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Ubiquitous commerce

Week 25, 2009

Starting from the usage, the concept of “ubiquitous commerce”, created by the retail industry, is gaining ground. The idea behind the ubiquitous commerce concept is that consumers are well aware of the capabilities of new technologies. Their demand is to be able to shop whenever they want, from wherever they want, though whatever channel they want. The original definition of u-commerce was "the use of ubiquitous networks to support personalized and uninterrupted communications and transactions between a firm and its various stakeholders to provide a level of value over, above, and beyond traditional commerce" (Watson, et al., 2002). Ubiquitous commerce can be seen as the combination of ubiquitous computing, and mobile technologies, such as nomadic pervasive computing.

As an industry, we have a lot to bring to such a concept. At first, we brought mobile communication and banking cards. Then internet shopping developed, along with payment, and, of course, payment fraud in card-not-present mode. Our industry developed an answer to this issue with EMV-CAP readers that allow authentication and secure payment from home.

Now, the retail industry has the will to develop even more its distribution and payment channels. Ubiquitous commerce wants to be accessible from everywhere, but only accept secure transactions, never expose the security of the card holder (or handset holder) or the security of the payment system, and of course, preserve consumer’s privacy.

Our industry is in the right position to bring solutions. The role of the secure transaction industry is to develop secure means to shop and pay in a variety of environments. Of course, telecom, transport, ID projects may be considered as a apart of this scope, but the bulk of the solutions we can bring to the ubiquitous commerce concept revolves around NFC. With this technology, the secure transactions industry is able to bring payment anywhere, and by a variety of means. We can foresee a u-commerce world where shopping and payment will be feasible not only in brick-and-mortar shops, but also over all mobile communication technology means. Payment will be performed the same way and with the same security regardless of the shopping location, and of consumer preference for a given channel.

We have all the technologies in hands, now we have to but the bricks together and build the right technology assembly to provide secure payment and convenience for ubiquitous commerce.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights