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Mobile (Solar Eclipse) Commerce Predictions

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Friday, January 14, 2011

They say to fully appreciate a solar eclipse you need to be at that right position on earth, at the right point in time, whereby the moon and sun are in full alignment with each other. Astronomers typically know where this exact location is based on the trajectories of our planets using well formulated models developed on our solar system.

As the lists were being formulated for 2011 about the trends that will have an impact in the mobile markets it’s to no surprise that we find Mobile Commerce on this list.

Is 2011 our breakout year finally for Mobile Commerce? After all the trials and tribulations of experiments gone by? I don’t want to dwell on the past but look to the future but with a clear and realistic perspective of what needs to happen for the mobile commerce to flourish.

When location based services and picture messaging was receiving similar accolades the analysts were dreaming about everyone utilizing location based services because it was so necessary for you and I to find that nearest Starbucks coffee shop or to have that Starbucks coupon pushed to you as you walked past your favorite shop. Picture messaging and then Mobile Instant Messaging was also positioned to kill text messaging because we as subscribers had an issue with text not being quick enough and it was necessary to show everyone where you are through pictures and broadcast messages. Several years later, back on earth, the reality of these forecasts have yet to come true as a single value added service provided by an operator (should we talk about video calling). Picture messaging in its early years suffered from the lack of handsets that could send and receive the data, quality of the device, and the capability of the network. Location suffered from a real business case to really drive overall end-user service.

One could say that Facebook has realized many of the services that these silo services were developed for and introduced by the operator. Picture Messaging has turned into Facebook album uploads. Social messaging has further extended to Facebook status updates or Twitter feeds. Location has been incorporated by these social networks and mobile advertising is utilizing this context for in-network games and mobile applications. For Facebook to emerge as a leader in mobile the equivalent elements also had to line up including smart phones, network capability and capacity, and pervasiveness of the service.

Mobile Trax has highlighted Mobile Commerce as a trend for 2011 to watch with 2012 as the year when innovation will based on NFC will help to drive this market. I do believe Gerry is correct with his prediction with NFC saturation in 2012 forecasted to be stimulus to drive a newer business model in North America only. However, mobile commerce is already a strong value added service delivering real tangible and profitable results in the developing markets around the world. The best places to view mobile commerce in the making to date have been the Philippines and Kenya. Several new regions this year will make their own impressions with their deployments in their markets.

Like viewing a solar eclipse, depending on which market you’re standing in, you may be looking at a well-developed mobile commerce service.

Is NFC necessary for the alignment of all the elements in the ecosystem for Mobile Commerce in the developing markets to flourish? Only time will tell.