By Randy Field
"I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.” HAL, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
As foretold by HAL, we now live in a connected world that has reached critical mass and it will not be disconnected. Over the last 50 years, the prediction was that, due to the technologies and costs of a ubiquitous communications infrastructure, this critical mass would be achieved by one super corporation.
Although Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey’s creator, later denied the coincidence; HAL became a symbolic name for the computer system aboard the spacecraft, Discovery One. The symbolism was that each letter in HAL was one letter off from IBM. At the time, IBM was viewed as the likely candidate to create a critical mass computer system that could provide everything.
Today, the IoT revolution has enabled companies that are only a few years old to create new super brands or perhaps: everything brands. Two recent examples are Google’s name change to Alphabet and Uber’s creation of UberRUSH.
By embracing the name Alphabet, Google is becoming a pure house of brands… A company with a house of brands strategy can have different brands, each with a distinct positioning. For example, one brand can stand for health while another owns indulgence. – Fortune Insider, August 11, 2015
Symbolically, anything and everything can fit within an Alphabet brand. As a standalone, Alphabet does not have a distinct identity.
In hundreds of cities across the globe, you can press a button and get a ride in minutes. Now, through UberRUSH, business owners can use that same technology to get customers pretty much anything in minutes. - Uber press release, October 14, 2015
Uber’s mission is to be the Uber for everything. While there are other niche services such as Postmate (deliveries), Luxe (a personal valet service) and Washio (laundry), Uber wants to dominate all spaces.
For a minimal investment when compared to an IBM, Uber’s infrastructure has reached a critical mass that makes it economical for one company to deliver many services and convenient for customers that want one app for those services.
In the 1980s, John Naisbitt coined the term “high touch” which uses “high tech” communications to bring human interaction back into business transactions. Thirty years later, the low-cost and ease of access to automated business processes made possible by the Internet of Things is delivering this promise for everything.