What is Mobile Commerce?
The phrase mobile commerce originally means “the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the consumer’s hand, anywhere, anytime, via wireless technology.” Many choose to think of Mobile Commerce as meaning “a retail outlet in your customer’s pocket.”
The mobile channel offers us multiple modes of interacting with the subscribers for service delivery, and each mode come with their own set of pros and cons. The problem that confronts most Mobile Commerce service providers is which of these access technologies is most suitable for their project.
Mobile Access Interfaces
Some of the access interfaces on a mobile network are:
1.IVR: Interactive Voice Response Systems are voice-based applications that rely on aural interactions. Though well suited for a largely illiterate user group they tend to be tedious to use and more so for a service with multiple options and sub-menus.
3.STK Menu: SIM Tool Kit menu is a SIM resident application that provides the user with a menu based service access. The STK uses the SMS channel for communications but provides encryption services that ensure security. The challenge with STK is the cost associated with SIM replacement or using an OTA server to upgrade user SIMs without replacement.
4.USSD: Unstructured Supplementary Service Data provides the user with a session based interface. The advantage in using USSD is that the service providers can provide an updated menu every time the user initiates a request and the communications are also secure as compared to an SMS transaction. But the challenge lies in the session based nature of the service which may lead to frequent unfinished transactions especially in places that have weak signal problems.
5.Java Application: Another mode of enabling services is to provide the subscribers with a Java applet that resides in the phone memory and uses SMS or GPRS at the back end to communicate with the service delivery platform. The app approach provides a highly intuitive interface for the user which can easily be upgraded and customized but the major challenge comes in the from the lack of Java compatible, data enabled handsets in a developing economy. This approach is more suitable for mature markets where smart phone penetrations are higher as compared to other regions.
6.GPRS/WAP/Web: This approach enables the user to access a web based service portal using the mobile phone. The challenge here lies in network capability and the extent of net usage in a particular market.
As can be seen that there is no perfect solution for the interface problem, we believe that a service provider should create a platform that is not constrained to a particular channel and to penetrate a particular market they should go with a combination of channels to increase reach and uptake. This decision should be more of a business one than a technical one.
Mobile Commerce Applications
Nowadays, Mobile Commerce is being developed in different mobile fields, some of the mobile commerce applications upon a mobile network are:
In Kenya money transfer is mainly done through the use of mobile phones. M-Pesa is a mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. Currently the most developed mobile payment system in the world, M-Pesa allows users with a national ID card or passport to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily with a mobile device. Thanks to Kenya’s world-leading mobile-money system, M-PESA. Launched in 2007 by Safaricom, the country’s largest mobile-network operator, it is now used by over 17m Kenyans, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the adult population; around 25% of the country’s gross national product flows through it. M-PESA lets people transfer cash using their phones, and is by far the most successful scheme of its type on earth.
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P.S. Movotek is acting as the POS Terminal manufacturers, POS Terminal suppliers to offer the customers with cost effective POS Terminal products as well as high quality back end system such as airtime top up, loyalty programs etc.
Mobile ticketing is the process whereby customers can order, pay for, obtain and validate tickets from any location and at any time using mobile phones or other mobile handsets. Mobile tickets reduce the production and distribution costs connected with traditional paper-based ticketing channels and increase customer convenience by providing new and simple ways to purchase tickets. Mobile ticketing is a prime example of horizontal telecommunication convergence.
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3. Mobile vouchers, coupons and loyalty cards
Mobile ticketing technology can also be used for the distribution of vouchers, coupons, and loyalty cards. These items are represented by a virtual token that is sent to the mobile phone. A customer presenting a mobile phone with one of these tokens at the point of sale receives the same benefits as if they had the traditional token. Stores may send coupons to customers using location-based services to determine when the customer is nearby.
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Prepaid Airitme topup, Mobile Utility Payment and Lottery are also the most popular applications for mobile commerce via the access interfaces such as SMS, STK, USSD, GPRS/WAP/WEB. The mobile Terminal is not limited to Mobile Phone, but all kinds of mobile devices such as POS Terminal, Tablet, Bluetooth Printer, PDA, Kiosk, ATM. Movotek is taking its advantage on POS Terminal experience, it is providing the full package solution for prepaid airtime top up, Mobile Utility Payment (Electricity /Water / Gas/ Internet payment) as well as the Lottery (Lotto / Betting).
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