Busting the myths on mobile commerce

I recently attended a Technology Strategy Board meeting in Salford Keys to discuss the latest funding opportunities  for innovation in mobile commerce.

First impressions - a great bunch of people all passionate about online business, innovation and the opportunities m-commerce can bring. What struck me was the get-up-an-go attitude not only from UK-based innovators but from entrepreneurs from fast developing economies in the electronic space, such as Brazil.

The challenge for government - and for us all - is to ensure that the UK fully benefits from early adoption and becomes a market hub for mobile software services as well as a secure and trusted data centre for the associated electronic transactions.

Mobile Technology Services, what is android

Many of the legal and regulatory issues concerned with mobile commerce are not new: a legally-binding electronic agreement between parties is required; users authenticated, contractual integrity proved; confidential information preserved, etc.

What's different is that mobile technology has the ability to touch every single one of us in a way that e-commerce could never do. We all now have mobile phones attached like an electronic umbilical cord wherever we are in the world, so the opportunities for companies to market products and services directly into our personal space are unprecedented - and of course bring many challenges for privacy campaigners.

Power to the user: power to the business

The key to success is to place us, the user at the very heart of mobile commerce so that products and services are crafted and carefully tailored towards our own individual needs. Businesses are making more use of social media and social networks to determine our behavioural trends. Here, we are also in control of our own information which guarantees its accuracy for marketing products and services - you can now forget the traditional labour-intensive  company database containing your customers lists which become outdated almost as soon as they are created.

Security and fraud prevention

High levels of security and the prevention of fraud are clear drivers for innovation in this space. Protecting users from financial rip-off has to be a high priority. Like any crime we will never stop financial fraud, but using preventative measures to reduce the opportunity can only be a good thing. The Technology Strategy Board is looking for technology solutions to this problem in its current round of funding.

Social diversity

Mobile commerce will require solutions that address diversity in our society. For example, according to the UK's Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, around 10 percent of the UK's population cannot read or write. But this group is certainly not inactive economically and should therefore be able to benefit from mobile commerce like the rest of us.

Keeping mobile technology simple, smart and easy to use will bring huge competitive advantage for companies that truly understand the user. The UK must also provide an enabling legal and regulatory environment to ensure consumers trust the mobile commerce markets and have access to redress mechanisms when required.