V. The Future: The Experts and You
"Ubiquitous and mobile"
Jerry Baumgartner claims that mobile phones and other devices will take over Internet usage, making PCs unnecessary for everyday tasks.
(Jim Norton, Deutsche Telecom)
More Intelligent Agents
Intelligent agent software already performs tasks such as notifying investors when their stock has reached a certain price or suggesting books based on purchases at Amazon.com. Many researchers believe they could become much smarter and will perform more complex tasks using more information. For instance, Knapik and Johnson propose a scenario in which advanced intelligence software would allow a vacation planning service to "not only formulate a vacation plan, but find the best one for its user's interest, available funds, time, and so on. This would involve dynamically modeling many possible vacations and ranking them based on current criteria. The agent may find that there is snow at a user's favorite ski resort, but that lift-ticket prices just went up. It may also detect additional funds in the user's vacation account, so a little fancier vacation might be possible."
Recent studies show that consumers are moving away from using search engines to find products, instead using a trusted group of online retailers for routine purchases. In a way, online consumer behavior is becoming more like real-world consumer behavior, with most people frequenting the same grocery store, mechanic and mall on a regular basis. This creates opportunities for marketing between businesses to create online shopping centers with their own intelligent agents and password-protected currency to make shopping more convenient and secure.
You can already use a credit card for almost all of your purchases. "Electronic wallets" would allow consumers to keep a password-protected account for a certain group of online vendors, making shopping more convenient and secure. "Smart cards" with embedded chips are also more secure and offer services such as purchase tracking. Some hypothesize that these chips could work as intelligent agents, helping consumers make buying decisions based on their previous purchases.
Novak and Hoffman suggest integrating business models will become more common. This phenomenon is present already in media companies that offer content in a variety of formats: online, mobile, television and print, for example. E-businesses may continue to combine in new ways, integrating online and brick-and-mortar operations more efficiently, and merging with other businesses that offer similar products or products that the same type of consumer might buy.
What do you think?
Will these scenarios happen? If not, what will?
How will business over the Net be done in the future?
What new services and technologies will emerge?
VI. E-Commerce Readings
Required and optional readings on e-commerce.
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