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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 rise of “as a service” models. Rather than buying a product outright and having to wait for it and pay for upgrades or support, businesses and consumers are embracing the idea of subscribing to just about anything for a monthly subscription.
This change is driven by the need for flexibility and agility in an ever-changing market. Using Models as a Service allows organizations to stay ahead without making long-term commitments or investing in expensive infrastructure.
Simply put, Models as a Service are like Legos for business. You can mix and match services to create the perfect solution for your needs, then change or add services as your business grows. In an era of rampant inflation, tight IT budgets, and severe labor shortages, this approach is more important than ever.
The overall SaaS or Software-as-a-Service category is the largest and fastest growing segment of the market. But as-a-service models are not limited to pure software games. Now there are deals like this for everything from fintech and manufacturing to logistics and healthcare.
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Fintech as a service
Fintech has transformed banking as we know it, and the as-a-service model is leading the way. From online lending to blockchain and digital payments, fintech companies are developing new ways to better serve customers at a fraction of the cost of traditional banks.
Take the case of card issuance. Companies like Amazon, Delta, Apple, and even Shell and ExxonMobil have all launched their own payment cards in recent years. Because these brands are focused on providing an exceptional customer experience, they can offer features and benefits that traditional banks cannot match.
Fintech-as-a-Service recently made headlines when it announced that Solid, a provider of software and services for the development of financial applications, raised $63 million in Series B funding. With deals in banking, payments, cards, and crypto, Solid proves the value of a fintech-as-a-service platform.
Security as a service
Not a day goes by without headlines about the latest data breach or cyberattack. As businesses become more dependent on technology, they also become more vulnerable to attacks.
While analog companies might have gotten away with disparate security solutions, in the digital age that is no longer the case. Businesses need comprehensive, end-to-end security solutions that can scale as quickly as the threats themselves.
It would be prohibitively expensive for a company to build its own security solution from scratch. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone: security-as-a-service providers have you covered.
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 get the protection they need at an affordable price.
A company in the security-as-a-service niche, Dedrone, recently raised $30 million for its drone protection platform. The platform uses sensors, AI and machine learning to detect, track and neutralize drones invading a protected area.
Hardware as a service
Physical hardware might 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) plans that give them access to the latest and greatest devices without breaking the bank.
HaaS providers offer a range of benefits, from lower costs 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 allow retailers to lease devices such as smartphones, printers and robotic arms. The Company’s HaaS platform is designed to help businesses manage their hardware needs more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Electric vehicles as a service
Consumer use and electric vehicle ownership are two very different things. Some argue that for electric vehicles to be adopted by the mass market, users must be able to subscribe to them monthly, as they would any other service.
Electric vehicle as a service (EVaaS) is an emerging category that is gaining momentum with both consumers and businesses. One recently raised $60 million to launch its EV subscription service.
The company’s offering not only includes the electric vehicle itself, but also all associated services, including public charging, insurance and roadside assistance. The subscription includes 750 miles per month.
entertainment as a service
Industry 4.0 also brings new SaaS applications for consumers. The modern consumer spends most of their waking life online as we see new applications from the metaverse.
One company, Yepp, is using machine learning to take advantage of the growing internet economy. Its social platform, which recently launched in beta, has reached over 100,000 users with AI-powered meme-making features like a face-swap algorithm, automated content suggestions, and the ability to change any text and font in images.
Companies are increasingly using memes to market to consumers, and the use of Industry 4.0 technologies like machine learning is accelerating this trend.
As we can see, models as a service are popping up in every industry imaginable. These models offer a number of advantages over traditional approaches, ranging from reduced costs to greater flexibility. In an ever-changing world, they offer businesses the perfect opportunity to stay one step ahead.
Valerias Bangert is a strategy and innovation consultant, founder of three media outlets and a published author.
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