The Interface Layer: Where Design Commoditizes Tech

Fast forward; It’s the year 2020 (or sooner!)…

I woke up this morning and grabbed the nearest screen. I selected my transportation for the day, refills of groceries I am running low on, what sandwich I want for lunch, a time window for my apartment to be cleaned, a dry-cleaning pick-up, and a reservation for dinner. I also selected a gift for my sister’s birthday, from a suggested list curated for me. After a productive 5 minutes, I got up and had breakfast.

You may assume I used Uber, and then Fresh Direct or Amazon Fresh, and then Seamless, and other speciality apps and services striving to iron out the logistics from my life. Maybe I did, but I’m not sure. Why? Because I took all these actions through a beautiful and customized interface that aggregates such services and blends them all together into a more integrated and frictionless experience.

Behind the scenes, there were APIs at play, along with a host of partnerships and affiliate programs brokered between the logistics and utility companies that provide such services and a new breed of companies that operate in the “Interface Layer.” The underlying logistics companies, once consumer-facing, now aggressively compete and optimize their offerings (and prices) for inclusion in the interfaces we use to manage our lives.

The customer experience of these service companies, once represented by dozens of apps — each with their own interface — has been replaced by the single layer we now use to access them.


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