Belfast Telegraph

Time to get your head in the clouds of rental game

By Jase Bell

There has been a definite shift over the last 12 months - the need to buy products is starting to decrease.

What is on the increase though is the renting or sharing of products.

It started off with the large-scale products that people couldn't afford.

The aviation industry has been doing it for years with the leasing of aircraft.

The best way to test a new route was to lease everything for 12 months: aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance, and if it was proving popular then take the plan forward.

In private aviation you could share the operation of a jet.

Netjets was the pioneer of the model of executive flying for the skint executive.

You paid your subscription for the year and owned a slice of the operation of the aircraft.

If you needed it you booked your flight trip with no hassles.

Today you can rent just about anything and everything and it's becoming a hot startup space as well.

Fashion devotees can now rent shoes (Cinderella Me), handbags ( or the whole lot in one go ( As a consumer you don't have the huge outlay for designer goods and you certainly won't be caught out wearing the same thing twice as you'll have handed it back to the rental company.

On the fashion side this is one hot space to be in if you can secure the stock.

For the technically inclined there has been the "cloud".

The word has now become an all-encompassing term for "sticking stuff on the internet", but there are advantages.

Amazon EC2 (which stands for Elastic Compute Cloud) lets you own server space without owning the hardware.

You pay monthly for time used by the server and the amount of data that it's shifting about (bandwidth).

From an accounting point of view it's a basic overhead and you don't have hardware depreciating over time.

The sharing space is an interesting startup concept and one that's going to continue over the next couple of years while everyone adjusts how they spend their money.

For the budding entrepreneur the time is now to get something started.