Memorandum by Mobile Age Technology
Mobile Age Technology offers a mobile commerce managed
service providing banks and other financial organisations with
the fastest possible route to secure mobile banking delivery,
using WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and SMS (Short Messaging
Its managed service is based on the fully scaleable
and open architecture of BROKAT's Twister, the EAI (Enterprise
Application Integration) platform, which is at the heart of more
than 2,000 companies worldwide.
Mobile Age is committed to providing the finance
industry with an easy, "packaged" mobile service. It
develops, implements and manages the service on behalf of an organisation
so that it can get to market with a mobile/WAP offering in record
speed. This allows an organisation to be on top of the latest
technological developments without having to allocate resource
internally to the project.
The company was founded in March 2000 by Roy
Smith, formerly General Manager for BROKAT Northern Europe. Prior
to BROKAT, Smith was professional services manager for NetScape
Northern Europe. Mobile Age is based in London.
Q: What needs to be done to create confidence
and to stimulate e-commerce in Europe?
This question assumes that the issue is one of confidence
rather than of market forces. It is my belief that the general
population (assuming they have access to the Internet and the
ability to use it) are no longer held back by fears of security
or confidence in the commerce provider. As recently as two years
ago, two of the UK high street banks were actively discouraging
their customers from requesting Internet banking by suggesting
that it was insecure. Two years later, and using the same technology
that was available then, these same two banks are now spending
large marketing budgets encouraging their customers to bank online.
The one major technological problem that acts
as a barrier to widespread online shopping is the payment mechanism.
Cash is clearly out of the question so people are turning to the
next best thingtheir credit cards. This is not because
they need credit, but rather because they need an electronic payment
mechanism. Credit cards are currently the only game in town. Although
payment cards, in some cases based on smart card technology, are
in use in some European countries, there are no internationally
accepted alternatives to the credit card.
The general acceptance of the credit card as
the Internet payment mechanism of choice is further evidence of
the North American influence. Schemes such as Gismo and PayPal
are electronic payment mechanisms specifically designed for retail
consumers shopping via the Internet. A major boost to e-commerce
would be provided by governments either endorsing such schemes
or introducing state equivalent schemes.
Q: Will codes of conduct and co-regulation
provide sufficient protection?
"Regulators are the hedgehogs on the information
superhighway." (I wish I could remember who said this!)
In general regulation causes more problems than
it solves and has never yet successfully acted as a catalyst in
promoting change. The Internet itself is proof enough that an
unregulated system (or more accurately a self-regulated system)
commercialised by market forces is the only way forward.
Q: Should existing EU institutions' internal
structures be changed, or new ones created, to improve policy
development and co-ordination?
One of the big problems that I see is that e-commerce
is inconsistently defined, and implemented.
For example, Parliament needs to decide whether
the use of interactive digital television be considered within
an e-commerce framework, or excluded? Likewise m-commerce. There
are twice as many mobile phone users in Europe as there are Internet
13 April 2000