Monthly Archives: July 2016
According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, you won’t find the most connected people on the coasts, or deep in the heart of Texas, but largely in the Midwest. Just under three-quarters of U.S. households were online in 2015. But the most connected state isn’t located on one of the coasts — it’s in the heart of the Midwest.
In 2015, 79.5 percent of Iowans, or 2,355,765 households, used the internet. In 1998, 996,217 (then 36.3 percent) households were online.
In Iowa, 30.5 percent of internet users spend time online searching forjob opportunities.
In Wyoming, 90.6 percent of internet users check email, whereas 90.9 percent of U.S. citizens overall do so.
In 2015, 80.5 percent of Oregon residents, or 3,072,20 households, used the internet. In 1998, 1,356,308 households (then 41.2 percent) were online.
Oregon has the highest proportion of laptop computer internet users of any state.
In 2015, 80.6 percent of Utah residents, or 2,252,565 households, used the internet. In 1998, 812,717 (then 41 percent) households were online.
Utah is the state with the highest percentage of internet users who have wearable devices (2.2 percent) and who use smart TVs and TV-connected devices (36.3 percent).
In 2015, 81.3 percent of Illinois residents, or 9,946,149 households, used the internet. In 1998, 3,715,059 (then 32.7 percent) households were online.
Of the 10 states with the greatest proportions of internet users, Illinois has the highest rate of desktop computer internet use (41.3 percent). In the nation as a whole, 34.3 percent of internet users access the web via a desktop computer.
Nearly three-quarters of internet users in Idaho use the web to shop or make reservations.
4. New Hampshire
In 2015, 82.3 percent of New Hampshire residents, or 1,054,070 households, used the internet. In 1998, 520,158 (then 44.2 percent) households were online.
In New Hampshire, 23.4 percent of internet users take classes or participate in job training online.
After Rhode Island, Wisconsin is the state with the greatest proportion of internet users who say that affordability is the most important aspect of home internet service (as opposed to reliability, service speed, mobility, data cap or customer service).
Vermont has the second-highest rate of internet usage by residents ages 15 and up (84.2 percent), behind Wisconsin (84.6 percent).
Related: 15 Throwback Web Pages That Show Us How the Internet Has Changed
A greater proportion of internet users look up health insurance info or communicate with a doctor online in Minnesota than in any of the other states in the top 10. Minnesota is second to Washington state in this usage category (38.9 percent of people in Washington state access health records online, compared with 37.9 percent in Minnesota).
On any given day, ridesharing companies face the logistical puzzle of balancing supply and demand. As they strive to match the number of cars on the road with the number of passengers seeking rides, they rely on computer algorithms to guide drivers and keep customers updated in real time. But on a busy night such as Halloween, the balance becomes even more challenging to maintain.
Yes, Halloween is one of the busiest nights for ridesharing. And, of course, there’s New Year’s Eve, when demand skyrockets, as well as times when it spikes in a particular market, such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, St. Patrick’s Day (for cities such as Chicago that are serious about their pub crawls) and even smaller occasions such as sporting events, concerts or conferences.
Like New Year’s, universality defines Halloween. Drivers aren’t necessarily directed to a certain part of town, because people could be celebrating anywhere. This creates not only a challenge for the companies, but also an opportunity. It requires a few tricks to wrangle contractors and make sure everyone gets their treat: Drivers get paid, customers get efficient rides and the company profits.
The fact that ridesharing services dispatch fleets of contractors, rather than employees, is what makes all of this so complicated. Simply put, the companies can’t tell drivers, “You have to work.” They can suggest it, but they can’t mandate it. This is the wrinkle that an increasing number of companies will navigate as technology fosters the continued expansion of the gig economy and remote workforces become more common.
No one can anticipate exactly how many drivers will be on the roads on Halloween or other busy nights. Even the most prominent ridesharing companies have been around for less than a decade, so they have minimal historical data upon which to draw. That’s why the economically savvy strategies that they have developed to bolster supply will be in full force on this Halloween.
Predicted dynamic pricing
Chances are, you’ve been on the receiving end of dynamic pricing as a rider. Uber calls it surge pricing. Lyft calls it Prime Time. During periods of high demand, ride prices increase.
“Halloween is one of the busiest nights of the year for Lyft,” a Lyft spokesperson said in an email statement to Entrepreneur. “Because of the high level of the demand, passengers may encounter Prime Time prices, but we will do everything we can to ensure that there are enough drivers on the road to keep rides affordable for everyone.”
Dynamic pricing frustrates many customers, which is what ridesharing platform Gett banks on.
“We will offer surge-free fares on Oct. 31 and throughout Halloween weekend, just like we do on every other day of the year,” said Gett CMO Nahshon Davidai in an email statement. “Gett is completely transparent about pricing and offers firm quotes based on the estimated time and distance of the ride. As a result, customers won’t need to worry about increased fares due to higher demand on Halloween.”
Davidai also noted that for 50 select “peak” hours each week, Gett pays its drivers 1.2 times their regular pay, and the company takes 10 percent commission from drivers and allows them to accept and keep all of their tips. The company did not specify whether it has any plans for Halloween in terms of driver pay or incentives.
(Uber declined to share information with Entrepreneur regarding its strategies for managing supply and demand on Halloween. Other ridesharing companies Via and Juno did not respond in time for this story’s publication.)
Yet dynamic pricing is core to how many ridesharing platforms operate, regardless of how customers may feel about it. It’s not meant for price gouging — it’s a way to limit demand.
“It’s a losing battle to stick to a ‘we’re against surge’ message, though it may appeal to certain customers,” says Arun Sundararajan, professor of information, operations and management Sciences at New York University’s Stern School of Business and author of The Sharing Economy. “It’s certainly one of the innovations that was necessary. You could never get a taxi during rush hour five years ago.”
Sundararajan explains that airline ticket prices fluctuate constantly, but customers have grown to accept the fact that the person sitting next to them on a flight may have paid a much lower price for his or her trip. He expects that surge pricing will become more a part of the landscape. “I don’t think this is the best branding choice to call it surge pricing,” he says. “Airlines don’t call it anything.”
Earlier this week, I came home and found a box on my porch. Inside was something I had pre-ordered 22-½ months ago. It’s been almost two years.
The item in question is Navdy, a $800 head-up display (HUD) that pairs with your smartphone to show driving directions, text messages and phone calls on a transparent screen on your dash. Navdy’s maps appear as though they are projected onto the road in front of you so there are no visual obstructions. Calls and messages are managed using simple hand gestures.
It makes virtually any car smart. I thought it sounded like a smart idea when I placed my pre-order in mid-December 2014. At that time, Navdy was supposed to ship in the first quarter of 2015. Here we are, early November of 2016. So, I asked Navdy founder and CEO Doug Simpson what the heck the deal was.
“We thought we could leverage more off the shelf technology but we learned that we had to build almost everything ourselves,” Simpson admits. “During the development process, we encountered opportunities to improve the experience and we thoughtfully chose to do so. Every aspect of the product was carefully designed and tested, and we are now excited to get it into the hands of consumers.”
So, with excited hands, I unboxed Navdy and put it through its paces. Here’s a rundown of my experiences and observations over the last few days.
Inside the box is the Navdy display, three dashboard mounts (shorter to taller, depending on your needs), a dial that attaches to your steering wheel and allows additional control of the device, and a power cord, among other things.
You can have Navdy set up in minutes — maybe 30 at most. Download the Navdy app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and watch the simple how-to video. Once the dashboard mount is adhered, attach the power cord and plug it into your OBD-II port.
Navdy comes with clips to conveniently run the power cord from the mount, along the back and side of the dashboard, out of the way. The adhesive on my clips unfortunately was not sticky. Luckily, I had some double-sided mounting tape laying around and used that. We’ll see how long those clips stay put.
Directions and the display
Chalk it up to early days using the device, but Navdy monopolized my attention on a recent nighttime drive to a nearby hardware store. Toggling through music, accepting a phone call and searching through the interface was probably too much to do while trying to keep my focus on the road and Navdy’s directions.
For instance, when the call came in from my friend Alex, I was so interested in accepting it and adjusting the speaker volume on my phone that I missed my exit off the highway. Immediately after hanging up, a text came in on Navdy’s display from Alex. “Don’t crash,” he wrote. Thanks, buddy.