consider working with Uber as a driver partner to earn some extra bucks.  An individual who is good at playing the guitar would consider performing in live shows with a band to earn extra money.  A person who is good at painting would consider selling their art for extra money.  The gig ecosystem offers the millennial an outlet to escape monotony and pursue their passion instead. 

The gig economy could only thrive when there are digital platforms which are able to connect the supply with the demand.  The digital gig economy generated a gross volume of approximately $ 204 billion from worldwide customers in 2018.  India has emerged as the 5th largest country for flexible staffing after the United States of America, China, Brazil and Japan.  Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Telangana have the most opportunities in terms of growth for the flexible workers.

ALSO READ: Indian Startups Face Their Biggest Challenge As 70% Of Them Have Less Than 3 Months Of Runway Cash

Gig economy allows task ownership, convenience and flexibility.  Based on tastes and preferences, an individual can determine the number and type of projects they can work on, the quantum of their earnings, and thus, their work-life balance.  For example, an individual who took on five gigs in one month could take only three gigs the next month to balance life at their regular job.

The gig economy has a disruptive model to connect sellers and buyers for almost all kinds of skills and services.  While the size of the gig economy may seem marginal when compared to the traditional economy, it is recognized for its enormous potential with the desire of workers, specially millennials to have a flexible work schedule and the rise in the on demand consumer services.  Of In India, almost 70% corporates have already used gig workers for at least one task in 2018.

In India, a platform called Lemonop, is setting an example in the gig economy by providing a platform for students and working professionals to look for gigs of their liking.  There are plenty of other platforms like Lemonop which are slowly bridging the gap between talent and job demand.

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Indian Startups Face Their Biggest Challenge As 70% Of Them Have Less Than 3 Months Of Runway Cash

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Indian Startups Face Their Biggest Challenge As 70% Of Them Have Less Than 3 Months Of Runway Cash

We live in the age of technology where the internet was able to bridge the gap between consumers and business.  This gave rise to new technologies which meant there was a lot of room for new businesses to pop up and that was what happened in the recent past.  Startups have been mushrooming rapidly to meet the demand in various sectors and it is safe to say that we live in the age of information technology and startups.  The startup ecosystem was a thriving sector until the whole world came to a standstill when the COVID-19 virus began spreading across the globe.  

Governments went into emergency mode and with no vaccine available and none in sight for the near future, governments declared strict lockdowns and curfews with the hope to stop the spread of the virus.  The Indian Government announced the first lockdown on March 24th and has since extended it till the end of June while easing some restrictions.  The first two months were the hardest and the economic impact was the hardest on travel, events, movies, sporting, rental and transportation industries.  As the lockdown is slowly easing the actual impact of the COVID-19 on startups is beginning to show.  The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) conducted a survey to study the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Indian Startups.

The survey shows that

  • 90% of startups registered a decline in revenues.
  • 70% of these startups have less than 3 months of cash runaway.
  • 30-40% of startups have suspended their operations.

The survey also showed that 70% of travel related startups have faced 40% decline in revenue, 50% of Fintech and logistics have seen a similar dip in revenues while 14% of edtech and health tech startups expect revenue growth amid COVID-19 crisis.  The survey also suggests that early and mid stage business are the most affected segments, especially in B2C (business to consumer) space.  It also found that around 60% of B2C startups were facing closure as revenues plummeted to near zero levels after businesses were forced to shut down for nearly 2 months, because of the lockdown.

The president of NASSCOM Debjani Ghosh said “However, it is not all doom and gloom; more than half of the start-ups are looking to pivot to new business opportunities, diversify into growth verticals like healthcare, and enhancing focus on emerging tech like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud (sic.)”  She also added, “to ensure that the Indian start-up movement and its growth trajectory is not derailed, coordinated support from key stakeholders is the need of the hour.  Some of our key recommendations to the government include access to working capital, easing compliances and fiscal policy and funding support (sic.)”

The Indian Government took note of the economic situation and has announced a whopping 20 lakh crore rupees as part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat package which would be used to help various industries and sectors.  The Government also called for buying products which are made from locally sourced materials once again stressing on the need for ‘Make In India.’  This is a test for startups to prove their mettle and emerge stronger from this crisis.

 

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Five Interesting Facts About Elon Musk’s SpaceX 

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Five Interesting Facts About Elon Musk’s SpaceX 

If you have been following the news, you would not have missed when Elon Musk’s SpaceX made history as being the first private organization to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS.)  The entire operation from launch to docking at the ISS has been live streamed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was watched by millions from all over the world.  The live stream might have disappointed a large number of flat earthers as well when the images of Earth’s curvature were live streamed.  Ever since SpaceX was launched in 2002 by Elon Musk, it grew in leaps and bounds to what it is today, one of the premier privately owned space transportation technology companies in the world.  

Let us take a look at some of the interesting facts about SpaceX and the recently launched SpaceX Dragon.

The name Dragon:

The name Dragon was inspired from the fictional “Puff the Magic Dragon,” from the hit song by music group Peter, Paul and Mary.  Musk said he used the name because many critics considered his goals impossible when he founded SpaceX in 2002.

Dragon’s first payload was a wheel of cheese:

The Dragon capsule had its first test flight in 2010 and it carried a wheel of cheese into orbit.  Prior to the flight, SpaceX officials hinted that a special cargo was being carried into space but did not disclose what it was until later when the spacecraft returned back.  The wheel of cheese was launched in honor of a classic skit from actor John Cleese in the British comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Also Read: 5 Companies Founded By Elon Musk That Are Not Tesla

Falcon Rockets named as a pop culture reference

Elon Musk’s love for pop culture references is very well known if you are following him on the micro blogging site Twitter.  The Falcon rockets are used by SpaceX to launch their capsules into orbit.  The name Falcon is after the fictional Millenium Falcon spaceship from George Lucas’ Star Wars movies.  The Falcon is commanded by Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise.

First Company To Reuse Rockets

Unlike most rockets, which are expendable launch systems, since the introduction of the Full Thrust version, Falcon 9 is partially reusable, with the first stage capable of re-entering the atmosphere and landing vertically after separating from the second stage.  This feat was achieved for the first time by SpaceX in December 2015.  A 2011 NASA report “estimated that it would have cost the agency about US $ 4 billion to develop a rocket like the Falcon 9 booster based upon NASA’s traditional contracting processes while “a more ‘commercial development’ approach might have allowed the agency to pay only US $ 1.7 billion (sic.)”

Starlink Project

Starlink is a satellite constellation being constructed by SpaceX  to provide satellite Internet access.  The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers.  SpaceX intends to provide satellite internet connectivity to underserved areas of the planet, as well as provide competitively priced service to urban areas. 

Elon Musk will definitely go down in the annals of history as one of the best entrepreneurs to have ever lived with his vision and innovations.  The ultimate goal of Elon Musk’s SpaceX is to send humans to Mars as he believes humans are an interplanetary species.

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