What is mobile commerce…
Mobile commerce is a relatively new phenomenon that arose in the advent of mobile technology. As more people get their hands on smart phones and similar mobile devices, they are using this technology to make their lives more convenient. In the early days of smart phones, this most often took the form of sharing a constant connection with friends and family. As technology has advanced, it has become more capable of meeting the needs of consumers. As such, mobile commerce is becoming increasingly popular.
Mobile commerce refers to the purchase of goods using a smart phone. According to comScore, a leading Internet analytics company, some 38% of smart phone owners throughout the world in November of 2011 made a purchase of some kind with their smart phones. The popularity of this concept has grown since then, garnering acclaim amongst consumers who believe mobile commerce to be more convenient than traditional forms of commerce.
Many telecommunications, technology, and financial institutions are investing heavily in mobile commerce. Famed technology company Google, for instance, has developed a mobile commerce platform called Google Wallet. A joint venture from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile, called Isis aims to provide a similar service. Through these platforms, consumers can make purchases for goods and services using nothing more than their smart phone or tablet device. The companies invested in mobile commerce can charge for each transaction made through such platforms, meaning that there could be a significant amount of profit to be had if consumers continue to show favor.
Despite the economic potential of mobile commerce, there are significant problems that are stymieing its growth. Mobile commerce is heavily reliant on NFC technology, a short-range radio frequency technology that can transmit digital information from one device to another without a connection. NFC technology has proven itself to be vulnerable to attacks by hackers, thus making the financial information of consumers vulnerable to theft. Moreover, there are a limited number of mobile devices that are equipped with NFC technology on the market. Devices that do not have NFC capabilities simply cannot engage in mobile commerce.
Though mobile commerce has won the support of many of the world’s largest companies, others are not entirely convinced by the capabilities of NFC technology. Both PayPal and Apple have expressed interest in mobile commerce, but none in NFC. Both are currently developing alternatives for NFC technology that may allow them to establish a strong presence within the growing mobile commerce industry