Mobile commerce – creating a more convenient economic ecosystem within the palm of your hand
Commerce is changing; it is becoming more mobile as smartphones and tablets become more prolific. Consumers are finding that their mobile devices are more convenient to use than traditional methods of commerce due to the vast assortment of applications that are available to them. The convenience and availability of these devices has caused a spike in mobile commerce activity and interest, with consumers showing that they are now more willing than ever before to move away from physical forms of currency. As more people become interested in this concept, they are beginning to wonder exactly what mobile commerce is and how it relates to them.
Mobile commerce defined
Mobile commerce, or sometimes referred to as m-commerce, is relatively straightforward. It is, quite literally, making payments, managing bank accounts, and shopping online using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices equipped with NFC technology are making use of a dedicated mobile commerce application that can facilitate mobile payments and the transfer of funds from consumer to consumer. While the premise of m-commerce is relatively simple, its application is significantly more challenging. Businesses and financial service institutions have been showing strong interest in mobile transactions over the years, but they must contend with barriers that keep many of their efforts in check.
Because m-commerce deals in the use of financial information, it is a breeding ground for malicious activity. Hackers and other parties regularly target the sector, and the security of mobile devices and the applications that they use is frequently called into question. Apart from security issues, the industry is also plagued with the lack of a sufficient infrastructure. Until very recently, mobile payments relied heavily on the proliferation of NFC technology. NFC-enabled devices are capable of facilitating mobile payments, but these devices are in low supply, unable to meet the high demand coming from consumers. Over the past two years, mobile commerce has evolved to become more application-based, making payments universally available.
Making progress in a new field
Ericsson is one of the organizations that has shown a strong interest in mobile commerce and has been tackling many of the issues that can be found therein. In 2012, Ericsson and Western Union formed a partnership that expanded the availability of the Ericsson Wallet Platform. This partnership is helping expand the Ericsson M-Commerce Interconnect platform, which acts as a hub for money transfer between consumers, payment transactions, and a range of other services. Telecommunications companies and mobile network operators can make use of this platform to make mobile commerce more available to their customers.
On the surface, mobile commerce is easily definable. The growing interest behind the concept, however, makes any definition somewhat inadequate. This is because more people, businesses, and organizations are becoming involved in the emerging world of mobile commerce. The more that flock to this concept, the more it changes, becoming more efficient, secure, and convenient. Ericsson anticipates that the mobile commerce industry will process more than $800 billion globally by 2016. With such high volumes of money being handled on a yearly basis, thus this industry is expected to evolve considerably over the coming years, taking new forms that may defy the definitions that have become common for the concept.