A New Way of Doing Business

Mobile Commerce, or m-Commerce, is about the explosion of applications and services that are becoming accessible from Internet-enabled mobile devices. It involves new technologies, services and business models. It is quite different from traditional e-commerce. Mobile phones or PDAs impose very different constraints than desktop computers. But they also open the door to a slew of new applications and services. They follow you wherever you go, making it possible to access the Internet while walking down the street with friends and family or while driving, looking for a nearby restaurant or gas station.

As the Internet finds its way into our purses or shirt pockets, the devices we use to access it are becoming more personal too. Already today, mobile phones and PDAs know the phone numbers of our friends and colleagues. They are starting to track our location. Tomorrow, they will replace our wallets and credit cards. One day, they may very well turn into intelligent assistants capable of anticipating many of our wishes and needs, such as automatically arranging for taxis to come and pick us up after business meetings or providing us with summaries of relevant news and messages left by colleagues. But, for all these changes to happen, key issues of interoperability, usability, security, and privacy still need to be addressed.

What Will it Look Like?


Imagine walking down Yonge street. It is a hot summer day and you're browsing the streets for a nice place to eat. Suddenly you recieve a SMS. You open your phone and read "Donothan's Bistro - If you come in and show this SMS you will get 10% off selected dishes." You close you're phone and as you are about to enter the restaurant another SMS alerts you. " Extreme Deli - Our Grand Opening - Whatever you buy get something in the same or less value absolutely free!" You look towards you're girlfriend, and think hmmm why not? You choose "Extreme Deli"

Now that lunch is over it is time to pay. You reach for you wallet but realize you left it in the car. Presently you're at Bloor and Yonge and the car is at Richmond and Yongue - a long walk away. But lucky for you this restaurant has a Cell-Pay Terminal and it looks like that cell phone banking option you chose to activate last month will come in handy. The waiter walks over to the terminal and punches in some information. Instantly after you recieve an SMS stating the details of the transaction - " 1 Big Man Sandwich and 1 Petite Croissant Delight, bla bla bla. Do you accept?" You make the necesaary choices and you're finished.

The fact that such a reality can exist and with something as mobile as you're phone is a dawning reality. However, before we can actually reach this point there are certain factors that must occur before we get there.

What Will it Take?

In order to get mobile commerce to become the new way of doing monetary transactions there must be several factors set in place:
  • First, consumers will need easy-to-carry wireless devices (cell phones possibly) that they will always have with them, and terminals will have to be available at stores or in vending machines. Both of these devices must have the necessary infrastructure to enable transactions.
  • Second, there must be a high density of both consumer devices and terminals, and they must be pervasive. "It has to save time, it has to be convenient, and it has to work everywhere," McCamon said.
  • Third, Last, and most difficult, there must be a worldwide standards initiative. McCamon recalled that when he lived in Europe, not all of his credit cards from the United States worked there; conversely, his Bank Suisse credit card did not work in the United States. "That's an industry that's been around for nearly 40 years, and we still don't have universal standards," he said.

So Who Will Make This Happen?

In order to really make this work it has been hypothesized by E-Commerce Professorim Richardson, there needs to be the invention of a killer application as well as a series of new hardware devices, and software for applications. There are six leaders in today's world that could help facilitate this and thus bring M-Commerce Forward:
  1. The Banks - In Canada and many other countries around the world there is an oligopoly with banks which has great potential in collaboration on a national level.
  2. Telecommunication - These enormous companies such as Rogers, Bell, Verizon, and NTT have considerable power over introducing new applications, hardware, and software
  3. Credit Card Companies - VISA, Mastercard and AMEX have already acknowledged the potential of M-Commerce and formed a consortium for researching m-commerce payment systems so they will not be marginalized,
  4. Hardware Companies - Nokia, SONY, Mitsubishi, IBM, and Motorola try to create devices which allow functionality never seen, thereby creating new functions never considered in handheld devices (M - Commerce).
  5. The Software Companies - Microsoft, Oracle, Google. "Microsoft Dollars", not a stretch given the recent example of Canadian Tire money, or the 1700's example of the Hudson's Bay Company issuing its own currency among the fur traders and natives.
  6. national governments - governments will consider this for two lucrative reasons: (1) The opportunity for a new source of taxation revenue. (2) The competitive advantage for their nation's economy.

Present Situation

M-Commerce continues to grow in Asian countries yet is at a stand still in North America. Countries such as Japan and Philipines have pushed M-Commerce and developed such things as the RemitCard and Japan's NTT introduction of i-Mode.

Remit Card

The Remit Card incorporates a PIN number which allows people the opportunity to “text” their financial transactions through their cellular phones. RemitCard users can “text” key financial transactions to the company’s servers, which then process and immediately download them to the company’s partner institutions. In partnerships with Retail Outlets, Restaurants, NGO's, and other organization's people can simply text their financial transactions. Normal ordinary day to day operations like paying for gas, eating out, or clothing shopping have become much more simplified. The era of waiting is coming to an end. Remit is particularly helpful when having to pay for such things like Cable, Insurance, Heating, and other things on a monthly basis which are now much more simplified.


Presently Japan is the world's leader in M-Commerce. In the fiscal year of 2005 Mobile commerce over cell phones was valued at around 971 billion yen ($8.8 billion). One might be wondering how exactly this occurred. How come Japan has succeeded in M-Commerce? The answer is Japan's Innovative Telecommunications Giant NTT. The corporation introduced a platform that would sustain m-commerce and coined it I-Mode.

What Exactly is I-Mode

i-Mode is a mobile internet business system with 45 million users and more than 3000 participating companies performing a great variety of mobile business transactions, from email, booking rail and air-tickets to games; i-mode was introduced by NTT-DoCoMo, and includes both a proprietary "walled-garden"-type official menu, mainly used for selling content and games and providing information services, as well as a completely open free access to the internet. In Japan i-Mode relies of DoCoMo¹s 2G and 3G packet switched DoPa data networks, and i-Mode is also used on the networks of many other countries including Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Australia, and other countries. Business transactions over i-mode are many billion dollars per year, and i-Mode has become an important part of Japan¹s social and commercial infrastructure. i-Mode and competing systems have been completely integrated into the daily life of most Japanese people.

Advantage of M-Commerce

  • Increases reach: By using the wireless link, the service provider no longer need a fixed interface to link to the customers. The e-commerce can reach to customers over a longer range.
  • Convenience: The mobile receivers and easy to carry and joined with your mobile phones. You may not need to bring you wallet when you shop.
  • Customization: Service provider has access to data about the user’s preferences and status which facilitates better, personalized service.
  • Quick Access: connection is faster with mobile

In The End

M-Commerce will prevail and according to the previous statements it appears that it is inevitable. It will revolutionize the way we conduct ourselves not only through our monetary transactions but through our daily lives. Decisions which would generally require some time of through could now be advertised to us based on our preferences, tedious processes of taking out money are simply but the past, and most importantly the synthesis of the person to technology would ever be more complete.

External Links

SMS card makes m-commerce a reality in Philipines
M-Commerce News, Tools, and Applications


"I-Mode." EuroTechnology. 2004. 27 Feb. 2006 <>.

"Remit Card." Global Remit Card. 25 Feb. 2006 <>.

Richardson, William T. "M-Commerce Search for the Killer App." Witiger. 09 Nov. 2005. 25 Feb. 2006 <>.


"M-Commerce." <source>
"What Will it look like" <source>
"RemitCard." <source>
"i-Mode." <source>