Just An Online Minute... Essential Strategy

The prospects for m-commerce may appear limited for the foreseeable future, but a mobile wireless strategy is nevertheless emerging as an essential component for most e- business plans, according to a recent report by The Intermarket Group.

The Mobile Wireless Internet Briefing reports that the importance of developing such a strategy is driven in part by the increasing share of the Internet population that will be comprised of mobile wireless users.

According to the report, by 2005, more than one-third of Internet users will have access through wireless handset devices and more than one-half (59%) are expected to use non- PC devices, including handsets, PDAs, and various types of Internet-enabled appliances -- both wired and wireless.

Whether these people will actually connect to the web via these devices, of course, remains to be seen, but the report says mobile wireless web users are expected to expand 18-fold during the next four years, from less than 40 million worldwide at the beginning of the year to almost 730 million in 2005.

The necessity of a mobile wireless strategy is also driven by a competitive imperative of enabling customers to conduct their business anywhere, anytime, and through whatever means are most convenient for them. The biggest opportunities, however, are likely to be found in adding value to existing business processes rather than by selling products or services via PDAs and WAP handsets.

In practice, this can mean simply maintaining closer communication with customers through automated alerts and personalized news or providing access to customer information through a variety of platforms -- both voice- and data- centric – instead of just the desktop PC.

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