M-commerce, smartphones, and a train
April 6, 2015
by Mark Ollig

We’re constantly on the go, and increasingly relying on our mobile devices.

Time spent using the Internet for online commerce while out and about is occurring more frequently.

The devices we use for online shopping are changing; from laptops and personal computers, to smartphones and other mobile devices.

M-commerce (mobile commerce) can be defined as using a wireless mobile device, such as a cellphone, iPad or other tablet-like device, for the purchasing and/or selling of goods and services.

One statistic from comScore, an “Analytics for a Digital World” website, stated during the fourth quarter of 2014, consumers noticeably increased their reliance of using mobile phones for making online purchases.

Their data also showed 60 percent of the total online shopping during this quarter originated from mobile devices.

“The two factors that are concerning people most with a mobile device is the screen size and security,” said comScore co-founder Gian Fulgoni, while speaking on CNBC.

The smaller screen size on a smartphone can prove a bit strenuous on one’s eyes when online shopping; seeing all the information about a product can be challenging.

Larger display screen mobile tablets, and iPads, naturally provide for a better online shopping experience.

Security is, of course, a common concern for many of us when using a public Wi-Fi hotspot in a coffee shop or other public venue.

Even though I have a secure banking app on my mobile phone, I sometimes find myself hesitant to use it over a public Wi-Fi signal, thinking someone; some hacker, might be intercepting my data.

However, I am reassured when bank and consumer online retailer websites use a secure communication network, as the data is being encrypted over a HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure Socket Layer (https) connection.

Seeing the “https” in the web browser address bar is a visual indication, and an assurance to us, that our online data is being securely handled.

Of course, no website is 100 percent impenetrable, as we have learned and read about certain retail store databases being hacked into, and customer account information stolen.

Checking in with our friends at Pew Internet Research finds they are now reporting two-thirds of us own a smartphone, and that many of us are using them for accessing online information and services; in addition to placing traditional phone calls.

Pew also reports 57 percent of us are now using our smartphones for online banking.

A larger percentage, 62 percent, is using smartphones to look up information related to a health concern.

Pew states 68 percent now use our smartphone for obtaining and following “breaking news events.”

Approximately one-third of us also use our smartphone for finding turn-by-turn navigational driving directions, via satellite Global Positioning System (GPS).

Young adults, age 18-29, use their smartphone 80 percent of the time for navigation; while those age 50-64 use one for driving directions 52 percent of the time.

Pew says 53 percent of us use our smartphone for obtaining roadside assistance, or calling about an accident.

I regularly use my smartphone for sharing photos and video on my Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter social networks.

Case in point: driving home from work last week, I needed to stop for flashing railroad crossing lights, as a westbound train was about to cross the road I was traveling south on.

Being first in line at the crossing stop meant I would have an excellent view of the approaching locomotive; I decided this would make an interesting online video.

I reached for my smartphone, tapped the mobile camera/video app, and proceeded to record the locomotive, its sounds, and all of its attached boxcars, tank cars, and flatcars, as they traversed from left to right, directly in front of me.

Yours truly steadily held the smartphone for a total of five minutes and 23 seconds, while the train passed by.

I did notice some curious looks, and even a few smiles, from the people in the cars on the other side of the crossing.

So, what did I do with this train video?

Why, I uploaded it to my Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts, of course.

If you love trains, and have five minutes and 23seconds to spare, please feel free to check out my latest YouTube train video at: http://tinyurl.com/mytrainvid

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