Some of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world base their business models on commercializing untapped resources. Facebook has relied on its users to generate content and data for years, and organizations are starting to realize the value of gathering, processing, storing and taking action on big data.
In the AEC industry, some companies are discovering the hidden potential of excess energy that is generated by buildings, while others are looking to utilize large roof surfaces of mega-malls and supermarkets for harvesting solar energy. Airbnb has turned underused living units into assets, and allows people to generate additional income by renting out their homes to travelers.
The traditional notions of ‘private’ and ‘public’ space are eroding under the influence of a sharing economy and technological advancement. Space is being recognized as a profitable commodity in itself.
A co-working space at Lagos-based Vienna Business Hub
The commercial real estate industry is undergoing similar changes. Co-working spaces are sprouting in big cities, with building owners finding ways to make profit from underused desks and offices, targeting an increasing number of people who telecommute or work away from their main offices.
Finding an office space and setting up the necessary infrastructure for it to operate can be a daunting task for startups. Landlords are usually interested in long-term leases – less than ideal for young companies and freelancers. Recognizing the need for convenience, flexibility, and less liability, some companies have developed successful business models around the idea of space as a service.