Australian Case Studies in Mobile Commerce

Article excerpt

Abstract

Sixteen wireless case studies highlight issues relating to mobile commerce in Australia. The issues include: the need for a clear business case; difficulty of achieving critical mass and acceptance of a new service; training and technical issues, as well as staff acceptance issues; that privacy and security issues arise through the potential to track the location of people and through the amounts of personal data collected; difficulties in integrating with existing back-end systems; projects being affected by changes to legislation, or requiring changes to the law; and that while there is potential for mobile phone operators to develop new billing methods that become new models for issuing credit, they are not covered by existing credit laws.

We have placed the case studies in a Fit-Viability framework and analyzed the issues according to key success criteria. While many organizations are keen to use the technology, they are struggling to find a compelling business case for adoption and that without a strong business case projects are unlikely to progress past the pilot stage.

Key words: Australia, Mobile Commerce, Wireless applications, Fit-Viability framework, critical success factors

1 Introduction

The use of wireless technology for a range of business activities, such as mobile commerce, is a small but rapidly growing part of the economy. While there have been some studies in the area, there appears to be little academic research describing the problems and challenges of organizations undertaking wireless-based projects. Most of the available literature is written for technology reviews or by commercial suppliers seeking to attract new customers. As such, it concentrates on the positive aspects of the technology, and largely ignores the problems and challenges.

This means that underlying issues are often not discussed. For example, experience with the growth in e-commerce during the late 1990s has shown that a fast moving area like mobile commerce will often outstrip the ability of the law to keep pace. This can result in both organizations and consumers being exposed to considerable legal and financial risk [35].

This study sought to understand the challenges and issues, particularly those of a legal and regulatory nature, faced by a range of organizations in different sectors when implementing wireless-based projects. We interviewed people undertaking wireless commerce from a range of different sectors. We used a case study approach to 'investigate a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context' [40]. This meant that we could explore both 'how' and 'why' wireless technologies are being adopted. The case studies gave us a greater understanding of what they have actually done, what difficulties they have encountered and what solutions, if any, they have put in place. This provides industry with information that will help them to plan for, or at least anticipate, these complexities at the outset of a mobile commerce project.

While we were primarily interested in legal issues, the case study approach allowed us to explore the complexity of the situation and uncover a range of business-related issues. These included:

* The need for a clear business case.

* Issues relating to payment models.

* The difficulty of achieving critical mass and acceptance of a new service.

* Training and technical issues, as well as staff acceptance issues.

* Privacy, security and confidentiality issues.

* Difficulties in integrating with existing back-end systems.

* Technical difficulties with the equipment.

* Projects being affected by changes to legislation, or requiring changes to the law.

1.1 Background

In 2002, Coutts et al showed people new mobile devices and explored how they might use them. They found that the mobile internet differed from the wired internet because users regarded their mobile phone as "an extension of themselves", enabling them to enhance their relationships in work, family and daily life. …