Easy Peasy Japanesey
Ah Japan; land of Samurai, Sake, raw fish, bizarre game shows, and of course high-technology. Now those of you in the know about these things will undoubtedly be aware of Japans stance as the world leaders in m-Commerce.
But for the benefit of those who are not so savvy: m-Commerce is essentially e-Commerce via mobile phones. M-Commerce has yet to take off in a big way in Europe and the US, which is partly the blame of us (most of us have no real need to shop on EBay whilst on the bus). And partly the blame of mobile phone operators who wall in our access to the Internet, effectively crippling the usefulness of the supposed ‘high’ bandwidth of 3G mobile phones.
So to give you an idea of just how far things have been going in the far East let me put it like this:
While we were taking photos on our phones for the first time, the Japanese were surfing the net & sending emails while on their way to work.
While we bought crappy ringtones at £3-00 a go, they were using bluetooth at vending machines to pay for soft drinks.
An now, as we download low resolution video clips at extortionate prices, the Japanese are in the process of doing away with their wallets!
EDY is the main company creating the market for mobile cash. The company promotes the system as a replacement for all situations where using cash is inconvenient, and by providing shoppers with reward points. The system works by letting you credit your phone with up to £250, with is either done at payment stations or online (via your mobile obviously). Then you simply use your mobile like a credit card for everyday purchases such as groceries, booze and cinema tickets.
At present EDY is a relatively new phenomenon with around 25,000 retailers that accept payment. These mobile wallets are expected to take off in a big way in January, when another firm called Suica join the party. Suica already have millions of customers using their smart cards, so their migration to the new technology will mean a much greater awareness of the mobile wallet.
For more information on this mobile madness, check out these links: