Smartphone security is major concern, say m-commerce experts

Held in Manchester late last week at the headquarters of web hosting company UKFast, a round table of experts discussed the state of the m-commerce market and the opportunities for businesses to exploit its growth.

Paul Harris, marketing director at UKFast, said that the trust that consumers have in m-commerce now is unfortunately misplaced. There is, he explained, still a fear of mobile web and the infrastructure plus security is very low on the agenda for most IT directors.

"Businesses need to invest for the future, understand that the mobile web is going to be a significant channel and invest in it. There is a danger that businesses will make the same mistakes as they did with the web before they realised how significant their internet presence was going to be. Just bolting on a makeshift mobile site is guaranteed to cause company problems in the future", he explained.

Matthew Ryan, chief technical director of Web Comms, an iPhone applications development company, said that, at the moment, consumers don't see the potential faults of mobile websites in terms of security.

"They don't think it matters because they have all of the guarantees they need with credit card companies etc", he noted.

Paul Reilly from MyDestinationInfo, meanwhile, suggested that consumers are concerned not with the platform or device, but with the brand.

"If you trust Marks & Spencer, you trust them regardless of the platform. The online gambling arena shows that perfectly", he said.

"The amount of money that changes hands is phenomenal, and those players are quite prepared to go onto their mobile device and play casino games with the same budgets as they would on the web", he added.

So what is the solution to these issues?

According to Web Comms' Ryan, when considering a mobile app, businesses need to consider what it will add to their business.

"Do they want to attract younger users who are more savvy on mobile devices? They also need to think about how they will market it. There are more than 300,000 apps now available on the iPhone or Android, so be aware of how difficult it is to market", he advised.

Businesses should also, says Ryan, consider how they will distribute an app.

"You need to have a plan to get the app distributed as widely as possible and not just assume that the brand will carry it alone", he said, adding that there are very few apps that do have a particularly wide adoption so the big issue is how to ensure you are one of them.

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