The Internet Hasn’t Finished Changing Your Life. Five More Changes Are Coming Soon
Cloud computing has already changed a lot of things in your life and we’re only at the beginning.
It’s already changed the way we share photos (remember mailing pictures?), how we navigate in our cars (remember street maps?) how we work (remember 9 to 5 in the office?) and so on.
We talked to two VCs to hear about what’s coming next from the cloud, Michael Eisenberg, of Benchmark Capital’s Tel Aviv’s office, best known for backing Seeking Alpha and Shopping.com; and Accel Partners’ Ryan Sweeney best known for Groupon and Atlassian.
They named the next five industries that will be transformed by the cloud.
1. Food/grocery. Web sites can offer a better way for people to buy local food from food producers instead of grocery stores, reducing cost while increasing nutrition. The food industry is ready to be transformed just like the travel industry was with AirBnB, Roomarama, Zipcar.
“With the food industry there are too many hands in the middle between farmer and consumer. More models are starting to emerge,” says Eisenberg who points to a site called Farmego as one example. This site matches consumers with food producers who sell direct to the public.
2. K-12 education. Our kids are growing up with computing and yet we are still using a public school classroom setup designed centuries ago.
“I have 4-year old son and he zips through on the iPad faster than [his mom or me],” says Sweeney. This next generation of kids are being raised with Web technology from before they can read and write. Sweeney says its “ripe for disruption” with cloud technologies. “We have to try and find better ways to educate the student.”
There are some first steps being taken here. Former Sun Microsoft’s CEO Scott McNealy has backed a startup called Curriki which allows K-12 teachers to share and collaborate with curriculum. Lot’s of companies are creating iPad apps for the classroom. Online schools like K12 are also cropping up.
3. Higher education. Classes are getting bigger, college more expensive, there’s got to be better ways to deliver personalized, one-on-one education through tech. For instance LectureTools let’s professors deliver interactive lectures to smartphone and iPads. The professor can poll students, and students can ask questions via the tool.
Sweeney sees even bigger opportunities for education tech than that, such as alternative online universities.
“We need the enterprise to help make this happen,” he says. They are going to have to become more open to graduates from alternative types of schools.
4. Banks and finance. “Why do we need banks at all?” says Eisenberg.
Cloud is already bringing us alternatives to the traditional stuff that banks provide including “payment, trading, banking and deposits,” he says. For instance, instead of a credit card, Boku lets your mobile payments be charged to your telephone bill. Lots of crowdfunding sites are doing loans. Mobile payments will soon replace physical credit cards.
5. You and your stuff. Eisenberg also sees the cloud expanding a trend called “micro-entrepreneurship” where tiny businesses band together, to share things like office space, such as WeWork. Next up, the cloud will help you become a “micro-entrepreneur” by letting you make money on your assets. Right now, you can rent your stuff or sell your knowledge. For instance Zilok, is an online peer-to-peer rental market. Then there’s Mancx, which is like a Quora where you get paid to answer questions. Eventually, your job could be all about the stuff you own or know, and less about what you do or make.