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Opportunities go mobile ! on Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:02 pm

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king Written by jamaica-gleaner.com

A lot of excitement is brewing in the telecommunications sector today fuelled by growing demand, wide reach and competition. The cellular phone has evolved from a status symbol to a 'must-have' for most of us.
Jamaica is going up a notch in mobile technologies that range from personal data assistants (PDAs)/cellphones to interactive touch screen experiences, and the soon-to-be launched 3G (third generation) technology.

Beyond talking

Kevin Moore, chief software architect at Symsure Jamaica, suggests that "we are going to see the cellphone transform from an extension to the landline phone to drive the world of commerce through the emergence of mobile commerce (m commerce)".

Moore, who was speaking at the Jamaica Computer Society's BIZTECH Forum held at the Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Montego Bay in October, said with more people opting for BlackBerry PDAs and interactive touch screen mobile devices, the range of possibilities in m commerce are bound to grow.

"These interactive devices assist not only in actual transactions, but may also play a part in advertising, pre-sale promotion and post-sale activities," Moore said.

The portability and versatility of the cellular phone is enabling mobile commerce to gain popularity among retailers worldwide. This, according to Moore, is because cellphones can function as tools to help consumers shop smarter and more efficiently.

"In Japan, many cellphones are equipped with bar-code scanners so customers can check prices or even quality or freshness of products," he explained.

Moore said that m commerce has evolved from buying and selling of goods and services through wireless hand-held devices, to buying and selling of services with the aid of interactive devices.

"These interactive devices assist not only in the actual transaction, but may play a part in the advertising, the pre-sale product and/or service details and even more increasingly the post-sale experiences," he elaborated.

Technology at fingertips

According to Moore, various technologies will drive m commerce. He said by using Bluetooth technology, advertisers will be able to team with carriers to deliver their message.

Moore further explained about 'payment gateways', that is, a company or organisation that provides an interface between the merchant's point-of-sale system and the payment system.

"The service may involve the purchaser's bank paying directly to the seller's bank, or through a credit card company, all facilitated by the payment gateway provider," he said.

"According to the Mobile Commerce Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, these devices could very well become intelligent assistants capable of anticipating many of our wishes and needs, such as automatically calling a taxi following a business meeting, or providing us with summaries of relevant news and messages left by colleagues. It is for the incumbents to explore the opportunities that the mobile technology offers and take advantage, he said."

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