We live in a world where almost all of us have a smartphone connected to the internet at all times in our pocket. We also live in a time where it is impossible to buy a phone which is not a smartphone. Leveraging the power of the Smartphone with an always on internet connection has revolutionised the way we consume media and other services everyday.
Our Music is on Apple Music , Amazon Prime Music or one of the numerous streaming services by mobile phone companies which is usually bundled with their Plan itself. Now Compare that to the price of a cassette in the 90s which ranged as memory serves as it usually does to be between Rs 50 to Rs 125 each. So for the price of a single cassette from the 90s one has access to a completely up to date library with the current releases. Even if we compare it to the more recent times when MP3 downloads were a rage. It is far more convenient not having to transfer files or search for downloads from multiple website with the looming threat of infecting your computer with a virus.
Moving on to Movies and TV Shows with the advent of subscription based streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime going to the neighbourhood Video Rental store to get the Cam releases of the latest movies with questionable audio and video quality or waiting the entire week to catch a rerun of your favourite sitcom has become but a distant memory. Not to mention how many movie nights have been ruined by a tiny hairline scratch on the Disc. Even the original programming by these services have improved upon both the production quality and storytelling.
Most of our Data (photos, documents etc ) are in the Cloud (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox) backed-up and synced across all our devices (Smartphones, Tablet, laptops and desktops). The days of buying CDs & DVDs are long gone and so are the days of fretting over a hard drive crash or a virus destroying our precious data.
For our Transportation needs cab aggregator services like Ola or Uber have changed the way we travel making car ownership almost redundant as it is more convenient to have the ability to summon a chauffeur driven car in 5-10 minutes in the palm of your hand (provided the phone is charged and connected to the internet) than to worry about driving a car in todays traffic or servicing, refuelling, insuring and maintaining it not to mention the depreciation of its value the moment you drive it off the Car Dealership and if all this does not dissuade one from car ownership then trying to find a parking space should definitely do.
Using all these services does not have upfront cost or require any specialised hardware like a music system or computer it only requires access to the internet and a smartphone both of whose cost has come down in the past few years thanks to increased competition in the Indian Service Provider space by the launch of Jio and in the smartphone market by Chinese smartphone makers like Redmi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo.
The need to physically own things will continue to decline with improvement in wireless technology like 5G with higher data speed and better smartphones with more processing power and improved functionality coupled with decreasing cost of hardware. Only time will tell whether we will opt for liberation provided by having access to things and services rather than the inconveniences associated with actual ownership.