Around 2013-14, Taxi4Sure was a major competitor of Ola. If I remember correctly, it was also comparatively cheaper. Their phone number was also pretty easy to remember. Infact when you called them, you were greeted by their peppy jingle which was basically their phone number turned into a song – Sixty Sixty Ten Ten (60601010). That jingle is the reason why I still remember their phone number.
Since apps and smartphones weren’t as heavily used as they are today, there was an entire process to book a cab. You had to call up 60601010 and their call center would book a cab for you. The best feature was that you could book a cab for a future time, lets say 9 PM tonight. There was also a way to get a cab urgently although it wasn’t as efficient as the apps make it today. Now once you had booked for 9 PM, you would receive a text message around 8:30 PM with the driver and cab details.
In early 2015, Taxi4Sure was acquired by Ola. With the arrival of Uber, booking a cab through an App had taken off and calling up Ola’s number would only fetch a response from the call center requesting you to book the cab on the Ola App. In the next few months, the call centers disappeared. Few months later, the text messages were replaced by App Notifications.
This means the call center jobs were gone. The companies that provided ‘SMS solutions’ suffered. They had been replaced.
If you haven’t seen the recent Google Duplex demo in the 2018 I/O event, I would highly urge you to do so (here). The Google Assistant is now capable of setting up an appointment for you by calling a real salon and BEHAVING like a REAL PERSON! Not just that, its responses are based on what it hears from the other side. Mind Blowing!
Now think of the kind of jobs it can replace. Call Center jobs come first to my mind. Think of calling up a support number and being greeted by a robot. Think of arriving at a hotel where the reception is only a screen that talks to you like a human. Think of placing an order at an international multi-cuisine restaurant on a speaker that can explain the menu and dishes with minute details in 200 different languages and even suggest what you would like based on your past Google history!
We have seen jobs disappear and we will see more jobs being replaced with new opportunities. Question to self – Are you replaceable? What makes you irreplaceable? What do you bring to the table that something like the Google Assistant cannot? If Google Assistant acquires your capabilities, how comfortable are you in leaving whatever you are an expert at and learn new things? Upskill yourself? Work in new environments? Work for a different company on a completely different project than what you are used to? How ready are you for the future?