Why are we still limited by our mobile phones?
Half a decade ago I was fascinated when I heard stories about people using their mobile phones in Japan to do more than just make calls, send text messages and browse the internet. They were paying their utility bills, booking cinema tickets, making restaurant reservations and the like, directly through their mobile phones. Back then people in the Middle East (and much of the rest of the world) were still trying to figure out this newfangled technology called 3G.
Of course, it’s easy for me to whine about how such technological advances weren’t in effect here since long ago, but it takes a lot of time and a huge amount of resources to get everything working in conjunction so that millions of users are billed and informed properly.
With the new FTTH (fiber to the home) initiative and substantial increase in broadband speeds, the basic infrastructure has been laid down for massive amounts of data to travel amongst large companies and their huge customer base. Technology is no longer a limiting factor for us, as general consumers, to be able to communicate directly with the many organizations we deal with on a daily basis through our mobile phones, without having to actually call them.
Imagine making a reservation at the Chili’s nearest to your house directly through your iPhone/ BlackBerry/ Android smartphone. Obviously the advent of different app stores creates the issue of developing the same app for all the different app stores for the leading mobile manufacturers. It’s not easy to do this, but imagine the resources and time saved for both the companies and customers if payments and bookings (or whatever other services) could be done through a mobile phone. No waiting in lines, no calling the customer service department, no need to set aside half an hour to an hour to deal with simple tasks. Just load the app, enter your details, choose the options and that’s it. Life gets much easier for everybody.
I know that there are certain apps that already let you do this (e.g. Grand Cinemas) but I’m talking about a full-fledged service that basically allows me to get the job done without making any compromises. So instead of Dubai Metro2 (official metro app by RTA) showing my timings and station locations, I would much appreciate having the ability to add credit to my NOL card as well. Small things, but they make a huge difference in our lives.