In any given community with a wide variety of skill-sets, the connectivity of the network of services will determine the efficiency with which it can satisfy demands for those services. Other variables affect the supply and demand of services, including quality of service, standards of health and productivity, efficiency of transportation, policies regarding distribution, and variety of services offered. It is important to note, however, that each of these characteristics is dependent on the connectivity of the network.
In order to maximise the connectivity within a community a detailed, dynamic social network is required. Fortunately, we now exist in a world that has given birth to precisely the kind of tools needed to make a community service network (CSN) a viable alternative to the current, primitive service paradigm.
Social networking has fast become one of the largest and most pervasive industries of our generation, and holds the key to the fundamental connectivity needed for efficient community service networks. There are currently many social networking solutions that are applicable to this concept, from Facebook to Diaspora*. One of the biggest problems with getting social networks off the ground is that their usefulness is based on network effects, making the most popular networks (more or less) the most useful. It would be far easier to build a CSN as a plugin or application layer to one of the existing networks. This gives the CSN a jump start on ease of gaining membership that could not be achieved by building from scratch.
The CSN of a VIAAC would be a smart social network, working across multiple platforms to utilize the full range of skill-sets offered within the community, assessing the stated needs of its users and recommending efficient solutions according to basic templates designed by the entire body of service providers. But in order for a smart social network to be able to make qualitative and quantitative decisions about services, we must provide it with a means to evaluate services.
With Other VIAAC Activities Edit
The CSN could be a major point of data collection for the VIAAC flow network. Information about what services are available and what they use/consume are important data points. The CSN could be used in conjunction with a consumer cooperative to provide services at minimal or zero profit.
John is a 35 year-old mid-level office manager for an accounting firm. John lives in an inner-city apartment building along with 217 other residents. John's toilet has just broken down and being an office manager, John knows nothing about plumbing, and thus he needs a plumber.
He picks up the yellow pages, and looks under plumbers, finding a vast array. He tries three numbers before finding one in his area, has to wait till the next day to be seen to, and is finally overcharged for the work done, because it turns out to be a simple blockage, but the full call-out fee is still owed.
John searches Google plumbers in his area and finds a vast array. He contacts three before he finds one that is affordable. The job is finished on the same day, but the service is still overcharged because a complete call-out was needed for something minor.
In a VIAAC: Edit
John checks with the CSN, the problem is assessed based on simple questions formulated by the community's plumbers and he is notified that a plumber's apprentice can do the job, and as it happens, there is one living two floors above him. The job is done on the same day, costing the appropriate amount and utilizing the most efficient resource solution.
VIAAC services can fall into three major types.
- Local: Services available within the geographical area inhabited by the community. e.g. Plumber.
- Regional: Services tied to a particular geographical location, usually outside the community. e.g. Rooibos Tea Farmer (which only grows well in one area of the world)
- Global: Services that have no geographical limitations. e.g. Web designer.