Generally speaking, many of the E-Commerce applications can be done in m-commerce. For example, e-shopping, e-banking, and e-stock trading are gaining popularity in wireless Business-2-Consumer. Auctioning is just beginning to take place on cell phones, and wireless collaborative commerce in B2B is emerging. How-ever, there are several new applications that are possible only in the mobile environment. To understand why this is so, let’s examine the major attributes of mobile computing and m-commerce.
Specific Attributes Of Mobile Computing And M-Commerce
Mobile computing has two major characteristics that differentiate it from other forms of computing: mobility and broad reach..
Mobile computing and m-commerce are based on the fact that users carry a mobile device everywhere they go. Mobility implies portability. Therefore, users can initiate a real-time contact with other systems from wherever they happen to be if they can connect to a wireless network.
- Broad reach
In mobile computing, people can be reached at any time. Of course, users can block certain hours or certain messages, but when users carry an open mobile device, they can be reached instantly.
These two characteristics break the barriers of geography and time. They create the following ﬁve value-added attributes that drive the development of m-commerce: ubiquity, convenience, instant connectivity, personalization, and localization of products and services.
Ubiquity refers to the attribute of being available at any location at any given time. A mobile terminal in the form of a smartphone or a PDA offers ubiquity—that is, it can fulﬁll the need both for real-time information and for communication, independent of the user’s location
It is very convenient for users to operate in the wireless environment. All they need is an Internet enabled mobile device such as a smartphone. Using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service, a cell phone standard), it is easier and faster to access the Web without booting up a PC or placing a call via a modem. Also, more and more places are equipped with Wi-Fi, enabling users to get online from portable laptops anytime. You can even watch an entire movie on a PDA (see pocketpcﬁlms.com)
Mobile devices enable users to connect easily and quickly to the Internet, intranets, other mobile devices, and databases. Thus, wire-less devices could become the preferred way to access information.
Personalization refers to the preparation of customized information for individual consumers. For example, a user who is identiﬁed as someone who likes to travel might be sent travel-related information and advertising. Product personalization is still limited on mobile devices. However, the emerging need for conducting transactions electronically, combined with avail-ability of personalized information and transaction feasibility via mobile portals,will move personalization to new levels, leading ultimately to the mobile device becoming a major EC tool.
Localization of Products and Services
Knowing where the user is physicallylocated at any particular moment is key to offering relevant products and services. E-commerce applications based on localization of products and services areknown as location-based e-commerce or l-commerce. Precise location information isknown when a GPS is attached to a user’s wireless device. For example, you mightuse your mobile device to ﬁnd the nearest ATM or FedEx drop box. In addition,the GPS will tell others where you are. Localization can be general, such as toanyone in a certain location (e.g., all shoppers at a shopping mall). Or, even better, it can be targeted so that users get messages that depend both on where theyare and what their preferences are, thus combining localization and personaliza-tion. For instance, if it is known that you like Italian food and you are strollingin a mall that has an Italian restaurant, you might receive a SMS that tells you thatrestaurant’s “special of the day”and gives you a 10 percent discount.
Vendors and telecommunication carriers can differentiate themselves in the competitive marketplace by offering new, exciting, and useful services based on these attributes. Such services will help vendors attract and keep customers and increase their revenues