Do you want to eat steak tartare and listen to the entire Beatles back catalogue from your couch while someone washes your clothes and walks your dog? And just because you want to, should you?
The rise of on-demand apps and services means we can instantly get almost anything we want, and easily out-source anything we don’t want to do. We’ve been using on-demand services such as Spotify for years, but in Australia, 2016 may be remembered as the year such services went truly mainstream.
In New York people use these apps so much there’s even an app that helps you keep on top of all your on-demand services. Alfred coordinates your grocery delivery, washing services and anything else you’re demanding. It ensures it’s all unpacked and tidy when you get home. Alfred seems ridiculous because the idea behind on-demand services is that they make our lives easier – not more complicated. In Australia, we’re not at that level yet.
For us the rise of on-demand services means we have a lot more control over our lives. There are fewer variables: you don’t have to watch ads and there’s no line of people between you and your food. These services rely heavily on trust, but thanks to ratings systems and the ability to give feedback, we expect a very high standard.
Demanding what you want when you want it is liberating, but it does reduce the likelihood of unexpected encounters. Stumbling across a great movie while channel surfing, or striking up a conversation at the Laundromat, are moments now replace by algorithms. The element of chance is slightly removed from our lives.
Sure, the sheer number of choices in the on-demand economy is sometimes overwhelming, but if you know what you like, it’s empowering.
If you’re new to the on-demand world, here are some services that could change how you go about your day-to-day.
You no longer have to put on shoes (or clothes) to eat meals from your favourite restaurants. Deliveroo will bring a French steak sandwich from Entrecote in Melbourne, or your favourite burger from Mary’s in Sydney to your house or office in (a very precise) 32 minutes. You can eat food from multiple high-quality restaurants in one night, without waiting for a table. Deliveroo uses recyclable packaging designed specifically for transport, so whether you order oysters or ramen, your dinner will still be in one piece when it gets to your door.
What could you watch while eating three courses on your couch? Basically anything. On-demand entertainment services such as Netflix, Stan, ABC iview and SBS On Demand have ruined our sleep patterns by allowing us to binge watch TV series. These services create their own original series, too; Orange Is The New Black, Chef’s Table and House of Cards were created by Netflix. On-demand services want content exclusive to their platform, so we’re tipping we’ll see more of this.
On-demand dating apps, such as Clover in the US, let you order a date like you would a ride home. You set the time and location and it sends someone to meet you. Just trust the algorithm factors in BO. It’s not here in Australia yet, so we’ll just keep swiping left and right.
Uber has shaken up the taxi industry here and all over the world. Its sleek app, cashless payments and rating system mean there’s a certain level of trust and security. The downside is surge pricing: when there’s an increased demand for Ubers, the price goes up. It means there’s more incentive for Uber drivers to get out on the road, but punters pay more for a ride during peak periods. Divvy Parking is also changing the way we travel. Car park owners can rent out their private parks to people looking for a spot. It saves users from hunting down an illusive parking spot (and it saves the petrol used while you’re at it).
If the sight of an Allen key sends you into fits of rage you need to download Airtasker. Someone will come over and put together that wardrobe for you shortly after you post your job on the app. Laundry Run will come and pick up your dry-cleaning and drop it back within the day. Similar services (such as US start-up, Washio) will sort, clean and ship your wardrobe all over the country. It’s popular with people who travel regularly for business, but it’s not available in Australia yet.
If you’re worried about your pooch while you’re at work you can book someone to take them for a walk or give them a cuddle via Pawshake. Alternatively, you can sign up as a dog sitter and get paid to play with dogs – best job ever. In the US there’s an app called Vet Pronto that sends a vet to your house. It saves your pet from stressful vet visits.
This article is presented in partnership with Deliveroo.