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A social development topic.

Is "sharing" just a fad?

It all started with car sharing and then quickly spread to music sharing (often referred to as "streaming") and many other types of sharing.



The head of the "world leading innovators" lets us in on a few secrets. Prof. Bernd Thomsen, CEO of THOMSEN GROUP gives us some insider information: How did it all begin?
And how is it going to look in the future?


"It was the year 1995. We were researching yet another sector. This time it was the music industry. About ten years after the CD had entered the world stage, it was still doing marvelously. And no one wanted to listen to what we were saying back then: The internet will in essence be the downfall of the CD. As well as its redemption. A downfall because people will be able to simply steal their favorite songs. What reason will there be to keep on buying CDs? And then the internet will get faster, and people will be able to listen to millions of songs online for a minimal fee (much lower than the price of a CD) ‒ or even for free on websites funded through advertising. That was what was supposed to happen. Keyword: streaming. Just ask your son or daughter!

But what does all of this have to do with sharing?

We did, of course, describe technology in a more complicated and cumbersome way back then. We didn't call this phenomenon "streaming". We were much more interested in how something like that could come to be in the first place: We were convinced that it would cease to be so important for people to be able to call a CD their "own" or to "possess" a song for an entire lifetime (or at least as long as their computer lived). "Use instead of own" was the core message.
And people believed us for a couple of years. Nowadays everyone knows what car sharing is. And even the most valuable company in the world – Apple – is also starting to turn to sharing: music sharing. "Apple Music" had its worldwide launch on June 30th.
Let's talk a bit more about the example of car sharing for a minute: Car sharing is set to achieve a worldwide revenue of 5.6 million Euro (approx. 6.3 million USD) by the year 2020. But "use" instead of "own" does not only apply to cars; it applies to the entire shared mobility sector. This includes: car sharing, bike sharing, carpooling, taxis, ride sharing, parking space services, shared parking and many more service packages. The shared mobility sector is expected to grow by up to 35% between now and 2020.

Does the real estate sector play a part in all of this too?

Here the real winners will be tailored real estate objects targeted at companies (commercial leaseholders) that want to embrace this new way of doing business (collaborative business) and provide co-working spaces where highly-qualified professionals and diverse start-ups can work in close proximity in an urban atmosphere, allowing their innovative force to develop into an engine for the entire city. This is how innovative retail and innovative gastronomy turn into people magnets.
At the moment the very first "sharing city" in the world is being developed in the Schwabing neighborhood in Munich; proof that sharing is a relevant topic in all real estate asset classes: Office, Living, Retail and Hotel.

Sharing (and tolerance) attracts talent from all over the globe,

which is extremely relevant for the development of Germany's economic importance right now. There is only one other alternative strategy for keeping Germany's global economic importance from shrinking by more than 50% by the year 2050: drastically increasing the country's birth rate. This, however, seems highly unlikely. Germany has just fallen to last place in terms of birth rate ‒ worldwide.

So, is "sharing" just a fad?

A loud and resounding: No! Sharing is a future asset; a highly-relevant social development trend, which will characterize at least the next 50 years to come. Companies have almost endless possibilities right now: either by implementing new social models based on collaborative services or as a part of city development. Sharing is inseparably tied to digitalization, which represents an economic paradigm shift that only happens every 100 years. The driving force behind these developments is the internet of things, which is advancing by leaps and bounds in all areas of society right now. In the near future, billions of sensors will be interconnected with one another.
Companies can, however, only remain competitive if they take a moment to understand that their individual success also depends on another equally important future asset: individualization. Only those companies which focus on and understand style groups instead of just target groups and understand that garnering local relevance is essential, especially considering the global digitalization trend, will be successful in the future.

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