Platform enables organisations to share hardware

Signal of change / Platform enables organisations to share hardware

By virginiamarsh / 20 Jan 2015

First there was ‘open source software’ – where the source code is made available to others. Now comes the turn of ‘open source hardware’, an evolution of the sharing economy. Enter the online collaboration platform &Share, which aims to allow organisations to share underutilised resources: spaces, equipment, vehicles, skills, waste materials, even data.

Early sharing sites, from accommodation finders to car-sharing services, were directed primarily at person to person transactions, says &Share founder Alex Whitcroft, a UK-based architect.

“Organisations have not really been engaged and that’s partly because they haven’t had the tools”, he says. Now they have a convenor – and what’s more, it’s genuinely free of charge. Airbnb and others involve charges, meaning they are essentially ‘micro-entrepreneurship’ or ‘online rental’, says Whitcroft. He has signed up universities, maker spaces, theatres and social enterprises to a pilot, offering them opportunities to strengthen useful relationships and build wider collaborative networks.

Whitcroft has built analytics into &Share so that it can also become an organisation’s main charitable giving platform, recording donations and measuring impact to provide a form of third-party certification.

Photo credit: Creativity 103 / Flickr

So what?

The capacity for organisations to share resources not only offers efficiency and cost savings, but could strengthen B2B relationships and benefit brand profile. What’s not to like? 


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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