MOBILE COMMERCE APPLICATIONS


MOBILE COMMERCE APPLICATIONS

The applications of electronic commerce are already widespread; mobile commerce applications not only cover these but also include new ones. For example, some tasks that are not feasible for electronic commerce, such as mobile inventory tracking and dispatching, are possible for mobile commerce. Table 1 lists some of the major mobile commerce applications (Gordon & Gebauer, 2001; Sadeh, 2002) along with details of each.

Table 1: Major mobile commerce applications

Mobile Category

Major Applications

Clients

Commerce

Mobile transactions and payments

Businesses

Education

Mobile classrooms and labs

Schools and training centers

Enterprise resource planning

Resource management

All

Entertainment

Games /images/music/video downloads and online gaming

Entertainment industry

Health care

Accessing and updating patient records

Hospitals and nursing homes

Inventory tracking and dispatching

Product tracking and dispatching

Delivery services and transportation

Traffic

Global positioning, directions, and traffic advisories

Transportation and auto industries

Travel and ticketing

Travel management

Travel industry and ticket sales

Commerce

Commerce is the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place. It is boosted by the convenience and ubiquity conveyed by mobile commerce technology. There are many examples showing how mobile commerce helps commerce. For example, consumers can now pay for the products in a vending machine or a parking fee by using their cellular phones; mobile users can check their bank accounts and perform account balance transfers without needing to go to a bank or access an ATM; etc.

Education

Many schools and colleges are facing problems due to a shortage of computer lab space, separation of classrooms and labs, and the difficulty of remodeling old classrooms for wired networks. To solve these problems, wireless LANs are often used to hook PCs or mobile handheld devices to the Internet and other systems. As a result, students are able to access many of the required resources without needing to visit the labs.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP is an industry term for the broad set of activities supported by the type of multi-module application software that assists a manufacturer or other organization in managing important aspects of its business, including product planning, purchasing parts , maintaining inventories, interacting with suppliers, providing customer service, and tracking orders. The ERP issues that are particularly relevant to mobile commerce include tracking the location of goods and services, locating specific items, and transmitting warnings about aging components .

Entertainment

Entertainment has always played a crucial role in Internet applications and is probably the most popular application for the younger generation. Mobile commerce makes it possible to download games/images/music/video files at anytime and anywhere , and it also makes online games and gambling much easier to access. It is projected that by 2005, 80% of all mobile users in the United States and Western Europe will play mobile games at least occasionally (Leavitt, 2003).

Health care

The cost of health care is high and mobile commerce can help to reduce it. By using the technology of mobile commerce, physicians and nurses can remotely access and update patient records immediately, a function that has often incurred a considerable delay in the past. This improves efficiency and productivity, reduces administrative overheads, and enhances overall service quality.

Inventory tracking and dispatching

Just-in-time delivery is critical for the success of today's businesses. Mobile commerce allows a business to keep track of its mobile inventory and make timedefinite deliveries, thus improving customer service, reducing inventory, and enhancing a company's competitive edge. Most major delivery services, such as UPS and FedEx, have already applied these technologies to their business operations worldwide.

Traffic

Traffic is the movement (as of vehicles or pedestrians) through an area or along a route. The passengers in vehicles or pedestrians are mobile objects, the ideal clients of mobile commerce. Also, traffic control is usually a major headache for many metropolitan areas. Using the technology of mobile commerce can easily improve traffic in many ways. For example, it is expected that a mobile handheld device will have the capabilities of a GPS (global positioning system), e.g., determining the driver's position, giving directions, and advising on the current status of traffic in the area; a traffic control center could monitor and control the traffic according to the signals sent from mobile devices in vehicles.

Travel and ticketing

Travel expenses can be costly for a business. Mobile commerce could help reduce operational costs by providing mobile travel management services to business travelers. It can deliver a compelling and memorable experience to customers at the point of need by using the mobile channels to locate a desired hotel nearby, purchase tickets, make transportation arrangements, and so on. It also extends the reach of relationship-oriented companies beyond their current channels and helps the mobile users to identify, attract , serve, and retain valuable customers.