Introduction: M-Commerce, or mobile commerce, is a part of E-Commerce. M-Commerce basically means that use of wireless handheld devices for having the trade or we can simply say that M-Commerce is the wireless web technology i.e. the technology enabling users to access digital information from the internet using wireless mobile computing devices or simply wireless handheld devices. With the help of these wireless devices, we can buy and sell different products and services throughout the world whenever and wherever we want. These devices have abridged the distance between the consumers and suppliers. We can assume that M-Commerce is the child of E-Commerce with more technology.
M-Commerce is also known as next generation’s E-Commerce. Now, this statement clearly explains us the importance of M-Commerce and we get assured that M-Commerce is the blessing for everyone in this modern era where each and everyone needs fast and reliable access to internet round the clock (24 by 7).
Following are the some main kinds of Wireless Handheld Devices that are helpful for M-Commerce:
1. Palmtops/Notebooks: The most common example is Sun Ray.
2. Smart Phones (WAP): The most common example is Nokia 8390.
3. GPRS enabled Cell Phones: The most common example is Nokia 6233.
4. Video Game Consoles: The most common example is MS Xbox.
5. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs): The most common example is Palm i705.
6. Wireless E-Mail Handheld Devices: The most common example is BlackBerry.
7. TV Internet Receivers: The most common example is MSNTV.
*(Beside these, there are number of other wireless handheld devices too, but these are the ones that are commonly used.)
Basically, M-Commerce is the part of E-Commerce but E-Commerce is limited only in those areas where we have internet connectivity. But M-Commerce, as we can see from its name, can be used anywhere. These wireless handheld devices can be connected to the internet through satellite and other means anywhere and at anytime. As it is stated that M-Commerce is mostly connected through the satellite, we can, therefore, also have video and audio conferencing by the help of the devices used for the M-Commerce. In E-Commerce, we too can have video and audio conferences but unlike that of M-Commerce, we do need to have the internet connectivity, which is not possible everywhere. This means that if we are at a place where we do not have access to the internet, so we can not do anything. M-Commerce has become blessing for the people in many ways. As content delivery over wireless devices becomes faster, reliable, more secure, and scalable, there is wide speculation that M-Commerce will surpass wire line E-Commerce as the method of choice for digital commerce transactions. Both Business to Business (B 2 B) and Business to Consumer (B 2 C) E-Commerce transactions can take place using M-Commerce technology.
Some major challenges of M-Commerce: Beside the fact that M-Commerce is a blessing for everyone in this generation, like all others things, there are some limitations and challenges to it as well. Although, these challenges and limitations can easily be changed into blessings, but still these are limitations for many of its users. These challenges are mentioned below:
1. The keyboards and screens are tiny and awkward for a new user to use. In fact, only a part of the screen is visible at a time on these devices.
2. Sometimes, the data transferring speeds on existing wireless networks is slow.
3. Each second waiting for data to download costs the customer money. Therefore, it is too much expensive to use.
4. Most wireless handheld devices have limited memory and power supply i.e. the memory is only extendable to a small extent while these devices are mostly used on battery which may need to be charged quite often.
These limitations and challenges may become a disgrace to the user but still these can not be avoided in any case and the user has to bare these any how.
Some Major Differences between E-Commerce & M-Commerce:
1. M-Commerce keeps us in touch with the world wirelessly by the help of satellites no matter where ever we are but E-Commerce usually does not do that. It normally needs to be connected to internet by the help of wires.
2. M-Commerce is always reliable and easy to access as compared to E-Commerce.
3. Wireless Handheld devices are easy to carry anywhere because of very low weight.
Conclusion: We can finally conclude that M-Commerce is basically a blessing for everyone. No matter, it too has some limitations and challenges, one can not deny from the importance of M-Commerce that has abridged the gaps between everyone especially for the trade and business.
I am the student of Institute of Business Administration(IBA), Karachi, Pakistan