February 11th, 2007
Apple has finally unveiled the iPhone
- potentially one of the most revolutionary consumer products in history. It will act as a catalyst for change, stimulating a host of mobile-enabled services that will change the way we work forever. mCommerce - mobile commerce has truly arrived!
Whether this becomes a threat or an opportunity to your business is largely down to how you react over the next 18 months. But let’s start by validating the facts. First, the numbers are huge. The Economist recently published a report into mobile phone usage in the UK, indicating that there are 102 phone contracts for every 100 people. It anticipates that Smartphones will outnumber computers by 2008 and that internet access via mobiles will exceed home broadband access by the end of this year.
Second, the major limitations of mobile commerce to date - small screens, bulky handsets, low speeds, unproven security and unreliable connections - should be obliterated by the iPhone. It is well designed, functional, intuitive and can capitalise on the hugely successful iPod. (www.apple.com/itunes) View an online demonstration of the iPhone.
It will provoke a flood of web-enabled devices into the market, providing businesses with access to a far wider audience than the PC-enabled internet. This is a compelling proposition for various sectors, significantly reducing distribution costs and bringing to bear the real opportunity of “on demand”.
Many companies are working on technologies to exploit this market, while several have already registered .mobi domain names in preparation. The first tier of products will be service driven, updating customers on schedules, flight departures and arrivals, and providing traffic and weather reports etc But once these services are established, it is anticipated that there will be huge demand for transactional-based services.
Location-based m-commerce services will follow. It is possible to determine the location of a switched-on mobile within about 500 meters. This will allow users to search for local hotels and restaurants, with live availability and pricing.
The delivery of commodity products through hand-held devices will create a new marketplace. Consumer expectations will rise, while there will be less reliance on human contact and an empowerment that will far outweigh that created by the internet.
The growth of the wireless revolution is inevitable. Companies must start to think how it will affect their businesses and how they will service this new channel. Mobile must become part of every company’s distribution strategy - and the time to act is now.
How will you adapt? Please do add your comments.
Entry Filed under: News