Adam Kerr, head of m-commerce at Ericsson, discusses one of the key topics at this year's Mobile World Congress.
What is your vision for how the m-commerce space will evolve over the next 12 months?
2012 will be a year of rapid transition and dynamic change across m-commerce.
The industry will enter a second phase this year as companies see this as becoming more core to their business. Rather than the fragmentation we have seen to date, companies will be looking to standarise across a single technology vendor. Importantly new entrants will be able to capitalise on the learning of the last few years to accelerate their time to market and unlock the potential of the m-wallet.
There are two big trends driving the growth of m-commerce: banking the unbanked and payments going beyond mobile. M-wallets will be most quickly adopted in the developing markets where many consumers are financially underserved today. 2012 will be the year of partnerships across the emerging m-commerce ecosystem and success will be driven by partnerships, accelerating not only time to market but also the rate of adoption by consumers.
Which area(s) of m-commerce do you see as having the most potential for operators and why?
Mobile operators are extremely well positioned to enable m-commerce solutions and offer a wide range of service through an m-wallet. These services will be fastest adopted by the financially underserved, especially in the developing markets, where the mobile phone is the only ubiquitous device. Financial services organisations in many of these countries are looking to mobile operators as the strongest route to consumers as there is often no branch network or traditional channel to directly reach them.
Specifically, what role do you see mobile operators playing in this ecosystem?
Operators have a chance to evolve their role, beyond providing voice and data services and they are key to the evolution of the ecosystem. Operators’ key role will be with the consumer, ensuring that the right services are available to the user at the right time in the right way – and additionally driving education.
What more do operators need to do to ensure m-commerce is a success moving forward?
No one brand can "do" m-commerce alone and operators need to work with the right partners across the ecosystem to ensure growth is based on a secure and stable technology and to remove many of the barriers so they can focus on their core strengths.
Where/how does Ericsson fit into the equation?
As a “neutral” global technology enabler, we are focused on providing secure and scalable solutions that help fast track time to market for operators and which through partnerships accelerate access and interconnection between the m-commerce ecosystem and the existing financial world.
What new technology developments can operators expect to see on the market that will enable them to profit from the m-commerce opportunity?
Our Ericsson M-commerce services portfolio is designed to provide the world’s leading consumer brands with the infrastructure and solutions needed to create and connect m-wallets across a global m-commerce ecosystem. Our portfolio of services, which includes Converged Wallet, Wallet Platform and m-commerce Interconnect, will speed time to revenue, increase adoption and stickiness, cost efficiency and performance for mobile network operators, financial institutions, internet gaming companies and retailers.
Different countries have different systems, cultures and are at different stages along the m-commerce roadmap; what are the most important factors that will ensure the success of m-commerce from a geographical point of view?
M-commerce is not about a one-size-fits-all approach. In developing markets there is limited access to financial services and in developed markets, there is a huge increase in digital content with consumers looking for choice and convenience and wanting to access consumer content over other devices. It’s clear that there must be the right solution for each specific geography for it to be a successful service – consumer offerings and regulations will differ in different markets. Three key factors are: understanding regulation; partnerships – no one brand can do m-commerce alone; and achieving interconnection between m-wallets globally.