The Potential Benefits Brought By Global M-Commerce
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The Potential Benefits Brought By Global M-Commerce
Mobile commerce or m-commerce is “the use of handheld wireless devices such as mobile phones and palm pilots to communicate, interact and transact via high-speed connection to the Internet” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007). This may look rather simple and easily wrought, but just like e-commerce, m-commerce is the product of a number of casts playing significant roles in the production of m-commerce, and this can be one or more of the following: (1) the infrastructure equipment vendors; (2) the software vendors; (3) the content aggregators; (4) the mobile network operators (MNOs) and virtual mobile network operators (VMNOs); (5) the mobile portals; (6) the third-party billing providers; (7) the mobile device manufacturers; (8) the wireless application service providers (WASPs); and/or (9) the location information brokers (Sadeh, 2002, pp.33-34). M-commerce has provided large benefits to consumers worldwide with the use of wireless digital equipments that boomed this past decade. As it introduced ‘short message service’ or SMS, the third generation networks or 3G, and countless wireless services offered in the World Wide Web, there are potential benefits attached to m-commerce that have started to expand only recently.
Paul Scanlan, at the age of 29, was among the founders of MobiTV that put TV shows into their mobile phones (Business Week, 2006, slide 2). Sam Altman, on the other hand, was a co-founder of Loopt that offers the use of GPS devices that can detect the location of people. As for Noah Glass, he was the founder of Mobo that orders your favorite food and drink to your favorite restaurant. There is also Zaw Thet that founded 4Info, the Slingbox of Blake and Jason Krikorian, and Omar Hamoui’s AdMob. These mobile experts are just among those who have seen the great advantages of wireless mobiles in this great world of commerce.
Potential benefits of m-commerce
Global m-commerce brings countless potential benefits to customers worldwide. As featured by Douglas Lamont (2001) in his book entitled ‘The Age of M-Commerce: Conquering the Wireless World’, some of the biggest potential brought about by the booming of m-commerce includes the following: first is the offering of location awareness services; second is the offering of brand building; third is tangible product attributes like voice and data communications; fourth is for selling better, more reliable cellphones in places that have negative attributes; fifth is for marketing messaging services that are useful to frequent travelers; sixth is for sending quick answers to business customers at a time of need; finally, m-commerce is used in carrying out the 4 Ps strategy for “data-based customer relationship management” (Lamont, 2001, p.39). For all these offerings and services, m-commerce has been happily thriving in many parts of the world, most especially in Europe and Asia. With the use of a handheld wireless device, customers can have access to almost all types of information from horoscopes to the news events to fashion, maps, emails, television shows, and a bundle under the category of entertainment. Even adult entertainment has started to take the stage during the past few years.
Everything that can be accessed in the Internet and the World Wide Web can already be offered via mobile phones. The only difference, however, is on the side of the service providers. As stated by Kevin Laws in his article ‘Wither m-commerce?’, “Unlike the wired world, available radio spectrum means that there will always be a limited number of companies providing service, and they can compete on reliability and data speed” (2004). By this, the development of mobile services companies turned out to be slow moving in America, as compared to those of Europe and Asia. Yet in selling what they call a “complete experience to their customers” (Laws, 2004), m-commerce has started to boom even in U.S.A. where wire carriers were a great deal luckier.
The risks on the road of m-commerce
Despite the potential benefits brought by m-commerce, there are also certain issues that can pose risks to the successful development of using wireless digital in the field of commerce. First, there is the possibility that m-commerce will not thrive continuously, especially that it presents pictures, data, and information that can be dangerous to vulnerable customers—especially those that are in the youth stage. Wild, unpleasant scenes and games are being offered and presented, which means that certain government institutions will be against boundless release of scenes or data. Location detector services also pose risks, especially that it may be used in the field of crime, pornography, or other misdeed. Because consumers are more vulnerable, there is only a fraction of possible users in m-commerce.
Second risk in the road of m-commerce is the availability of the wire technology that presents pictures and data that are bigger, clearer, safer, and easier to grip or control. The use of Internet and the World Wide Web in personal computers has been the trend for many decades, and it has already been a part of the so-called ‘culture’, especially in America where bigger is better. Aside from that, there are talks that there are financial consequences attached to mobile phone services—what they call ‘hidden costs’ that are more frequent in ISP service plans (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007). For this, customers are bending away from using mobile phones in acquiring products and services. Relative inexperience of using mobile devices in online purchasing could also be another factor.
Third risk that can be found in the continuous development of m-commerce has something to do with the certain technological limitations that are attached to mobile phones. There are limitations with regards to the phone’s memory, which may prevent the customer from acquiring data that are big in memory. There are also some limitations when it comes to its screen size that may not satisfy the customer. Problems in memory and screen size limitations are more prone when disclosing information (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007).
M-commerce carries with it potential benefits and services that can greatly satisfy customers around the globe. The nine casts of m-commerce (please see page 2) make possible the short message services, the third generation networks, as well as the countless wireless services that are being offered in the World Wide Web. However, it is very obvious that m-commerce also faces certain risks in the world of today: the dissemination of vulnerable data… the negative issues (e.g., scams) surrounding the use of mobile phone services… as well as the vulnerability of its memory, screen size, and other technological factors. But these three are only a fraction of the risks associated to the development of m-commerce. It appears that smaller is ‘not’ always better, especially when it has something to do with the vulnerability of the users.
There are, however, certain areas that need to be covered in the future for m-commerce to have potential benefits that can outweigh the strength of e-commerce: first is the need for a continuous expansion of adequate protection for users of the World Wide Web in the Internet; second is the need for further technological improvement, especially in terms of the cellphone’s memory and screen size; third is the need to alter the culture that bigger is actually better; fourth is the need to improve the overall reputation of using mobile phones and its services when accessing the web; fifth is the need to educate younger and more inexperienced consumers about the processing of online purchasing; sixth and final is the need to improve the economy, since access to mobile services could also be hindered by the lack of finance or economic instability.
There are a number of other approaches that could be used in increasing the potential benefits of m-commerce. In the road of m-commerce, it is evident that there are specific steps that should be implied for m-commerce to thrive. Paul Scanlan, Sam Altman, and Noah Glass are just among those who have ascertained that bigger is not always better.
Lamont, D. (2001). The age of m-commerce: conquering the wireless world. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press.
Sadeh, N. (2002). M-commerce: technologies, services, and business models. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Company.
Article retrieved online:
Laws, K. (2004, March 30). Wither mCommerce? Retrieved October 9, 2007, from the VentureBlog.com database: http://ventureblog.com/articles/2004/03/whither_mcommer.php.
Slide presentation retrieved online:
The new m-commerce barons. (2006, November 23). Retrieved October 9, 2007, from the Business Week database: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/11/1123_mobile_barons/index_01.htm.
M-commerce. (2007). Retrieved October 9, 2007, from the Commonwealth of Australia database: http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/266899/fromItemId/8135.
[This is a valid source of information because it explains in detail the negative factors associated with the trend in m-commerce.]