Uber officially launch their food delivery service this week with the addition of Chicago and New York City, after dabbling with their trial locations, Los Angeles and Barcelona.
They have already successfully applied their technology to the sharing economy to move humans from place to place with their alternative take on the taxi service.
Managing the flow of fresh (and in some cases hot) food from the point of origin to the point of consumption will be a huge challenge for Uber.
If they can tackle this successfully, then it opens up tremendous possibilities.
Technology used by Uber
Uber recently partnered with EE to provide 4G-equipped handsets to its drivers. On the iPhone, Uber uses Apple Maps for directions, and if drivers use their own Android devices they can use Google Maps or Waze.
Uber uses Twilio to update customers about the status of their ride in real-time with text messages, and Braintree (a PayPal company) to process payments in the chosen currency extremely quickly.
Uber has opened up to developers with an API, which allows you to incorporate Uber’s functionality into your app. Starbucks, OpenTable, TripAdvisor and Expensify among others have integrated it into their systems, either to add features for their users or as an additional revenue stream. A great example of the integration in action is in the Breathometer app, which gives you the option to call an Uber driver or book a hotel if you’re over the legal limit to drive.
Other Companies in the Sharing Economy
- Airbnb – Rent accommodation from private providers, and offer your spare room for rent by prospective visitors. Operates in 190 countries, including the UK, and more than 34,000 cities for those who wish to travel or host.
- Lyft, Side Car, RelayRides & Getaround – Alternatives to Uber, peer-to-peer car sharing companies which let people arrange lifts, share rides, rent cars from private owners and share from a pool of available cars. Apart from Uber, only Lyft is also available in the UK.
- TaskRabbit – Outsource odd jobs, chores and admin jobs that you can’t or don’t want to do to willing people in the neighborhood (or offer your services to the scheme). Available in 19 cities, including London, England.
- Vayable – Book a tour with a local independent expert in cities around the world to experience local culture authentically. Available in the UK.
- JustPark – Park in vacant privately-owned parking spaces with spare capacity. Available in the UK, including near airports.
- DogVacay & Rover – Connects pet-owners with pet-sitters, replacing the need for kennels. Based in the US.
- Dog Buddy – find a dog sitter in the UK or across Europe.
- Lending Club – Peer to peer lending and borrowing to secure good rates and low fees while bypassing banks. U.S. based.
- Zopa – Peer to peer lending and borrowing service, similar to Lending Club but based in the UK.
- Fon – Share your WiFi, and gain access to WiFi across the network – over 14,000,000 members worldwide. Available in the UK.
- Neighborgoods – Borrow or lend a ladder or other items from local users in the community. Based in the U.S.
- Spinlister – Peer-to-peer rental marketplace for bikes, surfboards, skis, snowboards, etc. An international site.
- LeftoverSwap – Reduce food waste by connecting neighbours with leftovers. U.S. based.
- Fareshare – UK alternative to LeftoverSwap – also aims to cut down on food waste.
- Postmates – Delivery of any local item to your home in under an hour by independent operators; you can also sign up to work for this service. Based in San Francisco, but plans to expand to other cities around the world.
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