Mobile phones can now enable many functions in addition to making calls. In doing so, they are becoming vehicles for increased eco-efficiency: a small device can be used for several functions, including payment. For instance, travel tickets can be loaded from the Internet to a phone and then displayed to a reading device as a means of payment.
Pilot Tests are Underway
At the moment, Nokia is testing mobile phones as an instrument of payment in online transactions. The pilot, started in October 2002, is being carried out in co-operation with Visa and Nordea, a Nordic bank. The participants are able to order food and movie tickets from online services by mobile phone. Application manager Veli Heikkinen indicates that the pilot has proceeded excellently and people are really interested in mobile trade.
Veli is excited by the potential for environmental benefits. "Since paying by mobile phone is based on mobility, pointless travel can be avoided, energy saved, and emissions reduced. If, for instance, movie tickets are sold out, there is no sense to drive to movie theater to find out. Food could be delivered from the grocery store more efficiently, instead of each consumer making the trip him- or herself. At the same time, disposable tickets become unnecessary and paper is saved. Easier ticket purchasing could even inspire some people to use public transportation instead of their own car."
Single Chip Replaces Plastic Cards
There is one further benefit. Nowadays people many people have 10-15 plastic cards, the manufacturing, delivery, recycling, and disposal of which burdens the environment. "In mobile trade, one supplementary SIM card-size chip can replace all the other cards. New services can be loaded onto the chip without environmental impact. The removable chip can also be moved from phone to phone, for a relatively long life cycle," explains Veli.
Veli firmly believes that mobile trade is on the increase. "The most important matter is creating a pleasant user experience, which includes taking environmental concerns into consideration."