I was sitting in the back of an ambulance the other day, my pedestrian wife (who is anything but pedestrian) having been run over by a taxi in NYC.
Something the EMT said got me thinking about Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) and new business models.
The EMT said that 99% of vehicle-pedestrian incidents are taxi related.
There has been a lot of NYC vehicle-pedestrian news lately, causing the city to discuss lowering the speed limit.
If the EMT is right and taxis are overwhelmingly involved, then it would have a bigger impact to specifically target taxis (whether through education or enforcement) than to just implement broad, feel good policies.
I bet you’re wondering, how does this relate to technology, let alone API’s?
My wife was struck by a taxi, which didn’t stop for a stop sign, made a turn and simply wasn’t paying attention.
Let’s pretend that running stop signs is a known cause for incidents.
Imagine it was an Uber and not a taxi?
What if, by tracking car movements the way it already does, Uber could enforce stop sign regulations? I don’t mean make them stop. Rather, by comparing movement against known stop sign locations they could issue violations and manage driver behavior through driver safety ratings.
What if Uber took this one step further and self-insured for any incidents relating to stop sign violations as a way to drive down insurance costs?
What if Uber used their ‘safety differentiation’ to build community support in their disruption of regulated taxi service?
One thing is for sure. If they did, regulated taxis couldn’t offer a competitive service without significant investment.
Apple Pay leads the way
You might think that this is a crazy idea. Why would the insurance companies go for something like this? Why would the drivers?
As it turns out, there’s a model for what I’m suggesting – Apple Pay.
In short, Apple Pay is using the latest in tokenization standards to reduce fraud. They’re adding in proprietary technology (Touch ID) that their competitors haven’t deployed to make it easily accessible. As a result, they’ve supposedly been able to negotiate a per transaction cut of each transaction.
Apple may be taking on some of the fraud risk, the same way I suggest that Uber would by self-ensuring for stop sign related infractions. They can do that because of their advanced use of tokens and TouchID.
Uber has a similar advantage when it comes to driver tracking and the big data around it. They could build a model that makes sense, motivates the desired driver behavior, and creates a safer experience.
A lot to think about
These are the kinds of ideas that need to be explored – ideas that need to be tried rather than discussed.
The research is in, and one thing is painfully obvious. Companies that wish to be leaders need to move faster than they do today.
- Leaders need to be able to share information easier, but more securely. An API strategy, even if ‘only’ internal to the organization, plays a critical role in secure mobile information access.
- Leaders need to be able to improve software quality, while reducing software assembly line latency. As software eats the world, victory goes to the company that can release faster. Think about Apple Pay. All the banks are starting at the same time. The one that can get ‘top of wallet’ first wins.
- Leaders need to be able to deliver and control software effectively in a mobile first world. Companies have to create a global economy of scale, but deliver highly personalized experiences across use case and geography. There are a lot of moving parts, and there’s no way it’s going to scale if companies continue to deliver software on mobile the way they did on the desktop.
Onto important things
Though it was quite a serious incident, they didn’t even use the ambulance’s sirens. Oh, and my wife is well on the mend. We’re both very grateful it wasn’t worse.
Image credit: Asim Bharwani