Five primary needs can be identified that yield demand for m-commerce services. These five needs stem from the mobility associated with the enabling devices, so the context for each of them revolves around the theme of "anytime, anywhere" accessibility. These needs and the subsequent discussion may also apply to business customers to some degree, but specifics associated with the business segment are not explored in this chapter, as the focus is on the end consumer. These needs are as follows:
Connectivity needs: Connectivity provides the basic platform on which wireless communications take place. In an ubiquitous wireless environment that overcomes geographic (i.e., location of the consumer) and compatibility (i.e., interoperability of networks) constraints, consumers become capable of true "anytime, anywhere" communications.
Communication needs: M-consumers communicate with others for business or personal purposes (i.e., with other consumers or personal networks), and their communications may be carried out within information, entertainment, and commerce contexts.
Information needs: M-consumers need access to information that may be static (e.g., Yellow Pages-type directory) or dynamic (e.g., cross-referencing of wireless Web sites for prices or specifications of a particular product). In addition, consumers may be interested in location-specific information (e.g., finding a restaurant based on the user's search criteria and current location).
Entertainment needs: Wireless devices can provide users with practical entertainment solutions, such as access to games or leisure information.
Commerce needs: Two main elements are required to enable m-consumers to conduct m-commerce transactions: presentation of product/service information and a wireless payment mechanism. The value in consumers making payments wirelessly arises from the convenience it offers. For example, mobile users might not require coins/bills to make certain physical purchases (e.g., from vending machines), digital purchases (e.g., purchases on a wireless Web site), or even bill payments (e.g., Mobile Bill Presentment and Payment).