What will happen when the payment problem is solved in places where mobile devices are the only option? Tablets in particular have significantly changed the way people shop. While in 2011, people spent more money making purchases from smartphones than from tablets, shopping on tablets surpassed phones last year: $13.9 billion was spent from tablets and $9.9 billion from phones.
Our research has pointed to the importance of trading platforms: The study of Cellbazaar in Bangladesh as well as the work on agriculture in the last research cycle. It appears from this NYT report that the demand for trading (and payment) platforms is most vibrant in the mobile space. John J. Donahoe, eBay’s chief executive, attributed the company’s performance in part to an early bet that mobile phones would become a platform for commerce, with PayPal providing a lead in mobile payments. “We’re the largest mobile commerce and payments provider in the world,” Mr.
In the 13 years I lived in the US, I saw the postal service change. It was a horrible, rude bureaucracy when I moved there; and I saw the reengineering at work in the last few years. Counter staff were actually trained to smile and be nice to customers (and those who could not be converted, were sent to back offices where they could “go postal”). You stood in a line, staff would come up to the line with handheld devices to serve customers with minor needs such as a sheet of stamps, shortening the line for people with complex problems that had to be dealt with at the counter. They started selling wrapping paper and tape and creating spaces for people to wrap gifts according to USPS rules.
A pioneering e-commerce provider in Sri Lanka has tied up with QTel/Wataniya to offer its services in the Maldives, and in the process also facilitate trade in medical services. E-Channelling has entered into an agreement with Wataniya Telecom Maldives, owned by Qatar Telecom (QTel) as part of its global expansion programme, it said. The deal is to provide software services to automate medical ‘channelling’ services in the Maldives and is E-Channelling’s first international project. “QTel has given an undertaking that after completion of the project in the Maldives they would look into replicating the software solutions in all other 17 countries jointly with ECL,” the statement said. The four-phase project will first make available ‘e-channeling’ services to Maldivians to consult Sri Lankan doctors and get health check-ups and other medical services in 25 partner hospitals in Sri Lanka.
In December 2009, Sri Lanka Railways will launch a service that will allow the making of railway reservations using mobiles. We congratulate the past and present management of the Railways for taking this innovative step in an otherwise hidebound organization. We are sure they had to overcome some very serious administrative barriers in what is still a government department.