The humble mobile phone from its early avatar of enabling voice calls has now metamorphosed into a device which can perform multiple functions. The mobile smart phone is the new Swiss knife. From making voice calls, to watching video clips, from mobile TV to Location Based Services (LBS) the uses of the mobile phone are many.The mobile phone is both ubiquitous and almost indispensable to daily life. A look at some of key technologies which will still further the utility of the mobile phones are discussed below.
Mobile Banking : Bringing the bank to the mobile: Mobile banking is a trend that is just picking up. Mobile banking provides for the banking needs for the poor who have no access to banks and has a lot of potential for growth. Mobile banking refers to a method where the rural poor can make payments and do cash transactions through simple SMS text messages. Mobile banking is crucial in emerging markets where traditional banks are not viable. A recent McKinsey Report 2010 states that the though the number of mobile phones in emerging markets is in excess of 1 billion, only about 45 million use mobile money in the place of traditional banking. The report further states that opportunity in mobile banking is about 3 billion annually.
Mobile banking requires the interworking of telecom operators, application providers and cash agents for making this service a reality. Mobile banking can promote customer growth and reduce churn for service providers. Some success stories are M-Pesa in Keya and SmartMoney in Philippines. There is a tremendous opportunity for this application in countries like India and China and other emerging markets. In this application, the mobile phone helps the user to bank while on the move.
Near Field Communication (NFC) : Mobile phones enabled with NFC technology can be used for a variety of purposes. One such purpose is integrating credit card functionality into mobile phones using NFC. Already the major players in mobile are integrating NFC into their newer versions of mobile phones including Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and Nokia. We will never again have to carry in our wallets with a stack of credit cards. Our mobile phone will double up as a Visa, MasterCard, etc. NFC also allows retail stores to send promotional coupons to subscribers who are in the vicinity of the shopping mall.
E-Ticketing: With an application, our flight iternary, tickets or movie tickets will be sent to the mobile phone. E-Ticketing can also be used for train and bus rides and does away with the need to carry small change.
Some of the key applications envisaged for the mobile phone in the future has been discussed and many are already in use. The smartphone will not only be indispensable in future but will be omnipotent and omniscient.
Published in Technorati – Mobile Smartphones – The New Swiss Knife