The mobile phone can truly be a device for conducting ecommerce according to a number of companies that have applications ready to be adopted by consumers.
At a meeting today of the Global Mobile Commerce Forum (GMCF), a whole range of applications currently available for mobile ecommerce were demonstrated.
These included travel planning and ticket purchase currently being implemented across Scandinavia, credit card transaction processing via a mobile phone for restaurants and retailers in the US and instant share dealing and market information in Singapore.
"Mobile commerce puts a retail outlet in the consumer's hand anytime any where," explained Kevin Duffy, group telecoms director of Logica and chairman of the GCMF.
While mobile commerce is attractive to consumers because of the speed and convenience it provides, like the Internet it also offers significant savings to businesses if they can serve customers this way, Duffy explained.
The GMCF was founded in November 1997 and consists of around 90 companies in 19 countries all working to bring real consumer transaction applications to the mobile phone.
Gemplus has teamed up with Danish operator Mobilix to provide an information on demand service called 'A La Carte Inside'. The service is sold as a pack and consumers get a predefined set of services such as news, sport, travel, recipes and cinema timetables, which the consumer can customise.
Various mobile banking applications are already available in Germany and the Czech Republic which use a Sim card in the phone send instructions securely over mobile networks using the short messaging service (SMS).
Money transfers, balance checks and information on share prices can all be done via the simple menu on the phone's display.
Other companies with mobile commerce applications include, among others, Ericsson, Smart and SAS who provide wireless travel planning, BT Cellnet, Barclaycard and Logica who enable consumers to download electronic cash over the GSM network to a Visa cash card that slots into the mobile phone.
In February the GMCF embarked on research to determine consumer demand for such wireless services and found that the public sees mobile commerce as a natural extension of the lifestyle they currently enjoy with mobile phones and the Web.
The research found that within two years consumers expect to be using their mobile phones to access their bank accounts, receive news and information services, book travel arrangements, purchase theatre tickets, just like many currently over the Internet or landlines.
Source: VNU Newswire
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