Energy, transport and water firms will be among those needing to tighten up their cybersecurity.Posted on 11 December 2015 -
As of 4pm today, December 11, taxi app Uber was operating in Belfast.
Uber has been riling up traditional taxi firms but winning favour with customers in cities around the world for four years and has now finally arrived in Northern Ireland. It is perhaps one of the most high profile cases yet of what Silicon Valley-types would call disruptive technology. It has effectively torn up the rulebook for a traditional business sector that was functioning perfectly well and created something that's arguably better and certainly something that uses technology to improve the offering for the customer.
The disruption in question is purely to the status quo of regular taxi firms, not punters. We get to take advantage of an intuitive, well-designed smartphone app that uses geo-location and a giant matching algorithm to show us where available drivers are, how much our fare would cost and, if we're happy with that, where our driver is and what time he will arrive. So easy and straightforward.
Taxi companies and drivers around the world have tried to protest against Uber, generally with little success. Leaving Uber out of the equation entirely, history tells us that people trying to thwart a new technology that threatens their business model or livelihood rarely come out on top in the long run.
Our advice to Belfast's traditional taxi firms would be to embrace the technology rather than fight it. Use apps, geolocation services and other technology to modernise and enhance your offering. Take advantage of the goodwill you already have with customers in Northern Ireland by offering a comparable service before Uber gets its foothold.
The technology to do this is within easy reach, but you need to act quickly.