Well, not many of us have seen one yet (The closest I have come to one is the Tesla with its many autonomous driving features). But it could very well be a \u201cplatform disrupter,\u201d which throws us off track if we don\u2019t prepare for it.\nIn my comments published in the Harvard Business Review I had opined that failure to recognize platform disrupters (and the self-driving car is one) can be very detrimental to corporate health and existence. (\u201c......by focusing on the downstream disrupters and failing to recognize these Platform Disrupters, companies are missing the woods for the trees.\u201d)\nAre you kidding?\nThat\u2019s what some of you may ask. \u00a0\nHow can an autonomous car or driverless car or self-driving car or whatchamacallit impact my company and above all disrupt IT?\nCombine facets of the \u201csharing economy\u201d with it (think Uber, Lyft) and you have a veritable TaaS (Transportation as a Service). And that can be a game changer.\nFor starters, the study: Rethinking Transportation 2020\u20132030\u00a0(from RethinkX, an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed\u00a0and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society) highlights the impact Transportation as a Service (TaaS)\u00a0is likely to have on entertainment, work and other opportunities:\u00a0\nAmericans spend around 140 billion hours in cars every year, a number that will increase by 2030. The TaaS disruption will free up time otherwise spent driving to engage in other activities: working, studying, leisure options and sleeping.\u00a0\nThis will act as an increase in productivity and provide a boost to GDP (see Part 3.5). From the TaaS provider perspective, additional services could be offered, such as entertainment (movies, virtual reality), work services (offices on wheels) and food and beverage (Starbucks Coffee on wheels).\u00a0\nProviders could act as distributors, earning revenues via a range of business models, including a percentage of sales generated on their platform (as in the Amazon and Apple stores), advertising revenues from onboard entertainment (similar to the Facebook and Google AdWords models), or the as-yet undeveloped business innovations that are likely to arise from the TaaS disruption.\u00a0\nThe\u00a0Mercedes Benz Concept Car for 2030\u00a0envisages:\n\nCar being so comfortable that people spend more time in it rather than less\nThink of it as workplace of the future: work in there, pay bills etc.\nTouch screens all around (\u201cimmersive\u201d);\u00a0\n\nThis space is evolving very fast.\u00a0Ford has appointed a new CEO\u00a0who had just recently been brought in to head up its \u201csmart mobility\u201d operations. An indication that the big players are acknowledging the direction the industry is heading. Cars are no longer transportation but part of a larger \u201csmart mobility\u201d initiative.\nIt is this \u201coffices on wheels\u201d\/\u201csmart mobility\u201d premise which should get companies thinking.\u00a0\nOur cars of the future may be evolving as an extension of the workplace\/office.\nDo all the auto manufacturers see that yet \u2014 perhaps not, they suspect it, but do not seem to be sure how to factor it into their designs. That\u2019s where other players could step up, take the lead and create\/define a market.\nAll TaaS cars may not be offices but in big cities customers in the future perhaps could request a ride in a vehicle equipped with office capabilities. The jury may still be out on Uber\u2019s Pittsburgh driverless car experiment, but it does show the shape of things to come.\nWhat does this mean for the CIO?\nAs employees start treating the car as extension of their offices IT infrastructure teams would need to figure out best ways of implementing \u201ctelepresence\u201d in cars assuring seamless connectivity. The autonomous car could also very well be the epitome of IoT\/Edge Computing.\nThere would be major implications for information security as well. The driverless car with its ubiquitous connectivity with the external environment and other vehicles on the road multiplies manifold the threat vectors compared to the current physically static office environment.\nThe question you may need to answer in the near future: is your business ready for Transportation as a Service? And what can IT do to facilitate that?\nA few thoughts:\n\nFor the business leaders, especially if you are in a business sector even remotely involved with the \u201coffice\u201d:\n\nPreliminary assessment of demand potential for office capabilities in driverless vehicles.\nEngage with vehicle manufacturers \u2013 Ford, Toyota, Tesla, Navistar, etc.; Driverless capability service providers \u2013 Uber, Lyft, Google etc.; Automobile accessory companies\u00a0\u2013 Harmon-Kardon, Pioneer etc.\n\nTo understand their vision of the \u201coffice package\u201d for the driverless vehicle of the future.\nTo \u201csell\u201d them the need to include office capability as part of their \u201coffice package\u201d offerings\n\n\n\n\n\n\nFor the CIO\n\nEngage with business stakeholders to ascertain where the \u201cdriverless car\u201d or TaaS fits in their business plans\/vision for the future and associated timelines thereof.\nAscertain the requirements and gaps from an infrastructure and security perspective for extending the office to the car.\n\n\n\nGet ready for the ride. It will be arriving at your doorsteps soon.