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Tunc Yorulmaz & Don Ragas
Tunc Yorulmaz & Don Ragas
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The M-commerce Roadmap

The last wave of mobile commerce technology created many players, but few winners. Accenture's Tunc Yorulmaz and Donald Ragas give some indications on how to avoid the mistakes made last time around by financial institutions and operators alike

Mobile commerce seemed like a sure thing a few years ago. The value proposition was solid, the stakes clear, the path to success a sure one. But neither the banks nor the operators were able to create many viable m-commerce offerings. Here are just a few things that happened:

  • Two major banks developed an m-commerce system to allow customers to download credits to their credit/debit cards. The project was cancelled after two years, due to low consumer interest.

  • A major telecoms company established alliances with a large group of banks for its mobile banking solution. Now mobile isn't even on their top-ten list of most valuable applications.

  • Another telco offered several transaction-based applications, but there was not enough take-up to justify the investment.

    But there are some significant technology developments on the horizon that promise to allow m-commerce finally to live up to its initial hype. There's 3G (the muchanticipated 'third generation' wireless infrastructure) as well as things like GPRS (general packet radio service, a standard for wireless communications more than 10 times faster than current systems, and especially suited for the small bursts of data sent in mobile commerce).

    With these new technologies as a base, a whole new wave of m-commerce projects are being planned by banks and telecommunications operators. But canthey avoid making the same mistakes they made last time? Can they master the complex mixture of technology, business and human elements necessary for success? Can they be both aggressive and patient, realising that the race is a marathon, not a sprint, requiring the wisdom to negotiate through a series of developmental stages?

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